Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From the Far Side of the World

This is great! I just got the book I ordered from BookDepository.com. I was drawn to try and purchase a book from the site as they were offering free worldwide shipping. Can you believe it? Free worldwide shipping! 


With regards to online shopping, Shipping Rates that I've seen before are prohibitively expensive and impractical. If you were ordering a book or DVD from Amazon for example to be delivered here (Manila, Philippines), Standard Shipping is almost as expensive as the item itself. If you try and go the expedited route, forget about it. Expedited Shipping rates would be more expensive than the item itself. It was just ridiculous. Buying something online in a situation like that simply wasn't an option. 


The prices I saw on the books are similar to Amazon.com. Prices are also competitive against Fully Booked (a local bookstore). In my particular case, I ordered a large format trade paperback of “Empire of Silver” by Conn Iggulden. This was not yet available in Fully Booked (apparently on the way according to the person I spoke to on the phone). They do have the Hardcover version of the book, priced at Php 1,092.00. I checked the same format on the BookdDepository.com and it’s priced at $19.50. At current exchange rates, that converts to Php 890.00. There was a 25% discount on that price, but books on the site usually have some sort of discount on them, usually around 10 to 15% it seems. Basically, prices are good, great if you get a book on a large discount.



It took awhile for the book to arrive. The estimated shipping period was 2 weeks. The site indicated that my order shipped on Dec 1 (I placed the transaction online a couple of days before that); the book arrived on Dec 21. Considering that the book was coming out of the UK, that’s not really too bad. In my experience, when you special order something from Fully Booked or PowerBooks that they have to get overseas, the usual estimate is around 45 days or more. 


The book was in a bubble wrap lined enveloped. The condition of the book was pretty good except for a little fold on one of the corners that was probably a result of getting squashed against a heavier package, annoying but not terribly bad. The book itself was naked inside the envelop, no additional packaging.


I was pretty anxious waiting for the book to be delivered since they would be using the national postal service (Philpost) when it got here. My past experiences have not been great with Philpost. I never get my bills on time, I usually get them a day or two before they're due, sometimes after, and sometimes not at all. There have been occasions that I get the neighbors mail or they get mine. Last time I was sent a package from overseas through Philpost it was stopped at the post office.  I was told I had to pick up the package from there. When I got there, I was asked to open the package on the spot so they could see that it was not contraband. People have since told me that it was probably more sinister than that, I was just lucky that I was not receiving anything that remotely looked expensive. Had it been anything of a more significant value, I would probably have had more problems getting it.


Of course my first stop is still Fully Booked. Love their stores in the Fort and Power Plant. I've spent hours walking those isles. I am forever grateful to them for bringing over Neil Gaiman to our shores. It was the first time I met an author whose work I followed. Fully Booked has a wonderful collection but they don't always have everything. So the BookDepository.com is a good option when a particular book is out-of-stock in the local store, or if it simply isn't available.


I should also mention that Fully Booked now accepts credit cards for purchase on FullyBookedOnline.com. I haven't tried it myself and simply saw an announcement on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Weird that they do not have a press release on their website or any other place online. This is a good development as it was silly before. What you would have to do before if you were to purchase something online is have to go to a bank and make a deposit in their bank account. If you had an account with the their bank you might have been able to do the transfer online. Still silly as you would have to send the information to them after. 


Direct purchases on their site using a credit card is a huge improvement. No plans for using PayPal though. And if anyone from Fully Booked or BookDepository.com is reading, just send me an email on how I can get my in-store credit for the plug.


Really excited to start reading the 4th book in Conn Iggulden’s Conqueror Series ever since I heard he was going to continue the series. It was originally just going to be 3 books and I really enjoyed reading those. Iggulden is one of the best at Historical Fiction writers out there.
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