I enjoy spending hours browsing through the various sections of local bookstores, reading tidbits of fiction and the odd bit of history, and losing track of time. However, I have found myself becoming a wretched traitor when it comes to actually purchasing the books.
I know that it is preferable to support locally owned bookstores, and indeed necessary to help them survive, but there is this hopelessly stingy student voice inside of me whispering “you could get that way cheaper online.” The Book Depository is one such site where you can buy cheap(er) books online, with the added incentive of free shipping worldwide.
The Book Depository was founded in 2004 and focuses on selling ‘less of more’ rather than ‘more of less’. This refers to an emphasis on selling a wide range of good quality books rather than focussing on high sales of your average bestseller. It does a roaring trade and has more than 2.5 million unique titles ready to be shipped, within 48 hours, from its fulfillment centre in Gloucester, United Kingdom.
Through its Dodo Press imprint, The Book Depository is re-printing rare and out-of-print books at a rate of more than one hundred each week. They are justified in being committed to this project, as at present there are only a few million titles in print despite there being more than 30 million titles ever printed in the English language.
Just to give you a glimpse of how much cheaper this site is for buying books, here is an example. The late David Foster Wallace’s unfinished novel The Pale King published just last month, demands a steep price in local bookstores, but online it’s half the price at around $25.
It is a bit worrying when the second most Google searched word in relation to The Book Depository is ‘scam’. Do not be alarmed though, the business is legit. This talk of scam is mainly bloggers getting antsy about the price variation between the .com and .co.uk URLs for the site. In saying that, do beware that the .com site is usually marginally cheaper so it is best to double check both sites before placing an order. David Sedaris’s Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim (2004 hardback edition) was four dollars cheaper on the .com site when I checked earlier in the week. It all sounds very nit-picky, but hey, we’re poor students with brains to feed.
Simply for the sake of furthering my meticulous scrutiny of the .com versus .co.uk site variation, I discovered that Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals (2006 paperback edition) was unavailable on the .com site, but was available for sale on the .co.uk site. ‘Tis strange. Another slight downer is the fact that the site does not have prices in New Zealand dollars, but the Australian dollar is close enough to act as a fairly accurate estimate of the cost.
Check out www.thebookdepository.co.uk for more information