Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why I love Amazon

A few days ago, after a long wait, I was surprised by a huge package that arrived by air mail from the US. A happy dance, many little cries and scissors later, and I found my order from Amazon!

International orders usually take a long time to arrive - unless you're filthy rich and, then, why bother ordering online? Go over there and get what you want! Anyway, I've ordered a couple of months ago, and one of the books I wanted - Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches - was sold out after I confirmed the order.

Amazon sent me an e-mail a while later about the unavailability (and look at that, the book is on the catalog again...) and just because I asked if they could add to my order the book from one of their associate sellers - which they couldn't - I got a credit with no time limit for use of 5 dollars.

All that time later, when my package arrived, look what was inside:

I've started reading Crazy Quilting - The Complete Guide, by J. Marsha Michler, immediately! The book is small and spiral-bound, protected by a hard cover. That makes it really easy to carry in my bah, it holds up open on the desk while you read it, and it won't be easily damaged (which, for someone crazy about books, like me, is essencial!). The content is wonderful! There are many ways to make a crazy quilt, all thoroughly explained, some projects for inspiration and tons of step-by-step instructions on stitches, using beads and stuff like that. I highly recommend it, I'll probably talk a lot about this book around here!

This is a knitting classic, my second book by the famous EZ: Knitting Without Tears, by Elizabeth Zimmermann. I still haven't started reading it, but it was very well recommended.

Oh my... this one is eye candy! Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques, by Sally Saunders, Anne Butcher & Debra Barret, is the official book (as far as I understood by the things I read on the web) of the School of Needlework that exists until today in England, sponsored by the royal family. Don't you think that sponsoring exquisite handmade works is a sign of high level of civilization? Anyway, the pictures os embroidered works in this book are absolutely impressive, they look like painting. One of the most expensive I bought, by the way. I am glad just to browse it, when I get to read a little more of it I'll tell you what I think.

Another eye candy! It was because of this book that I bought satin ribbon, The Silk Ribbon Embroidery Bible, by Joan Gordon. Imagine the things I can make using this book and the Crazy Quilting one! The projects are gorgeous, the ribbon flowers... ooooohhhh how beautiful! More useful comments after I read more of it, I promise!

In the lack of Mary Thomas's, another embroidery stitches dictionary: The Embroidery Stitch Bible, by Betty Barnden. I found the explanations fantastic, vey clear and detailed. I'd like to make a sample with this book, learning one stitch a day. But with the size of my WIPs list, I don't know... we'll see. It would be a good idea now, wouldn't it?

And at last, the Encyclopedia of Needlework, by Therese de Dillmont. This book I was not quite sure if I would buy or not... it has been written over a hundred years ago, and it covers many needlework techniques. I wasn't sure because I read in many comments at Amazon that the quality of the pictures was really bad. I asked Vince, from Works of Hands, if he thought it was worthy it (he also owns Works of Hands' Library, where he shows off the IMMENSE collection of books he has, and this one is part of it). He said that, despite being a book that does not explain things in detail, it had great value and should be part of the library of everyone who takes embroidery seriously. Imgine if that didn't sound like a challenge? heheheh Well, Méri also consults the online version with a certain regularity, so I thought "what the heck" and bought it.

Here's a warning for you: DON'T BUY THIS BOOK! It's the most recent edition, but, inexplicably, ALL PICTURES HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED! When I started browsing the book, I didn't know what to do. Later I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be good for me like that. I even thought of printing the online images and leave them together, but... you have to agree with me, if I bought the printed edition to ease my learning, that wouldn't work. So I headed to the Amazon website and asked to return the book.

Amazon is a company with many years in the market (about 10, at least, right?), and their system is highly realiable. To return a book you go to the right page, pick the book you want to return from you order, inform the reason to return it, print a bar code and the address to glue on the package and send it back. That simple.

After I was done with the preparation, I ran to the nearest post office - I had to run because I left work earlier so I could get there before the post was closed (the hours are terrible). When I got there, I asked the attendant for the cheapest way to send it to the US. She said "36 reais" (over 15 dollars). Lucky me I didn't have that amount in my wallet, and the post doesn't accept cards - they don't make things easy now, do they?

When I got home, I started thinking: what if when the package arrived there Amazon said that in the book description it said there was no pictures in it (I saw that later), and that therefore they wouldn't refund me the delivery? I wrote them explaining that to return the book I would spend around 15 dollars, and that I'd only do it if I were certain of the refund. 15 dollars is a whole other book, you know.

What did Amazon do? Oh, figures... They agreed that the delivery was too expensive, they said they were sorry for the problem I had, and therefore they would give me the refund for the book, the delivery and that I DIDN'T HAVE TO RETURN THE BOOK.

Do you know how many companies would treat me that well here in Brazil? Very little, I assure you. That's why I continue being an Amazon customer, although the international delivery is expensive - but they always have the books I want, and in general, even with the delivery, I end up paying less then if I placed the same order in a national store. Go figure.

Aren't you just dying to know what I'm gonna do with all that now? :)


worksofhands said...

that was bad, regarding the Dillmont encyclopedia, the illustrations are very important supplement to the explanation.
Well, the techniques are described in detail, I have to make it clear. ^_^
I guess what I wanted to say before was that the explanations were not effective for me, since I am the type who would understand better with at least a very clear illustration. ^_^
I bought new books from amazon too. I still have books to put up my blog too. I have been too busy with work.
Have fun with your books,

Samanta said...

Hi, Vince! Thank you so much for stopping by! :)
I am a very visual person, and I usually learn by seeing how things are made - that's why I'm in love with the books I bought. But the encyclopedia puzzles me now... I don't know how to use it! Maybe I should go back to the previous idea and print the images from the web... but that's a lot of work! And paper. :) I always say work gets on the way of crafting... but that's what pays for it, so I should get back to work. :D