During the summer, senior English major Kelly Purtell began ordering her textbooks, including Geoffrey Chaucer’s “House of Fame” from Amazon.com.
“Three books were packaged together and marked to arrive on August 17,” she said. “However, come August 17, they had yet to arrive.”
Purtell then called Amazon’s customer service line, where a representative gave her a refund for the books because they were allegedly unable to provide replacements. However, soon after the call, the representative ordered a replacement of “House of Fame,” which arrived two days later.
“Two days after that,” Purtell said, “my original order showed up, with all three books inside. So now I had two copies of ‘House of Fame.’ ”
Soon, however, Purtell discovered that neither copy contained any text.
“The first three chapters are printed,” she said, “but nothing is printed thereafter.”
The following 300 pages of both books were blank, save for two small captions, “CHAPTER010” and “CHAPTER150” written at the center.
Purtell found this disappointing considering she’d spent $21.90 on the first copy, but received the second for free as a replacement. She bought the books from the vendor Amazon LLC, through a publishing house called The Perfect Library.
“I’m currently crying and laughing simultaneously at the irony,” she said.
The listing for this edition of “House of Fame” allows the viewer to flip through the first five pages — the only pages of both of Purtell’s copies that have any content.
The Perfect Library offers hundreds of classic literature editions available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The reviews for these books vary, as most of the books reviewed have both five-star and one-star ratings.
One Amazon user claims that the Kindle version they bought never appeared on any of his electronic devices, rating their edition of “The Tragedies of Eurypides – Volume I” one star.
His review is titled “Who knows?” and reads as follows:
“I can’t rate this book, because I have been unable to download it. It is listed on my Kindle account page, but none of my e-book readers (apps or kindle) can find it. I really got what I paid for ($0.00).”
There are several other one-star ratings under James Freeman Clarke’s “Orthodoxy.” Their reviews range from the inability to download, to its being dictated and not read, which leaves many noticeable grammatical errors, to two users only receiving a book full of pictures.
Under their edition of Elizabeth Prentiss’ “Stepping Heavenward,” similar complaints are made about bad formatting, sloppy editing and one user even claiming that their edition was photocopied.
However, most of their editions have received more good reviews than bad. Some books’ bad reviews include nothing about the formatting or editing, such as the one-star rated reviews under “Steps to Christ.”
John Conroy Hutcheson’s “The Ghost Ship,” received over 1,000 reviews with only seven one-star ratings, none of which mention the formatting or editing.
As of September 12, 2015, “House of Fame” has yet to receive any reviews on Amazon.
“I have not contacted Amazon because I’m kind of exhausted and inconvenienced by the whole thing,” Purtell said. “However, after checking the price … I think it will be worth contacting Amazon to get my $22 back.”