I recently had an interesting experience that has left me scratching my head, and, to be honest, a little annoyed.
I received in the mail a copy of Terence MacCarthy’s book — MacCarthy on Cross-Examination — published by the American Bar Association. I was familiar with MacCarthy, having seen him make a presentation at Minnesota CLE’s Criminal Justice Institute in Bloomington a couple of months ago.
As the editor of Minnesota Lawyer, I frequently get books sent to me by authors who hope we might review it or at least mention it in our paper. I assumed that this book, which arrived without explanation, fell into that category. Having no plan to read or review it, I nearly pitched it into the recycle bin. Fortunately, I did not.
The next day I received a bill from the ABA for $147.90, representing $129.95 for the book and another $17.95 for shipping. First of all, $129.95 strikes me as a bit excessive for a 220-page soft-cover book with absolutely no art work. And, given that it wasn’t even the size of John Grisham novel, it seemed nervy for the ABA to charge me more than $17.95 to put it in an envelope and send it to me. At that price, I would expect it to be personally delivered to me by somebody in a gorilla suit.
I called the ABA — and after wasting several minutes in Muzak land waiting to be connected to an actual human being — I was able to talk with an someone. She was pleasant enough. When I said I had erroneously received and been billed for an ABA book, she asked me immediately, “Was it the McCarthy book?” I said that it was, and she told me that she would send me a return label so that I could send it back and not be charged.
Apparently, MacCarthy mistakenly told everyone at the CLE the book would be free when he passed around a sign-up sheet at the CLE. (At least that’s what Minnesota CLE says in an explanatory letter I just received.)
I am feeling inconvenienced and somewhat peeved. When I do get around to sending the over-priced book back, I am toying with the idea of charging the ABA $17.95 for my “handling” costs to see how they like it ….