Been planning to post this for a while. But because of my OJT, I didn’t have spare time to write and post this up. So hence why I’m only able to finish this now. lol
Book enthusiasts like me are a big fan of online shops! And aside from saving so much time – sometimes, you get to buy cheaper books than the usual store price since there are lots of book thrift shops and most are pre-loved. And even if the books are brand new, they offer the books in discounted prices.
But sometimes, admit it, it’s too risky. Especially nowadays, scammers are everywhere.
There are lots of reliable online shopping sites like Ebay and Amazon. But it’s still not that efficient to transact when you live in Asia. Why? Because most sellers from the said online sites are located from the other side of the world, mostly in the west. I’m from the Philippines and instead of saving from buying online, I’ll be charged way higher because of the expensive shipping fee. And if you’re unlucky, you double the pay because of the local post office or the customs. I’ve read some reviews that they were charged by the local post office a sum of money for them to be able to get their packages. That’s unfair right?
I have this very long list of books I really want to buy but are not available here in the Philippines. So the only options I have are Ebay and Amazon. But I am really really hesitant to try buying from these online stores since the shipping fee is too expensive – more expensive than the actual book price if I may say. I cannot afford such price because I am not yet employed. And one more thing, I’m afraid my packages won’t arrive at my doorsteps.
Until I discovered The Book Depository.
Someone from Instagram (I can’t remember who though) mentioned this to me and told me to try it if I really want to buy books that are not available here in the Philippines. But what’s the deal? What’s the difference from Ebay and Amazon? Well, The Book Depository only offers free shipping almost worldwide.
And so I tried it. And just the perfect timing, the books I’m planning to buy were on a big sale! The price are half of the original price. I felt so lucky! What a bargain!!!
So to enlighten you guys how this works, here are some questions I was asked by a fellow bookworms:
1. How was it?
Well, it’s just like a normal online store, but I guess, better?
The books are neatly and properly wrapped in bubble wrappers. Sometimes, books come with free bookmarks – though in my case, I didn’t get any. Hardcovers (from what I know) are delivered in a box and also wrapped in bubble wrappers. And if the books didn’t arrive or are damaged, you’ll have the option between a refund or a replacement copy.
If you buy, let’s say 2 or more books, the books are packed separately. They will arrive together if you order them and were dispatched at the same time. Just like the images below.
2. Are they reliable?
Yes! The Book Depository has its name and is a well known UK-based online bookstore, so you don’t have to worry about your orders not arriving.
3. How do I pay?
You can pay through PayPal or through debit/credit card. Though I suggest that PayPal is a better option. One time I used a debit card (EON card of Unionbank) and I was charged additional 5% of the book price. I dunno what’s that for… maybe tax or just the fluctuation of the foreign exchange rate.
4. How fast can they deliver my books?
Expect 3-4 weeks. Got mine at exactly 3 weeks after it was dispatched. I paid Thursday then the books were dispatched Tuesday of the following week. Then expect 3 weeks for the arrival of the books on your doorsteps.
For the Filipino buyers, I suggest that not buying to-be-released books or pre-order books that will eventually be available here in the Philippines.
Why? The time difference. Some books are released here in the Philippines earlier than UK. So you’ll have to wait longer if you pre-order a certain book. Unless, you’re willing to wait.
The Book Depository is a better option when buying books which are not available here in the Philippines (at least for me).
UPDATED OCTOBER 2014: I pre-ordered The One by Kiera Cass last March. The day after its release, the book was immediately dispatched. But it has been 5 months already and I never got my book.
So I decided to contact The Book Depository and state my issue. And they handled my issue pretty well. I was really satisfied with their service. I explained my situation and they gave a quick response. They refunded my payment for the book I ordered which never came. And they are nice people. lol
UPDATED: I had another case where I helped my friend to buy a book. It never came in 4 weeks time so I asked for a replacement copy (instead of a refund), and was immediately got taken care of. I got the book 3 weeks after.
And if you are lucky, you get to have your choice of book in a discounted price. I got my Iron Legends and Iron Traitor for only $6.11 each, which is equivalent to about Php250 each only! So overall… I’m pretty satisfied with their service.
UPDATED DECEMBER 2015: I’m still sticking with my earlier comments that Book Depository is really one of the best online bookstores! I’ve got few more transactions with them without any problem and the books never arrive later than 3 weeks. If they do, they give me either a refund of a replacement copy. BD is a really great and trusted online bookstore!
UPDATED MARCH 2016: I didn’t really expect to get a lot of comments and inquries here. So, I’ll do my best to answer the FAQs in the comment section on this edit.
What do I do if my package didn’t arrive within 3-4 weeks?
Don’t worry much. The package may have lost somewhere (consider how our local PO sucks too), but you can contact Book Depository on their website or email them regarding your lost package.
You can choose between a replacement copy of the book you ordered or have them refund your payment. I experienced 3 lost parcels before. The first one was The One which I mentioned above, and I had it refunded. For the other two, BD sent me replacement copies and they arrived 3 weeks after.
Book Depository has an excellent customer service. They usually reply to inquiries within no longer than an hour.
Are the parcels delivered straight to my doorstep or do I have to pick them up from the local post office?
I only had one-time experience where I had to pick my parcel to PO. It was stressful. You can check my full story HERE.
But after that incident, all my parcels from BD were being delivered straight to my doorsteps. I have friends who also order from BD, and so far from what I know, their parcels also arrive straight to their homes.
Are there any other charge?
No. No more charges. As far as I know, there shouldn’t be any additional charge if the parcels are delivered to you directly. If the rider asks for it, ask him why and what for. lol
UPDATED JANUARY 2020: This blog post is almost 6 years old but I still get a lot of inquiries and questions. I’m trying my best to answer as much as I can based in my personal experience but I honestly haven’t directly transacted with Book Depository in almost 2 years (adulting). But last year someone sent me a copy of Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan and it arrived to me in just 2 weeks (surprisingly so).
Many of my Filipino bookish friends still use BD as one of their trusted overseas online bookstores, so I still stand with everything that I have written here.
Feel free to leave your comments and I’ll try my best to answer.
But I may not be able to answer everything, so it’s also best to directly get in contact with Book Depository on their social media accounts. They also answer to customer inquiries on their Twitter:
Erika is a freelance content writer and illustrator from the Philippines. Aside from her love of arts and reading, she loves taking photos, coffee, cats, and fairies. She’s into fantasy, historical fiction, and contemporary, and anything young adult genres.