I’m sure most book lovers know what Book Depository is, but if you’re like me and have only recently discovered this beautiful gem, then let me tell you a little about BD. Book Depository is an online bookstore that offers free shipping. Yes, folks, you read that right. Free shipping!!! And guess what, they offer free shipping to the Philippines, too!
In Book Depository, some of the books are cheaper than in your local stores, and most titles are available. Some books are more expensive than when you purchase them on Amazon, but if you consider shipping, BD is still cheaper! Still, don’t forget to check your local bookstores to see if the book you want is available (and if its cheaper).
The books are sent individually, so if you ordered multiple books, expect multiple packages just like in the gif above. I ordered three books, so I received three packages.
I have never tried Book Depository before because I feared I might lose my books in the mail abyss (or g*d forbid, the Philippine customs!). So, I spent the last few months staring longingly at the books in BD and promised myself one day, ONE DAY, I’ll buy the books I want.
Now that I finally have my new babies, my fears were all for naught. I’m sure some of you have the same dilemma as I did, so I’ll try my best to appease your concerns.
1. Credit card
This was the main reason I didn’t purchase anything from Book Depository until today. I didn’t have a credit card. I was too shy to ask my mom for her credit card, and I didn’t think I had the self-control to own one.
Most, if not all, international sites such as Book Depository only accept credit cards, debit cards, and Paypal as payment methods. If you have none of the above, then well, you can’t order anything.
If you didn’t have a credit card, how were you able to order? Virtual credit cards, my dear friends, is the way of the future. For my Filipino friends, there are currently two services that I know of.
First is Globe Telecom’s GCash American Express prepaid virtual card. To obtain one, you’ll need a GCash account, an e-mail address, and a valid ID to confirm/validate your account. This one is optional, but if you want to transfer money to your GCash account easily, it would be good to have a bank account connected to your GCash.
What’s good about GCash Amex is you’ll also be given a personalized US address (c/o My Shopping Box). So, if you need/want to order anything online and they only offer shipping in the US, the US address is helpful.
More information on GCash Amex and My Shopping Box here.
Second is Paymaya. According to their website, “Paymaya is a free app that allows anyone to shop online even without a credit card. Just download the app, load up, and shop!” I believe Paymaya is in partnership with Smart Communications, but not to worry, you may get Paymaya regardless of your mobile network. I’m a Globe subscriber, but I registered without a hitch.
More information on Paymaya and how to activate your virtual Visa card here.
The main difference between GCash Amex and Paymaya is that GCash is in partnership with American Express while Paymaya is with Visa. I have to admit though, I find it easier to reload my GCash because my bank account is already connected to it. I just have to transfer money from bank to GCash, et voilà! Reloaded.
Tip: I never had a problem with either cards, but if your card does not work on BD, try linking it with Paypal and use that instead.
What if the books never find their way to me? If you’ve never ordered online before, this might have entered your mind once or twice.
In Book Depository, books are either dispatched from the UK or Australia. The book’s ETA depends on where you’re from. In my case, I considered PH to be in the “All other countries” category since it wasn’t specified in the other available categories. According to their site, if the book is dispatched from the UK, the books you’ve ordered is estimated to arrive 7-10 business days after dispatch.
If the book is dispatched from Australia, the books are estimated to arrive 10-14 business days after dispatch.
For example, one of the books I’ve ordered is Chasing Lady Amelia (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #2) by Maya Rodale. In this photo, you can see that the book is dispatched from the UK. Following the logic above, if I order this book, I’ll wait 7-10 business days after dispatch for my books to arrive.
I ordered my books on June 15th, and received an e-mail that it was dispatched on the 17th. Since the 17th is a Friday, I started my count on the 20th, a Monday. ETA should be July 1st, but I have to warn you now that the postal system in the country isn’t up to par with other countries. My books did not arrive until July 22nd, a good 15 business days overdue. Since they don’t have a tracking number, you’ll have no idea where your books are until you actually receive them. You’ll only know when it’ll be dispatched; after that, it’s a guessing game.
It was pretty nerve-wrecking when July 1st arrived and the books didn’t. I pretty much annoyed the guards at the lobby because I kept asking them if a package arrived.
Just make sure the address you’ve placed in your order is correct (double check your postal codes, friends!), and you’ll be safe. If the book you ordered hasn’t arrived after a month, then you may send Book Depository a tweet (@BD_help) or e-mail them at support. In the event the book is lost, BD will either send you a new copy of the books you’ve ordered or have the orders refunded (your choice).
3. Additional Charges
This category won’t be as long as the first two because there are no additional charges. All you have to pay for are the books! In my first purchase, I ordered three books: Lady Bridget’s Diary (7.97USD) and Chasing Lady Amelia (7.72USD) both by Maya Rodale, and Rusty-Nailed by Alice Clayton (9.38USD). I paid a total of 25.07USD (approximately 1,200PHP). No more, no less.
So, will I order again? I already have. Haha.
If you’re still feeling apprehensive but still want to try it, try ordering just one book first. If you don’t experience any problems, then buy away!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.
Now, I’ll just leave a gif of my books dancing around.