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.
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.
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. While the company doesn’t have a rating from the Better Business Bureau, it does have a positive reputation.
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.