For bookworms, one of the pleasures of life was browsing away in bookstores for the latest novels, or just whiling an hour or so away exploring the thousands of titles on their shelves.
But modern technology has changed all that.
Enter the e-reader, a pocket-sized gadget that allows you to instantly download everything from old favourites to the very latest works of fact or fiction.
So when 39-year-old David Townley saw an attractive online offer for a Barnes & Noble Nook glow light plus touch e-reader, down from the original £149 price tag to just £69, it was clearly a bargain he couldn’t refuse.
All went well until he discovered on receipt of the order confirmation the gadget had been wrongly invoiced at £109, which had been deducted from his bank account.
Understandably miffed, David e-mailed Nook UK from his Fareham home to ask what was going on.
It turned out he’d been slapped with the cost relating to a previous price offer, and was not best pleased when Nook had only credited his account with a partial refund which fell short of the advertised price.
When he complained for a second time, they said the mistake was all down to a misprint, and they’d promptly refund the £40 overcharge.
After a month of e-mails flying backwards and forwards, insult was added to injury when David discovered that far from crediting him with the £40, they’d taken another £40 from his account leaving him a total of £80 out of pocket. Exasperated, he asked Streetwise if it was possible to recover the overcharge via the small claims court.
We confirmed it was an option but suggested it was rather like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.
Apart from the initial cost, it would take months to come to a hearing, and was really not an appropriate way to go about dealing with what had become a comedy of errors.
After reading the abortive e-mails David had received from Nook UK’s customer service operation, Streetwise put it to Barnes & Noble, Nook UK’s parent company, that enough was enough.
David deserved better service than being given the run-around by their customer services who didn’t appear to have command of simple arithmetic.
A senior vice president of Barnes & Noble promptly agreed, and told Streetwise they were refunding David with the full £149 price of the Nook device.
She said: ‘I’ve apologised to Mr Townley and let him know his account will be credited within three working days.
‘In addition we’ve offered for him to keep his Nook device for the inconvenience he has experienced.’
On receipt of the refund David thanked Streetwise for fixing his frustrating problem which had left him banging his head against a brick wall for the previous five weeks.
David said: ‘I don’t think this would have been sorted or received a response if Streetwise hadn’t got involved as it had been going backwards and forwards with their customer services for over a month.’