Thursday, December 02, 2004

Fan Frustration: Trying to take the Nickel Tour

No, this doesn't have anything to do with the Freudian joke below. For well over a year I've periodically tried to purchase, "Disneyland the Nickel Tour", a massive collection of the complete set of postcards issued by the theme park, plus a history of Disneyland from opening to present day. To date I've been unsuccessful, though I just tried Amazon yet again.

If you follow the link to Amazon, you'll note that the book's availability is listed as "1 to 2 months", the first hint of weirdness. You'll also note that used editions of the book are going for several hundred dollars from various sellers, far above what I want to pay, while Amazon lists a new edition (from January, 2000) at half-price, $47.25 -- a price that I can justify paying for a book as yet unseen.

You'll also note that there's a review of the book from January 2004, which would be indicative, Watson, that the book is available. But, noooo. I tried buying "The Nickel Tour" again early this year, only to receive an auto-response from Amazon after a few weeks that they had been unable to contact the publisher and were canceling the order, which is also what I expect to happen this time around, too. I put a comment in the Amazon "review" section noting the book's unavailability... and the comment, which had to go through Amazon editorial review, was never published.

We pause for the Twilight Zone theme music.

Sometime in the summer, I got het up about "The Nickel Tour" once again after reading another glowing review and this time went to the effort of tracking down the publisher, "Camphor Tree." Go and check their site out, if you like. I'll wait.

Nice, if a little sparse, site, huh? If you click on "The Nickel Tour" link, you'll see you can purchase the book directly from them for $75, plus $7 s&h. Yikes! But what the hey, Fred's got the bit between his teeth at this point, and $82 is still better than $200 - 300. If worse gets to worse, I can always re-sell it on eBay, right?

Peg, if she's reading this, LoL at this point. :-)

If you're following along interactively with this saga, you can try purchasing "The Nickel Tour", or, for that matter, any book offered by Camphor Tree and this is what I bet you'll see, as the message hasn't changed in six months...

This supplier's CCNow store is currently unavailable. To our client: please log into your account and read an important message from CCNow.

I engage in idle speculation at this point and mention that I suspect that the "important message" is CCNow advising Camphor Tree that their account is long expired.

OOOOkay. What's left for Fred, who by this time had gone into his full rico-ga research mode and is determined to track down the Camphor boys (or girls, as the case may be). Well, there's an email address, and predictably, there's no response to the message I send in the summer. They're in Santa Clarita, CA, and a little research uncovers their snailmail address (predictably, a P.O. Box) and a phone number...

... which I call and reach an answering machine, or at least did when I tried this summer. And I leave a message. And (here comes that word again) predictably receive zero response. Zilch. Nothingness. The Big Nada.

That was this summer, and thus stymied (a word that always reminds me of one of the characters on "The Little Rascals"), I went on to other passions, which, as Peg can tell you, occur on the average of one a minute.

So, I'm blogging around this a.m. and go to the Disney Blog, where the author notes that this is one of his "favorite books", suggests it as a great gift idea, and even provides a link to Amazon. I go retrace the path I took in the summer, nothing has changed at Camphor Tree, but I click on the Amazon "buy" button, `cause what the heck, maybe the book is really now available, and go back to the Disney Blog and put a comment in the entry summarizing my tale of woe...

... and first I think it's been deleted ("Twilight Zone" music again) by the blogger, Mr. Frost, but what he's done is created a new entry with this remark at the same time I've been typing this entry...

Update: Looks like Amazon is out of stock on this item. I'll try to find out if there is a supply of these books out there anywhere. The untimely death of David Mumford, one half of the authorship and part owner of Camphor Tree Publishing, has made these books quite scarce. It might be a question of market demand. I think the minimum run for small presses is 10,000. They might just feel that's not warranted right now.

... and there we are. In the big scheme of things, the death of the co-author/publisher is a little more important, of course, and explains the unresponsiveness, and I'm sorry for the many Bad Things I've been thinking about Camphor Tree...

...but I sure wish I could find "The Nickel Tour."

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