from Mat Wahlstrom, Publishing Coordinator, Hayden Books <email@example.com>
Dear TidBITS Subscribers:
Thank you for your enthusiastic participation in the special offer on our book by Adam C. Engst, The Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh. Your response has literally been overwhelming, and in between gasps we'd like to extend our thanks to you in making this endeavor a success. As Hayden has done nothing like this online sales offer before, our parent company has experienced some rude shocks in making the new technology mesh with the old (that's right, they still use PCs and mainframe databases).
We download all of the orders we receive on a daily basis, sort them into international and domestic customer piles, and then route the former to our International Sales reps and the latter to our 800# Sales reps. This is what we were told to do when we first presented the idea. Then we were informed much later, just as you found out last week, that international orders should go directly through our "local" international offices (see TidBITS #197 for that contact information). Add the fact that orders are parallel-processed (entered in sales, shipped from the warehouse), and you can see that some problems were bound to happen. Granted, for our part, we didn't initially confirm orders via email. We have corrected all of these internal problems now, and we will confirm future orders.
However I'm sure you're saying, "Great, but where does that leave my order?" You can assume that your message made it through to us. We've had no perceptible data loss, and messages that ask what happened to your previous message can worsen an already large volume problem. It generally takes two to four working days to process domestic orders, and then tack on normal delivery time via whatever method you chose to have it delivered. For international orders, the situation is stickier for the aforementioned reasons, so generally allow four days to one week for processing, and then tack on the normal delivery time. Please remember that shipping and handling charges aren't for us: they're for the carrier of your choice once your order has been fulfilled. So please carefully check both your packing slip and your carrier receipt (if any) to determine the blame for a delay (and if it's with us, send me email personally!).
I can't express enough how grateful we at Hayden Books are for the level of demand Adam's book has generated. Thanks to your enthusiasm and feedback on our problems, we have convinced our parent company of the importance of having mechanisms in place to deal with the needs, present and future, of the Internet community.