The Book Depository is based out of the United Kingdom but delivers books to customers around the world. Their headquarters are in Slough, UK, and they ship all of their books out of their office in Gloucester. Founded in 2004, this company has more than one million customers worldwide. They are a rapidly growing business.

Ultimately, the goal for the Book Depository is to make as many books as possible available to everyone. This is summed up by their slogan, “All books available to all.” Even for titles that are more difficult to find, they try their best to locate them for customers. For titles that aren’t necessarily available on their own site, they provide links to AbeBooks, an organization that specializes in providing books that are rare or hard to find. AbeBooks itself has titles from more than 13,500 sellers.

It’s obvious, then, that the Book Depository truly cares about giving people around the world access to whatever book they are trying to find. 

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The Good

  • A wide variety of book types
  • Online editorial reviews
  • Free shipping

The Book Depository has several qualities that are worthy of praise. They differ from many online bookstores that US customers use in that they are based in the United Kingdom. However, this doesn't make them any less of a reliable resource. They ship books to customers around the world and accept payment in a variety of currencies, including US dollars. Furthermore, the company has a very positive reputation and convenient features.

  • A wide variety of book types. One of the best things that this company has to offer is their selection of books-a crucial quality to consider for an online bookstore. The Book Depository offers a library that has more than 12 million books in 34 categories. Not only do the numbers speak; you can also get their books in whichever format you prefer: paperback, hardback, digital, or audio books. They also offer maps, baby books, and stationery for those who prefer that. Chances are that you will be able to find the title you want in a format that works best for you.
  • Online editorial reviews. Another perk to using this company's website is that it offers editorial reviews for many of the books that are in their library. Reviews like this can help you decide whether you would be interested in a book and what experienced editors think about it. This can help in your selection process. With such a wide variety of titles, the selection process can be overwhelming at an online bookstore. But like with many other choices, reviews from others can be a big help.
  • Free shipping. This company attracts many customers with the fact that they ship for free to more than 100 countries. The individual countries are listed on their website for customers' convenience. With online bookstores, one quality that can make or break your decision to buy is the cost of shipping. With this company, you don't need to worry about that as long as your country is on their list. And great news for US residents: the United States is on that list. Not only is the Book Depository widely available with an extensive library; the company puts customers first, trying their best to make helpful resources available and helping customers find the books they want.

The Bad

  • Do not offer memberships
  • No loyalty programs
  • No customer reviews

Despite the many advantages to shopping at the Book Depository, there are a few downsides that some customers might be disappointed about:

  • They do not offer memberships. There is not an option to purchase a membership with the Book Depository. Some customers would rather pay for a monthly or yearly subscription for services like this because they plan to make several purchases and a subscription can sometimes cost less in the long run. But this company doesn't offer anything like that, which means you just have to pay for individual orders every time. This is not a major deterrent for customers, but it can be an inconvenience.
  • There are no loyalty programs. Loyalty programs can be small or large offers that some companies will offer to customers who repeatedly give them business. To thank these customers for their loyalty, these companies will send out discounts, promotions, or similar offers that reward people for the business they continue to give. The Book Depository doesn't provide anything like this, unfortunately. Again, this won't necessarily deter customers from using their services, but it does mean that customers can't look forward to deals like they could with other bookstores.
  • They don't provide customer reviews. Perhaps a more important weakness that this company has is their lack of customer reviews on the website. Like editorial reviews, customer reviews can be extremely helpful in giving potential customers an idea of the condition of a book, whether or not it's a good read, and how fair the pricing of a title is. Customer reviews are very valuable for online services, so it would be really helpful if the Book Depository added a feature like this to their site. In the meantime, customers are left to make less-informed purchases and to rely only on editorial reviews (which can be less practical than customer reviews).In many ways, the weaknesses that this business has are not major. They will not necessarily make or break a customer's experience with purchasing books. However, they do signal services that are less convenient and less rewarding. In short, the Book Depository would do well to add a few customer-friendly features to their site to add perks and comfort to their experience.
  • The Bottom Line

    This company would be a great resource for a variety of customer needs. Not only do they offer an extensive library; they also have convenient shipping and return policies, and they have more than a decade of experience in the online bookstore industry.

    Customers who would appreciate the Book Depository are those who look for convenient and low-cost shipping, widespread availability, a wide variety of book formats and titles, and a company that has years of experience.

    For customers who prefer getting a membership with their bookstore or who enjoy using customer reviews for making purchases, the Book Depository won't be a great option. In addition, unlike many of its competitors, the Book Depository does not buy back books they sell. So for customers who want to purchase books they can then sell back, this company won't be a good fit either.

    Overall, the Book Depository has done an excellent job of establishing itself as a reliable company with strong, customer-friendly goals. For the right customer, they are sure to please.

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    User Reviews

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    jurgen cuschieri

    August 21st, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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    They are great, I've ordered 6 books so far they all seam mint and they offer free delivery which is a big plus. They're prices are better than retail so i like shopping from them, another good thing is they give you a free bookmark with every package. They're delivery isn't the best but it's free so i don't really care besides, in my experience all it takes is between 6-9 days which isn't bad. So yeah 5 stars.

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    Angry Iggy

    August 15th, 2018 St Louis, MO DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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    Book Depository sent me the wrong book and had clearly mixed up my order with another customer's; his label was visible beneath mine on the package. I've been trying for several weeks to get either the correct book or a refund, to no avail. Every time I ask whether the correct book has been sent, I enter the same customer service script where they tell me it was delivered; I explain that it was the wrong book; I answer a series of questions about the title I received, details of the order and the package, and my address; and they promise to send out a replacement, with no indication that they have done so yet. I've repeated this circus three times so far. I am giving up. The other book I ordered took nearly a month to arrive anyway, and while they blamed USPS, the problem actually seemed to be with their shipping contractor Liberty Express / On Demand Mail Services. Book Depository (now owned by Amazon) seems too much of a mess to bother with again. They also post fake five-star reviews on Trustpilot. Nasty company with bad-faith fake customer service; not the place I remember ordering books from in past years.

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    Eric

    March 21st, 2018 New Haven, CT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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    I'm living abroad this year and therefore have to supply both a billing address and a shipping address. Book Depository has a strange design in its website: by default it asks only for one's billing address, leaving shipping address as an option, which is duplicated from the billing address unless checked (contrary to standard practice of almost all online shopping sites which ask first for shipping address). As a result of this design issue, I made a mistake in having my order shipped to my billing address in the US instead of the correct shipping address abroad. I admit that part of this was a result of my not reading the website carefully but I also think book depository is at fault for designing the site against the norm. I negotiated with them to have the issue addressed. After almost 20 email exchanges, during which often I was given generic replies that did not acknowledge my special request (reshipment/refund + suggestion to correct their site design), I was finally contacted by a dispute resolution specialist (a supervisor) who basically told me that they would do nothing. See below. So in sum, Book Depository just blames their consumers without ever acknowledging their own partial fault. My recommendation: don't buy from them and save yourself from headaches. "This is Dani from Book Depository Resolutions team. I am afraid this is how our checkout process is designed to make it a quicker process for our customers. I do apologise that this caused an inconvenience to you. As there was an option during checkout to enter a different delivery address and this has already dispatched to the incorrect address, we cannot take any action until this item is returned. Please allow 5-10 weeks for this to be returned. Once we have received our daily returns they are immediately unpacked and uploaded on to our returns database. We can only recommend that you continue to contact us on a weekly basis to check when and if they are returned. We apologise that we cannot be of greater assistance at this stage and for any inconvenience caused. Kind Regards, Dani, Resolutions Specialist"

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    Cassie

    June 27th, 2017

    They claim 5-8 business days, but it's been 16. Forgot why I cancelled my first order through them. Good deals, garbage service and snail speed

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    Erin St Pierre

    June 9th, 2017

    I love the Book Depository, but books arrive damaged way too often.

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