AAL vs. The London Review of Books (Updated)
Posted on June 18th, 2012
I’ve subscribed to the London Review of Books for a long time. From time to time, I’ll miss an issue, I’ll email them, and they’ll tack on an extra issue to my subscription. I don’t know why they just don’t mail me another copy — because I wanted to get it in the first place, hence that whole subscription thing — but that is not how their customer service seems to work.
I haven’t gotten an issue since the 10 May 2012 issue. I emailed them. I was told something was returned as undeliverable on 04 May 2012 and so they stopped sending them.
(This means that when I thought somewhere in April that I’d missed an issue, I had, but it took so long to get back to them they still sent out the 10 May issue. And then stopped, although the 10 May issue wasn’t returned. Yeah, don’t get it.)
Via email, they wanted me to verify my address. I informed them that my address was the same address at which I’d previously received the LRB. Successfully, I might add. Yes, it was the same address they had.
Oh, you. You’re thinking we should blame the mail.
But here’s the thing. The much derided USPS is still the best postal system in the world. If Congress didn’t keep their rates for
birdcage liners bulk/junk artificially low, they wouldn’t be in nearly the financial straits they are now.
What’s more, the USPS doesn’t seem to have any trouble getting my bills, letters, and all of my other magazine subscriptions to me in a timely manner. (Or the LRB’s reminders to re-up my subscription.)
Just the LRB.
Now, I realize this isn’t scientific, but that indicates to me that the problem is not the mail.
The LRB also had no trouble cashing my renewal check, although not before they sent me an offer for renewal that was $10 less than I’d paid — ah, thanks, guys. Timing is everything.
As I type this on 18 June 2012, I still haven’t seen an issue since 10 May. My check is cashed. I’m good through June-something-2013, although if they keep skipping issues it’ll be more like December 2013.
I have made a couple of snarky comments to @LondonReview on Twitter since this went down, but either I am too Portlandia passive aggressive or they just don’t give a damn.
I like the LRB. I like its slightly self-deprecating air (at least for literary criticism). I like the personals and the snarky letters (and responses). (Authors, why, why, why do you ever think it’s a good idea to write about how the reviewer was wrong? You will always look like an ass. But it does make entertaining reading.) I like that occasionally I come across a review for an older book that I never would have heard of and can only just track down on my own. I love the reviews.
But, LRB, I don’t know what goes on in your mailroom or distribution facilities or even how the magazine reaches me, but monkeys swimming across the Atlantic could get the thing delivered more regularly. You are the absent-minded professor of the literary review world. I love you, and yet you are dysfunctional (which puts you up one on my family, which is unlovable and dysfunctional).
Just send me my damned issues. Please?
UPDATE: @LRB tweeted back and is sending me issues from London. How wonderful is that? Also, I am geeking out that I tweeted with someone at the LRB. #Squee #LitGeek