Defence Against The Dark Arts: Books And The Companies That Ship Them

Blurb: As the cost of books rises, the care that companies take to ship them seems to be declining. How OCD and a love of books has helped me realize that billion-dollar companies are crushing more than corners when they ship your latest literary obsession.  

I love books. I love books so much that even though I have ADHD and struggle to slow my mind for any length of time, I can still sit and read for hours on end. My love of books began in the womb. When my mother was pregnant, the doctor told her that reading to her unborn baby was beneficial and would help to create a bond between parent and child. When asked what she should read, the doctor told her to just read aloud whichever book she was currently enjoying. My mother loves horror, and after nine months of listening to Stephen King and Dean Koontz, I was born into the world an adorer of books. 

photo credit: Pixabay

I also have OCD. When I was child I loved to take my books everywhere I went, but I hated when my books were damaged or bent in any way. So, using the logic of a young child, I decided that the best way to transport my books to and from school would be to wrap them in paper towel and store them in Tupperware containers. I still have an almost complete run of R.L. Stines’ Goosebumps series in immaculate condition.

Fast forward 35 years to 2019, and here we are in a world where countless books can be ordered online and delivered directly to your recently washed hands. But, alas, depending on where you order your books from (cough, Amazon, cough), most books show up looking like they were packed by a toddler with a love for horror –  a single book in a refrigerator-sized box with a crumpled-up piece of packing paper in one corner. Oh, but books are meant to be enjoyed! Books are only made of paper! You paid less online! You can always return the book if it’s damaged! Yup, that’s true – but only three times and then they stop sending you a new book. So, what’s the big deal, besides my obvious obsessive-compulsive tendencies? I already told you, I LOVE BOOKS.

My problem is that books have become more expensive and yet less cared for. Many companies are more than willing to send you a book, but not willing to take the time to pack it properly. Say you walked into a clothing store tomorrow and purchased a shirt that cost the average price of a new release hardcover book (over $30.00). You take the shirt home and noticed that it has a small rip, or a stain, or even that the shirt wasn’t sewn properly. What do you do? Do you keep it because, “shirts are meant to be loved?” No! You return it and get a new shirt that isn’t ripped, stained, or poorly manufactured. 

I’m not saying that books have to be wrapped in paper towel and stored in Tupperware containers. My wife reads books in the bathtub and while eating buttery popcorn. All I’m saying is that books are expensive, fragile, and have the power to change the world. Maybe it’s time that shipping companies start treating books with the respect they deserve and that customers start holding these multi-billion-dollar companies accountable.