Tips when purchasing a book online

Many many moons ago, I used to purchase books from Amazon.  Finland customers were offered the “Free postage if your purchase is over 25€” deal, which led those of us in Finland to be loyal customers to Amazon.  Then one day, out of nowhere, Amazon removed the deal.  Now Finland customers pay extreme amounts of money for the smallest of purchases.  It showed us that loyalty is a one way street and, as a result, most Finns refuse to purchase ANYTHING from Amazon any more unless it is an eBook.

Luckily, soon after this occurred, I discovered the Book Depository.  Their books are below retail cost and the postage, regardless of where you live in the world, is always the same:  FREE!  For years now, I remain a loyal customer of Book Depository.

Most recently, however, I needed a book which they were unable to acquire, titled “Motorcycle Sign Language” and, as a motorcycle rider who is Deaf, I was determined to buy it so that I could sign to my husband during a ride.  Only one place supplied this book:  Alibris.  I was excited when I found the book, but a little hesitant to buy as the book’s page supplied no details except for the book’s title.  The postage cost of 16€ alone gave me reason for pause.  But I figured that it must be a big book, so I went ahead and paid.  Over one month later, an envelope the size and weight of a letter arrived.  When I opened the envelope, it was my “book” – and I use the term “book” very loosely.  It was the thickness and weight of a drink coaster.  After just one purchase, I decided I would not be purchasing from this seller again.

For those who wish to buy books online, I urge you to look for a few things before you hit that “BUY NOW” button and commit.

  1. Details:  The title, price and author’s name is not enough.  If you are buying a book, you most definitely need to know more about the condition the book is in, whether new or not.  Even new books end up with dust, scratches and shelf wear.
  2. Synopsis:  If the seller is unable to tell you what the book is about – even if they have to type it from the back cover – then the seller is not one that would be reputable.
  3. Picture:  Look to see if there is a picture of the book itself, rather than a picture of somebody else’s watermarked photo or no picture at all.
  4. Extras:  If you are paying postage, make sure you know what that postage is covering – weight of the book, size/dimensions, how many pages are a must!

If you are shopping online, remember that YOU are the one who is parting with your money for the product.  Ensure that you get value for money – not just for the book itself but for the postage costs also.

These places rely on their customers to survive.  If you tolerate shoddy salesmanship, they will not be given incentive to improve on their service.  As a reader and customer, you deserve the best deal for your dollar.  As such, make sure you are treated like the VALUED customer that you are.  Do your homework and you will not be a disappointed customer when your book arrives.

happy reader

As an author and a connoisseur of quality books, I hope you enjoy your future reading experiences without any hassles or let-downs.  Happy reading!

– Rosie xx


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