How far should an author go in response to a negative review? When Dan Fleisch, an author from Springfield, Ohio, read an Amazon review of his book, A Student’s Guide to Maxwell’s Equation, which gave it a single star on the basis of a printer’s error that resulted in the reviewer’s copy missing the first 38 pages, Fleisch decided to get on a plane and hand-deliver a pristine copy of the book. Himself. On Christmas Day.
At 6 a.m. Christmas Day Fleisch was sitting in a plane at the Dayton airport waiting to head north.
“I’m sitting there. The plane is fairly empty, and I think, ‘Am I nuts?'”
Although that was the first time he had asked himself that question, he’s pretty sure his girlfriend had been questioning his sanity many, many hours before.
“I’m sure she was looking to see what other options she had in life,” he said.
The reviewer in question, Michel Cuhaci, is an Ottawa resident. Fleisch located him after appending a comment to Cuhaci’s review asking for the reviewer’s address and promising to send him another copy of the book. The cost of Fleisch’s book is $26. His return trip to Ottawa cost him $396.55, and his rental car cost an additional $67.67. For his trouble, Cuhachi amended his Amazon review, but did not change the one-star rating:
UPDATE NOTE (Feb 2,09): I received a new copy from the author himself on Christmas Day, hand delivered (for more info please read follow-up comments to this review). The book is excellent, very clear and easy to follow. My rating of 1 star (based on the first book I received, since I could not read the full content of the misprinted issue) now could be changed to 5 star. However, if I change it to 5 star, most review readers could miss the “happy ending” (read follow-up comments), and the Author’s concern and excellent service on a winter stormy day…
Fleisch’s dedication is admirable, but this Quillblogger can’t see the trend of hand-delivered books catching on. To test this theory, he intends to post a one-star review of Paris Hilton’s memoir, Confessions of an Heiress, and report back on the results.