The Book Depository Doesn’t Suck That Much

Update: They very kindly refunded the extra orders – it would have been nice if they’d done it when we asked (and I hadn’t had to write this) but hey, you can’t really say fairer than that.

Oh dear, we were hoping that The Book Depository might be able to stand up to Amazon but alas no – misordering, dodgy records, double charging you and then expecting you to pay postage back (from Au to the UK for their mistakes!!!)… and as for customer support – a single line or so. So yeh, keep your custom with the big A I’m afraid.

Lets see if this posts helps any.

19 replies on “The Book Depository Doesn’t Suck That Much”

  1. James, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had bad experiences, but my family have used the Book Depository for about 40 books now and have found that they are generally cheaper than Amazon (certainly cheaper after factoring Amazon’s postage costs), about 8 – 10 times faster for delivery and the one complaint we had (a torn box of flashcards) resulted in a new one being sent asap. It could be that our experience is better than most, or yours is worse than most! I suspect the latter!

  2. You must have caught them on another day – they’ve been downright rude and unhelpful with us.

  3. I have to say that I have not had any bad experiences with Book Depository and have done about 10 orders to be shipped to the Netherlands in the last couple of months. Due to the free shipping it is much cheaper than Amazon and usually the books arrive quite a bit faster too. It does make me wonder whether they can be sustainable (where is their margin when I buy a book from them?).

    Did you have one bad experience or multiple?

  4. Hi James

    I’m really sorry you’ve had a poor experience with us at The Book Depository – not something we want any customer to have.

    I’d love to try to make it up to you – so if you’d give me a chance to look into this I’d appreciate it.

    Kieron
    MD The Book Depository

  5. Thankyou Keiron, it’s much appreciated and we’ll be in touch – and edit this post if we can work it out.

  6. Well, I am having a bitter experience with them at the moment… I’ll update that as soon as it gets sorted out (or not) by their amateur customer relations team.

    My first experience with them wasn’t good at all. I ordered a book which came with obvious damage in the bindings. I photographed it and sent an email back with the images. They apologised and said it was unacceptable and that they were going to send me another copy.

    I then received an email saying that they were out of copies and that I woul be refunded. I waited for a long time to be refunded and had to email them again and email Amazon (because I had bought the book through Amazon marketplace) to get my money back. It eventually happened after more than a month.

    The problem is they reply to your emails trying to downplay the situation and minimising its importance.

    I gave them the benefit of the doubt and ordered a few more books from then without any problem whatsoever. Until the present date…

  7. As I was waiting for 5 days to my new book arrive, I got an email from Kieron Smith at the Book Depository with the following…

    “I am terribly sorry to inform you that on this occasion we have been unable to fulfil part of your order. This line has been cancelled and we have refunded your card.”

    So i mailed them back trying to do things in a less mechanical way. I noticed that the book I ordered cost 18€ on the date I ordered and the price had changed to 25€. They had the book in stock as I found through another email later. I could believe that they cancelled the order so that I wouldn’t get it for such a low price. I don’t know if that was the case or not.

    Anyway, I sent them an email asking why the order had been cancelled. I was actually willing to pay for the difference if that was the case, even though that would’ve been the dirtiest move ever from Book Depository.

    I got this answer from Samantha Myers on the second email…

    “I am afraid we could not supply the book as we ran out of stock just before your order, we did send an email apologising and advising. Could this have been blocked or filtered? You have been refunded in full for this title.”

    Wait, so if they ran out of stock before I placed the order why was I notified only 5 days later?

    And why would I send them an email if I hadn’t read what they sent me before? Would I guess they cancelled the order? Poor Samantha… This is a common problem with Book Depository. They always try to downplay things and not give importance to customer relations. So she basically asked me if I was dumb and didn’t help me at all. I said in the previous mail that the refund wasn’t a good option for me, as I said before, I’d rather get the book anyway.

    I send an email asking for a proof of refund which is something they don’t have available. But when you order something they charge you right away. So then I go an email from Marcin Dzieciol saying…

    “Dear Sir/Madam,

    Please allow 2-3 working days for refund to appear on your account.
    In regards to to this title availability, we have found new supplier of this title therefore you are welcome to place new order on our website.”

    So I just sent them an email showing that I was very angry at the way things were being taken care of and that I thought passing my email along like a hot potatoe was very insulting and that basically no one was trying to solve the problem.

    I even called them today and they couldn’t articulate a good reason for this confusion and simply said that I had been refunded. I asked for a proof, they said that the proof was the order cancellation email. My bank knows nothing about a refund and on my online bank account screen there’re no money transfers from Book Depository.

    From a company who would know a thing or two about customer relationship management, they would simply shut up, apologise and send a book, I mean, they have it in stock! They’d rather lose 7€ than a dozen future customers? I’ve been ordering things from then from quite a while and advised friends to buy at Book Depository and they did. Don’t they look forward to maintain regular customers?

    The point here isn’t the amount of money spent but the hassle to get one simple job done. They didn’t even return my last email. This has happened before and it has happened to a lot of people from the complaints I’ve read online. When the shit hits the fan they simply disconnect. They don’t want to deal with it! What kind of company is that? I think I’m better off buying from Amazon and paying an extra € or two but getting a decent customer service and faster shipping.

    So basically, don’t buy from the Book Depository! They do suck that much James!

  8. You’re lucky you even received help, James. I placed an order and it’s been over a month, and it has still not arrived. Every attempts to contact them has been ignored. It seems they don’t want to speak with their customers. Appalling customer support and overall bad service. The free shipping may sound nice, but I guess it comes at a price! I’m not the only one either…countless reviews online about the poor quality of this company

  9. I have a bad experience with them too. Placed an order for 3 books, 4 days later money refunded for 1 book (they said it was not available, checked their website, they have but cost a bit more). I asked them to cancel the order and they can only cancel the second book because one already been dispatched. It’s been a week but none arrived (despite shown in their website that the book will be dispatched in 24 hours). And now just checked my credit card account online and they charged the full amount dated on the day I placed the order. Very very dodgy. I think I was amazed with their 98%, 5 star rating in Amazon. Never again

  10. I had problems with them, too: 10 days after my order was placed, paid and not receiving anything, I wrote them an email, and got no answer.

    2 or 3 days later, I get a plastic envelope which encased a burnt, torn and broken paper envelope (on which my address was visible, ironically) that was supposed to be my package.

    The transparent Royal Mail plastic envelope had a “standard text” including apologies and an UK telephone number for me to call to request refunding of some sort if I believe that the contents of my envelope is not in there. I hope no-one died in the meantime, that paper envelope looks like it went trough some war or plane-crash.

    Sure, there was no book nor anything else.

    I wrote to BD two emails, no answer since (more than a week).

    Now, searching the web for similar problems, I have reached your blog and I am surprised to see so many situations. I was hoping BD is an alternative to Amazon.

  11. I’ve had no problems with BD at all. In fact when I made a mistake in ordering I advised them and they corrected my error immediately. I guess every firm can have mistakes occur. Even Amazon, which have messed up some of my orders.

  12. I’ve been using BD for years now and they have been fantastic. I have used them as a customer whilst living in the UK, Ireland and Australia and have always found them prompt and efficient.
    Their prices are reasonable and the free shipping is a winner in business terms.
    I have only ever had one problem with one book (I must have ordered well over 100 with them), which was a book arriving damaged with a bashed corner. This was probably not BD’s fault but as a result of shipping. The BD were so understanding and just sent me a replacement copy of the book and told me to hold on to the other book. I offered to send it back to them if they would look after the postage costs, but they said it was ok and not to bother.
    Overall I would give the Book Depository a well deserved 10/10 as a business. They have also revamped their website which has been a plus, with java enabled browsing allowing lightening quick purchasing etc. I also love the way you can check against amazon and books at abebooks.

    Thumbs up for the Book Depository.

  13. Well, it seems that BD did well in the end. I contacted Kieron using Twitter, he quickly replied and the next day my new book was dispatched. It arrived only yesterday, that is 12 days, but hey! it arrived! So I have to cancel all the bad words I said about BD, because it was not their fault in the end, and they proved to be nice guys (except for those days before when they did not reply my emails :P)

  14. I have been using the book depository for a couple of years now and have bought well over 100 books to date. I have found the experience of dealing with them nothing short of faultless. On the one occasion that it took a little longer than expected for a book I had ordered as a xmas gift to arrive I emailed and received a prompt reply letting me know that if the book had not arrived before 22 december I could get a refund or they would send another copy. Given how busy the mail systems are at xmas time around the world I felt it was a very gracious offer and beyond the usual level of customer service I have come to expect. The book in question arrived on the 21st! As I live in Australia I am often amazed that I can have a book delivered to my doorstep from the UK in as short a period as 3 working days and cheaper than I can get the same title at a discount department store – even with the A$ not as strong as it was. Big ups to the BD.

  15. My experience has been similar to others – poor. Ordered a book which was due to be published in 30 days. When it was supposed to be published/sent, checked my order status and it had still says ‘processing’.

    Emailed Book Depository, didn’t think too much about it, no response.

    Emailed again a few weeks later and was told that they had run out of stock because the publisher had not printed enough copies. Hard to believe when I ordered 30 days in advance of the publication.

    Offered a refund, or I could wait, but gave no indication as to when I might expect my book and have not responded to further queries.

    They have other copies of this title – which appear to be identifcal – at a much higher price.

    Deceptive business practices. Book despository sucks.

  16. After contacting the publisher, the excuse that they had not printed enough copies was revealed to be a lie. I was directed to the direct sales section of their website to purchase the book, which was offered at twice the price offered at Book Depository.

    I have emailed again and asked for explanation.

  17. I have had lots of problems – books going missing, books left with status “Processing” for weeks, even though they say they are usually dispatched in 24-48 hours. The worst part is a complete lack of response to emails by their customer service dept, and no phone number on their site.
    I have just emailed Kieron directly and we’ll see what happens.

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