BBB Complaints on the Rise in “Books” Category for U.S. and Canada

Complaints rise from 878 in 2010 to over 1500 so far in 2011 in the “Books- New” category.

Part 1 of a 3 part report

Complaints on the Rise

Complaints rise from 878 in 2010 to over 1500 so far in 2011 in the “Books- New” category.

Buyer beware applies even to new books it would seem. The “New Books” category of the BBB received 878 complaints in 2010 and over 1500 complaints received in that category so far this year. There are common complaints and repeat offender businesses listed.

Better Business Bureau

BBB = Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau (a.k.a. BBB) was founded in 1912, and today has 121 BBBs that serve the U.S. and Canada which evaluate and monitor more than 2 million businesses and charities. They accept, monitor and mediate consumer complaints. The organization doesn’t respond to all complaints though. For instance a complaint from a consumer that they did not enjoy a book would not be handled by the BBB. There are set categories of complaints and numerous categories of businesses. One such category is “Books-New.”  There are other categories that involve publishing, see the side bar for listing.


Other Complaint Categories: Publishing Consultants,  News Publications – Trade, Association,  Books- Used & Rare,  Books Wholesale,  Comic Books, Shoppers New Publications,  Publishers Representatives,  Writers- Business,  Encyclopedia & Book Sales by Internet, Encyclopedias, Bookbinders,  Law Books,  Writer- Freelance, Bibles, Covers- Book & Catalog, Publishers-Periodical, Publishers- Directory & Guide, Newspapers, , Books- Textbooks New & Used, Scholastic Prep Courses  Books & Materials,  Vanity Publishers,  Book Compact Disc & DVD Clubs, , Newspaper Distributers, Advertising- Newspapers , Newspaper Feature Syndicates Magazine Sales, Magazine Subscription Agents,  Magazines-Dealers,  Magazine-Distributers, Magazine Publishers and Magazines- Back Number.

The BBB has set category types that complaints are put into.  The following types of complaints were filed under “Books-New”:

  • Advertising
  • Sales practices
  • Billing
  • Delivery
  • Customer Service

The complaints encompassed both brick and mortar stores as well as online, with the majority of complaints coming from online sources.

An interview with several BBB locations including Virginia, New York, Michigan, and Washington state helped us to identify what types of complaints came in under those categories.

In part 2 of our 3 part report we will look at those specific complaints and we look at some of the businesses that were named in the complaints.

Part 2 will publish August 23rd and the final report on August 24th.


Read Part 2 here- BBB Complaints on New Books part 2

Reader Part 3 here- BBB Complaints on New Books part 3


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