The Sunday Salon: How The Book Depository thwarted my Booker reading plans

Each year after the Booker Prize longlist announcement, I admire all those who attempt to read all 13 titles before prize day.  It’s a challenge in its own right, but even more so for US-based readers.  Many of the nominees are not yet available in the US, and even fewer are available in paperback.  Nevertheless, I thought I might be able to get my hands on a few titles.  After all, The Book Depository saved the day once before.

But this time, The Book Depository let me down:

  • I placed my order the day after the longlist announcement.  2 of the 3 titles I wanted were out of stock.  Already!  Sheesh!  Disappointed, I ordered the 1 available title (The Betrayal).
  • 10 days later I received a refund notice.  The Book Depository was “unable to fulfil my order.”
  • On searching the site, I found The Betrayal was still available, but the price was $4 (27%) higher than when I placed my order!  I was stunned that they would cancel the order, forcing me to pay more if I want the book.
  • To add insult to injury, I’d used a 10% discount coupon on my order.  If I ordered the higher-priced book, I wouldn’t get the discount.
  • I sent an email to The Book Depository describing the situation.  To their credit, they offered to refund me the difference, including the 10% discount, if I ordered the higher-priced book.  But when I attempted to do so — less than 2 hours after receiving their message — the book was out of stock!

I am absolutely fed up.  I guess I’ll just wait for availability on this side of the pond.  Those of you lucky enough to get your hands on longlisted books, start reading!  I’ll be here, lapping up your reviews.


Read more from The Sunday Salon here.

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8 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: How The Book Depository thwarted my Booker reading plans

  1. That’s too bad you had such a frustrating experience! I am using The Book Depository for the first time to get my hand on some of the longlisted books. I hope I don’t run into too many problems.

  2. Maybe I should set up a mail-order service? I could pop down to the local bookshop and buy the paperbacks ‘2 for 3’ (maybe not the newest ones) and ship them off… I think the shipping is probably nearly as costly as the book itself. Of course, they’d be the British versions.

    It sounds like there’s some demand!

  3. I’m shocked that they let you down so badly. I’d have thought they’d be able to source those books as they are readily available in the UK. I hope you manage to get your hands on them soon.

  4. Yes, it was very frustrating, and disappointing since The Book Depository has such a good reputation. Fortunately I’m not lacking for reading material, but still …

    Well thanks everyone for commiserating with me!

  5. I’m sorry that they let you down :(.

    It seems prizes fluctuate a lot, I recently held a giveaway and ended up spending 12 euro on each participant because the books went up in prize or were simply more expensive in Europe. I wonder how that works exactly. But it is ridiculous that they would cancel and make you pay more, I don’t think they are allowed to? But, I’m no lawyer so what do I know?

  6. How frustrating, Laura. I sympathise although I’m not entirely surprised, having had some disappointing experiences with the Book Depository in the past (I still use them but not exclusively and not when I want something in a hurry).

    I know that a couple of years ago the Book Depository used a large London-based bookshop (I’m not sure if it was the only one) to source their books; if they still operate under those conditions -although they are a much bigger company now and you would imagine would use same suppliers- then it explains how they could sell out so quickly (to be fair, I even noticed that Amazon were out-of-stock of a couple) and also how slow they are to dispatch books. Still not professional though.

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