Sunday, July 22, 2007

DHL Joins the Grumpy List

When we lived in Boston, we always preordered our two copies of Harry Potter (of course we couldn't share!) from Amazon. They appeared promptly on our building steps on the morning following release. No need to brave crowded bookstores, waste travel time to/from the bookstore, and risk running into spoilers anywhere in the purchasing process. No need to even change out of the jammies before starting in on the book.

So it of course didn't occur to me for a second not to take the same approach here. We preordered from, which also promises day-of-release delivery. We had it sent to the Packstation, out of sheer habit at this point (no "insufficient address" problems with something this important, please!). We got emails from Amazon saying it would be to us by 6pm, or it would be free. I was horrified that it might be so late when it was always so early in Boston, but whatever. I would still be able to finish it by Monday if it arrived halfway through Saturday. The whole weekend had been left clear for the book.

I am very paranoid about spoilers. Even just knowing the vague "someone important will die" hint that was provided before Book 5 lessened the whole experience of the book for me so I've been really, really careful to not expose myself to even the most vague of spoilers. But this of course gets more difficult in the days before the release, and after the release...well, I have to read quickly because I can't stand to stay in hiding that long. I could barely sleep Friday night, knowing the book was now out there. I kept having fitful dreams that partiers in a nearby building would shout out spoilers loud enough for me to hear from my bed. Saturday morning I was itching to get the book as soon as possible.

Damon headed out late morning to stop at the lab and then the Packstation to pick up the books. We just assumed they'd arrive by then since the mail usually isn't all that late. Unfortunately, he came home empty-handed. The Packstation was empty. We dawdled quite a bit before heading out to check it again. We're supposed to get an email when anything arrives, but we figured there could be a delay before the email came, so no harm in checking! So, we headed over. It was mid-afternoon. No book. I started to feel we'd made a mistake. We witnessed other people checking their Packstations and finding them empty. Maybe this is normal Packstation behavior...or were they waiting for their books too?

We did some shopping in the Altstadt, returning to the Packstation for another look around 4 pm. Only 2 hours to the big deadline. No book. We went to the coffee shop across the street and whiled away the time until 5pm, then checked again. No book. I had no faith it would turn up in the last hour. And there was no way this day was ending without at least half of the book read, especially knowing that hundreds of thousands of people, potentially spoiling people, had finished the book before I even got out of bed. So, we went to the nearest bookstore and bought two copies. It was a horrifying experience for my spoiler-fearing self, as people were standing around the big pile of books flipping to the end to see what happens. What if they said something out loud? What if they made a mere face that said too much? Argghghhgh.....exactly what I was trying to avoid by having it come in the mail instead! Luckily we escaped spoiler-free, ran home, and read away. Not before checking the tracking on Amazon. According to that, DHL got the books as far as Speyer, at 8am Saturday morning. And that was all the further they went. So, who knows if/when they will show up - and if they will automatically not be charged because Amazon can tell from the tracking that they didn't get here on time, or if we will have to argue about it or bother with returning them to get our money back.

Grr, DHL, why!?


  1. Which Amazon did you order off, Germany, UK, US?
    (they all offer the english version of course)

    DHL was here at 11 am with the book. from Amazon Germany.

  2. Interesting. I put in a pre-order at Thalia. This allowed me to walk into the store on Saturday morning and guarantee that I could pick up a copy. I am already 50% through. Now I am stuck on some big projects and have to delay my intense reading...

    Sidenote: If you have any questions about the complexity of being in Germany, drop me a message on my blog:

  3. If it makes you feel better... The Japanese translataion won't come out for a year. Apparently Scholastic has a contract with a tiny publishing company in Japan that can't produce it any faster.

  4. Mary, I can't imagine they all wait that long if they can read English ;) The Germans certainly aren't waiting for the German translation to come out in October!!

  5. Oh, that sucks! At least you bought the ones at the store, though. Imagine if you'd have waited until after 8pm and the great German "geschlossen" signs took over for the weekend! I also pre-ordered from (no packstation, though) and our DHL guy showed up at our doorstep around 11 Saturday morning.

  6. I'm not a big HP fan, but I'm all about instant gratification and not having some dum-dum spoil a surprise for me.

    DHL seems to be hit or miss...

  7. Debbie: We definitely weren't going to take any chance of having the bookstore closed!

    Eurotrippen: This is one of my first DHL experiences...interesting to hear they are hit or miss!

    Happy ending, Amazon refunded us the cost of the books. So, uh, now we have extra HP books around...


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