Both my books (PHB and HotDQ) have scratches on the cover. My fingernails don't scratch it, so what the heck happened? It looks like there were pieces of sand between the books as they were jostling around in the truck.
A buddy of mine and I stopped by our local hobby store today and I glanced at the new 5e Player's Handbook while I was there. Flipping through the spells section of one of the books, I noticed several pages that looked as though the printer was almost out of ink. The lettering, though I could still make out what it said, was faded and streaked severely. On several copies of the 5e PHB, the shiny gloss cover was scratched, and on a couple, the black matte finish on the back cover was scratched off in places. Now, obviously, the latter two issues were the fault of bad handling somewhere along the way between the print shop's shipping department, to the book's placement on the shelf. But there is no excuse for the faded ink. And the decision to use the shiny, high gloss, and the black matte finishing on the covers, that are so easily damaged, are the product of faulty decisions. Neither is excusable, in my opinion, on a book with a price tag of $50 and some change after taxes.
I may not have cared much for 4e, but it seems to me the quality of the book covers and their bindings (not necessarily the art on the cover, mind you) was of much better quality.
For example, my copy has a little extra glue from the binding that was atop the pages, but I spotted it before it could rip the pages.
They can't have someone checking every page of every copy. So bad copies will get out. But, most of the time, those will be easy enough to replace.
Yeah, it's no big deal.
I'm more than willing to come down on WotC for mistakes and flaws. But 100% perfect products is impossible. There's always some errors.
When you make ten thousand copies of something there will be bum copies. Even a 1% error rate means a hundred bad copies. We don't know the size of the print run, but it could be in the 25-100k range. That might mean 200-1000 inferior copies.
I made an account just to post here. I just googled '5E player's handbook binding glue' and found this thread. All of the books I've seen (4 different shipments total in 2 gaming stores as well as the one I reluctantly bought from Amazon) have issues. The front and back pages having excess glue is the least of our problems. If you look through every single page, like my crazy self, enjoying the fantastic art etc., you will run into pages that are stuck together just a little bit near the crease. If you pull gently, or try to separate the pages in any way, the art will be ruined. It pulls apart white, which is just glaring. I had this issue no fewer than 6 times on only art pages, a handful of times on spells pages, but since those are beige, I'm not too concerned.
I also noticed the faded text that others mentioned.
My 5e PHB arrived from Amazon in pristine shape, so it's certainly not an issue with every copy.
In comparison, my 4E "gift box" set had a DMG with two purple line running down about 30 pages, and the smearing ink problem. I ended up using PDFs and the physical books just sat on the shelf. (need to get rid of them to make room for my 5E books...)
I agree; a retailer should be responsible for ensuring that the copies that hit their shelves are free from defects.
It's really not fair to expect someone to plunk down $50 (especially in this economy) for a book with a dinged, dented, or damaged cover.
I hope you brought the issues to the attention of the store staff.
It's one thing to be unaware of an issue, but quite another to allow them plausible deniability.
I called my local store to reserve a copy (it turned out they had plenty on the shelves so it didn't matter). When I got there, the chap tried to sell me a copy that was dented all along the bottom edge of the cover! He justified this (and actually drew attention to it) by saying "don't worry, it came in like that; that happens sometimes" as if damage in transit didn't count! I bought one of the pristine copies from the shelf, instead of the one he had reserved for me.