Saturday, December 03, 2005

ABA Sales Sucks

Time for a quick rant: The ABA Sales Department now officially sucks. I used to order all of my birding books from them, even if I could find the books a bit cheaper at Amazon, as a show of support for the birding community. No more. Their service has steadily declined since the Sales Department was outsourced. Another failure of the corporatized ABA.

I ordered a book a few weeks ago and it took them weeks to fulfill the order; by the time I got the book, I had already completed my trip! I know that things are sometimes out-of-stock, but they always used to tell you when something would take a long time.

Now, I'm trying to order Bill Pranty's revised Florida guide; ABA Sales says it should have been released in the spring, but they still only have the old version (which was out of stock anyway) listed. Turns out the book has been out for a few weeks now, and the ABA apparently has it in stock, they just haven't bothered to update the web site. Oh yeah, the minimum shipping charge is $7.25 for a book costing over $15, so if the new Pranty guide costs $21 (and who knows how much it costs since they still haven't listed it) you're paying almost $30 (with taxes and shipping) for a $21 book. SUCKS!

I will go to Amazon or Buteo Books for all of my future birding books, unless the ABA is the only place that sells the item I'm looking for.

ABA Sales: The Ticketmaster of Birding

9 comments:

Eric said...

The Ticketmaster of Birding

Calling something the Ticketmaster of anything is probably the worst slam of all. But hey, if the shoe fits...

Thanks for the heads-up. I just joined ABA several months ago, and hadn't tried buying anything from them yet.

Dedrick said...

Just received my order today - oh, except that the new Pranty I was so eagerly anticipating was replaced with the SE AZ guide! Oh well, I'm sure those Fort Huachuca maps will help navigate me through the Everglades...

Chris O'Byrne said...

And I was actually thinking about going on a trip with this Dedrick feller? At the thought of becoming alligator bait, I may reconsider!

Birding is NOT a crime!!!! said...

I have been a bit surprised that this quick two-minute rant has generated more feedback (public and private)than the recent IBWO post.

Eric: I wasn't sure anyone would "get" the Ticketmaster jab, glad you did. The ABA is pretty much the only game in town for serious birders in the States, but I have heard increasing numbers of complaints from members in the Chicago area about the group. I might have more on this later.

Dedrick: You're kidding, right? That's so stupid that I ordered Pranty today through the ABA just so I could be surprised at what they actually send me.

Chris: I don't know where you guys are flying to in Florida, or when, but right now Brinson Park (Kissimmee/Orlando) has almost guaranteed Wood Stork, Limpkins, and Snail Kite, all visible from the car (!).

Chris O'Byrne said...

We're probably driving down around the middle of May, so it's a ways off. On our last trip we scored most of the good stuff, including Snail Kite on the Tamiami Trail. This will be a trip to work on rarities and get out to the Dry Tortugas. We have a GPS and non-leaking canoe, I think we'll just paddle out there ourselves and save some money. If things go wrong, I think we have relatives in Cuba...

Willy Nilly said...

I haven't had any problems ordering anything from ABA but I am feeling a bit "out of my league" when I receive postcards twice a month for birding cruises that cost what I make in two months. What say you guys?

--just a low rent birder

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked ABA Sales had the highest shipping charges of anyone selling bird books. They charged me around $17.00 to ship "Birds of the High Andes" from Colorado Springs to Albuquerque (a five or six hour drive). That was the last book of many I ordered from them. I can only take so much!

Buteo Books in Virginia and some of the overseas companies like NHBS, Wildsounds and Andrew Isles are better - even after paying airmail costs. Flora and Fauna Books in Seattle are worth checking out too.

I quit the ABA after being a member for a number of years. My impression is that the organization caters entirely to wealthier birders. And Willy Nilly, my wife and I would get those same post cards - we just laughed! For slightly less money than they want for a nine day trip we spent a month driving around Australia looking for birds- camping, staying at nice hotels and lodges, AND I spent three weeks in Panama birding in Darien to the Canal Zone. Deals are out there but the ABA doesn't have them.

The best thing about the ABA to me are the bird ID and related articles in their magazine. But even that just wasn't worth the escalating cost of membership (and piles of magazines on the shelves) for me.

Mike

Birding is NOT a crime!!!! said...

Well, ABA Sales has finally updated their web site to reflect that they now have the new Pranty available. It will be interesting to see what they send me for my order...

The "wealthy birders" comment is something I hear quite often, I think Mike Hendrickson posted something about this on his blog a week or two ago.

It's funny, though, I probably fit the ABA demographic profile pretty well --I am a bit younger than the average member, but have a professional job and make a pretty decent salary -- but I could never in a million years afford one of those trips. I just can't imagine who is paying that amount of money. I guess since I'm younger I am much more likely to do those sort of trips solo or with a small group, but still, there are pleny of group tours that are way cheaper than the ABA tours.

Anyway, I think this is a good discussion, and I know the ABA is reading this thread, so fire away.

Chris O'Byrne said...

Will, I now know what you're doing for my birthday, thanks for the cruise, man!

I have chosen to NOT join the ABA because it does not seem oriented to Joe Average Birder. The sales situation seems to be another. They have this great bookstore with a wonderful selection of books for birders... and you have to pay even more than you would at your local B&N!

Yes, the ABA does a lot of great things for birders... but everything comes with a very high price tag. This excludes a large percentage of the birders out there. Their marketing department must have all fallen asleep somewhere.