Archive for July 20th, 2009

Lists galore!

I’m an information freak — though still far from being a nerdy geek — and have been ever since I first glossed over an old copy of the Reader’s Digest when I was ten. Which explains my predilection towards non-fiction books over that of written fiction. Books, for me, aren’t for entertainment… I have my television for that. I read books to acquire and expand my knowledge about the world around me. And it is for this reason why I putĀ  “The Book of Lists” series on top of my all-time favorite books, and why I have never stopped collecting them — an addiction really, that began way back in college in the early 80s.

That said, it’s been more than a decade (14 years to be exact) since I last updated my ‘Book of Lists’ collection, and for a good reason. Since the early nineties, local bookstores — National Bookstore in particular — have ceased importing this particular title, possibly because it didn’t sell as well as in the US, where the book series (books 1 to 3) have always made it to the bestsellers list. In fact, I had to patiently scour the then fledgling world wide web via the old-fashioned 36kbps modem (broadband was just a pipe dream then) to check out for the latest edition. And when the nineties edition of the book did come out, which was around 1994 if I’m not mistaken, I had to order it over the internet, a year later, via an internet upstart called Amazon.com.

It’s not cheap buying books online since I had to pay both tax and freight charges (via credit card of course). But what the hell, I wanted the book, and I was willing to do whatever it takes to get my hands on it.

Note: Between the years (1982 – present) since I started collecting this compilation of interesting and curious information, two volumes (vol. 1 and 2) have gone missing from my bookshelf. To this day I still can’t figure out how they disappeared. It could have been lost during the move six years ago, or was never returned by someone who borrowed them. I’m now in search for a used copy in the second-hand bookstores. I won’t purchase online for this one though, I’m not that desperate… yet.

So when I learned that my best buddy was going to the US with his family for a month-long vacation last April, the first thing I asked of him was to look for, and get the latest edition of the book for me.

He eventually found a copy at Borders, but unfortunately wasn’t able to hand carry it with him on his flight home as the book was a tad too bulky, so he had to ship it — along with the other things he bought — via a balikbayan box that took a full month to arrive.

Well, three weeks ago, the book finally came…


… along with a receipt for $16 US (including tax), which I have yet to fork out… ooops.

Now if I can only find the time to read it.

By the way, there is an interesting story behind my first-ever (there were a few other books I bought since then) online purchase:

After failing to receive my precious book after four weeks, I sent an email to the online bookstore complaining about the delay. Less than a day later I received a reply from the company, apologizing for the delay which they attributed to a possible SNAFU in the postal service.

To compensate, they informed me that they will be mailing another copy of the book, free of charge — in case the book lands somewhere in Timbuktu instead of good old RP. And what do you know, a day after receiving that email, the notice from the post office arrived. It was the long awaited book! I hurriedly sent an email to inform them that the package had already arrived, albeit weeks late, and that a replacement copy is not needed anymore.

Again, less than a day later, I get the reply from the company telling me that they’ve already sent the book via special delivery, and that I can either keep the extra copy, or donate it to a local library (which I eventually did).

Now THAT’s what I call service…

Oh, and the guy whom I was exchanging emails with? it was Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com.


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