I was sure I’d been bamboozled.
I bought a book online. A first edition. It was a bit of a splurge, but all my holiday shopping was done and it was really a steal…which should have been my first clue.
It was listed online as a “true first edition”. It wasn’t in perfect condition, but one that was would be around $7500 (yeah, I love books, but that’s more than my rent for a year). The dust jacket wasn’t perfect, but in “good” condition, as was the book. Good enough for me.
It came nicely wrapped in Christmasy tissue paper and a ribbon. I opened it with anticipation and saw the dust jacket I expected…appropriate artwork for a “true first edition”. Then I opened to the copyright page and my heart sank. Two lines under the 1962 copyright date it read “Thirtieth printing 1972”.
Now I am not remotely an expert on rare books, but even I know that a thirtieth printing is NOT a “true first edition”. A piece of paper fell out telling me that if I’m not happy with my purchase I can email so-and-so (a private email, not the name of the bookstore from where the online purchase seemed to originate) and get a full refund.
While I’m the kind of gal who doesn’t like to send back flat sodas at a restaurant, there was no way I was going to pay 1/4 of my yearly book budget (I’m a nerd, I know) on a book that wasn’t at all what I thought I was purchasing. I emailed as soon as I got back home that I was dissatisfied with my purchase. That their description had promised “this” and I was sent “that”. She immediately responded that there had been a problem with their account on Amazon and that “they” had erased all of their book descriptions and they were very sorry and would be happy to not only refund me the purchase price and the cost of shipping, but would also send me a little book free of charge to apologize.
I mulled over the state of things. Was this for real? Was it really a mistake? Or was this just a bait-and-switch where they expected most people to be smart enough to look at the copyright date but not smart enough to read the lines beneath and catch the number of the printing? Was the “we’re so sorry” and “they did this” all a sob story to keep me from knocking down their 100% rating or reporting them as suspicious?
But as promised, I received an email notifying me of my refund. And today, I received their apology book. I was interested in what kind of a book-bribe I might be offered…and I confess…I love it.
It’s a small book. It is called “Time for Reflection”, edited by Louise Bachelder, with illustrations by Pat Stewart. It’s exactly my kind of book. I love books of quotes. I have several books of quotes that compete with a Riverside Shakespeare in terms of heft;but this is a sweet little book that is slightly bigger than my hand and I have fallen in love with it. It helped that when I first opened it and flipped through I could see many Scriptures included among the quotes. But when I read the introductory passage, I melted.
ON THE NEED FOR A REST
There is no music in a “rest,” but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life melody, the music is broken off here and there by “rests,” and we foolishly think we have come to the end of the tune. God sends a time of forced leisure- sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts- and makes a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voices must be silent and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator. How does the musician read the “rest”? See him beat time with unvarying count and catch up the next note true and steady as if no breaking place had come in between. Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the time and not be dismayed at the “rests.” They are not to be slurred, not to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, nor change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him we shall strike the next note full and clear.
I have accepted the bribe. I love this little treasure. I have been “booked” to my satisfaction. I have a new friend. An unexpected treasure. All is forgiven.