It was a weird holiday season for ordering online. I ordered a mess of books from Onebookshelf (rpgnow.com) and received them all with only a couple arriving after Xmas. Oddly, their publishing (Lighting Source) sent the books out to me as printed, so I received all five books in five different packages. Somehow this seems....inefficient, but hey, I got them in a pretty timely manner as POD goes.
Back in the beginning of November I placed an order for Chaosium, two of their newer fiction compilations (because Chaosium still hasn't gotten on the ebook bandwagon) and one physical print edition of BRP Mecha. Two weeks in and the order was still sitting at "in process." Tried emailing Aaron at Chaosium...his email bounced and their Mailer Daemon was explaining that he doesn't accept email anymore. Tried contacting literally all other available emails on their site and no one responded to me. Put a Paypal dispute in before a month was up (Paypal's witching hour for refunds), and the order magically went from "pending" to "complete." The package showed up the day after I escalated to a claim. Is Chaosium having some staffing issues? Poor online communication is a bad idea, especially during the holidays, and during their sale events (they had one three weeks after I placed my order, which was still absent, so that was just a smattering of bitterness on top of the rest, waiting so long for an order that I literally had it rubbed in my face that I had paid full price for stuff I could have gotten for cheaper in the interim. Sigh)
Then there is Paizo. First they have big sales and get overwhelmed with the response. On the plus side Paizo's customer service is excellent and quick to respond to queries. On the other hand, I put an order in on December 12th and it's nowhere near being completed as of today. Especially awkward because they don't charge you until it ships, which is both a pro (if you're a good book keeper) or a con (if you aren't and then forget they haven't charged you yet). I'm a reasonably good book keeper, but a floaty pending payment for over a month is more than my good accounting sense can take, so this makes two orders in a row from them I've requested a cancellation on because I can't figure out why you can go almost a month with no update on the order. In the world ruled by Amazon, this is just bizarre. Yeah...Amazon does have issues at times, but 95% of my ordering from them has been spot on and quick. UPDATE: Just as I sent them an email to cancel I finally got an email saying the order was shipping. Go figure! So maybe I'll get my Shackled City and Art of Dragon books after all...
One shining light in all this: Lulu, which took three days to print six books including a 448 page monstrosity from Mutant Epoch's latest module, and which sent them cheapo-rate and arriving another five days later. Yay for lulu.
Whew, got all that off my chest!