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So sad

Portland: Science museum, zoo, friends, family… Powell’s. World’s biggest used bookstore. Hours of entertainment, piles of books I’ve been looking for. Or even more fun, didn’t know existed. Best of all, they ship!

The Chaz Brenchley that’s long out of print, the fantasy novels by Adam Stemple… I’ve seen him play guitar, but had no idea he wrote too (not surprised, though, given that his mother is Jane Yolen), the research materials…

Nick and I accumulated a big box of books. (Is there an emoticon for understatement?)

The box arrived today.

Powells box

Exactly like that.

Powells box


(Edit: But read part two for the good bits.)


  1. Vince says:

    Wow, that sucks. 🙁

  2. Wow.

    I no longer feel bad for “overtaping” the boxes I send out.

  3. Ugh. That sucks so much! As Chia said on Twitter, a similar thing happened to me when I shipped my books from my old address to where I was moving to, only mine had clearly been broken into by a postal employee who decided to help themselves to my entire library of graphic novels. The box had been sliced open along one corner and was delivered with a single book in the bottom. I was told that the only way I’d have been able to get compensated would have been if I’d purchased insurance AND had included a complete packing list of the contents that could be verified by photographs of those contents in the box – in other words, when and if hell were to freeze over.

  4. Serra says:


    We’re so sorry to hear that happened! We are working on tracking down replacement copies of the books you purchased and will get in touch with you as soon as we have them in hand. Of course we’ll refund you for anything that we cannot replace.
    Serra Toney
    Contact Center Manager
    Powell’s Books
    1-800-878-7323 ext. 5782

  5. Nathan says:

    Did you contact them about this, or did they just find it on your blog and act on their own?

    Pretty cool either way!

  6. Nick says:

    While it *is* sad, it is not as sad as it could have been.

    This is not the Powell’s order Sarah and I filled last Sunday, but the one I got Wednesday, when she was slaving away at the conference and I was fecklessly wandering Portland – the visit where I got her the copy of the Alien novelization that she quoted in her last Science In My Fiction article.

    So her beloved Brenchley, Stemple, etc, are fine – that box arrived safley.

    The box the Post Office apparently had rough sex with was, instead, the fruits of my looting expedition through Powell’s Art and History sections.

    Morgan, by the way, says there is nothing quite like a nice pile of receipts and travel travel paperwork to stretch out and recline upon, and that it is quite rude of me to provide such a bounty, and then evict him from it.

    Poor kitty, it *is* a rough life.

  7. WendyB_09 says:

    I had a similar experience several years ago with an Amazon order I shipped to my parents home in advance of Christmas one year. The books were there, but the CDs & DVDs were AWOL. Upon closer examination, the box was a teense too big and leaning on the top had popped the single strip of shipping tape loose, allowing rude people to have their way with my goodies.

    A quick email to Amazon resulted in a return email and a real-live person from customer service calling to enquire which order and what needed to be replaced. I gave them the details and then asked if the replacements would arrive in time for Christmas, now just a few days away. They said they’d see what they could do.

    On the 24th the replacements arrived and Christmas was saved. Yay for excellent customer service! Nice to see that you also had a happy ending.

  8. Laura says:

    Oh no. 🙁 I hope Powell’s is able to come to the rescue.

    I shipped books back from my semester in Germany–the semester I discovered BOOKSTORES–and all the books were there (only because some German postal employee had put them in a sturdy burlap Deutsche Bundespost bag) but…somewhere along the line, they had gotten wet.