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May 23, 2011 | by  | in Books | [ssba]

The Book Depository

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 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 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 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.

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Comments (17)

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  1. Hester Casey says:

    I discovered Book Depository as a student – very often it had text books that weren’t available on Amazon and were way cheaper than high street booksellers. I’ve have only praise for this service. Just about to log on in search of a book on photography. I’ll probably buy more than the title I have in mind, simply because of the choice they offer. And free shipping is always good – you can see what the total is going to be right up front.

  2. Thorsten says:

    Thanks for this information. I’m quite puzzled over this site. My first order arrived from the site arrived promptly, but now I’am actually waiting for three orders that have been delayed up to two months! When I complained they answered within a day and told me they would send the books out again, but nothing arrived so far… Hm. Did you experience similar delays?

  3. Zara says:

    Hi Thorsten,

    I’m very sorry to hear of such long delays to your orders. Could you email us the order reference numbers to and we’ll look into this further for you?

    Many Thanks

    Customer Advisor
    The Book Depository

  4. smackdown says:

    dear the book depository

    i like books theyre a good read

    when im reading harry potter i feel all sorts of things. why is that???

    could i be in love…. with ahrry potter

  5. Electrum Stardust says:

    Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who lived in his hobbit-hole and never went for adventures, at last Gandalf the wizard and his dwarves perswaded him to go. He had a very exiting time fighting goblins and wargs. At last they got to the lonely mountain; Smaug, the dragon who gawreds it is killed and after and after a terrific battle with the goblins he returned home – rich!
    This book, with the help of maps, does not need any illustrations, it is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9.”

  6. Electrum Stardust says:

    P.S. Never mind the “Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement” in above link…
    … For “very exiting time” see this instead.

  7. Electrum Stardust says:


    ‘The Filter Bubble: […] News of the World’:

    ” But his wisdom failed; and I fear that as the period of his realm grew he looked in the Stone and was deceived: more than once, I guess, since Boromir departed. Though he was too great to be subdued to the will of the Dark Power, he saw nonetheless only those things which that Power permitted him to see. The knowledge which he obtained was, doubtless, often of service to him; yet the vision of the great might of Mordor that was shown to him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew his mind. “

    What if Big Brother is actually working hand in glove with Big Business? What if Big Brother is Big Business?

    Worse, what if we now “LIKE” BB/BB?

    “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. “

  8. Electrum Stardust says:


    Join the Rebel Alliance. Resist the Galactic Empire. Support your homegrown, locally owned, organic media!

  9. Axiomatic says:

    The Book Depository operates a scam between its 2 websites. It works this way:
    – you log on to the main (cheaper) site at
    – you are attracted by the supposed discount coupons on offer
    – in accessing the discount, you are unknowingly redirected to the site (which looks the same) where the additional price margin is double the “discount” you think you are getting.
    – BEWARE!

  10. smackdown says:

    no ur username sounds like rat poison get outta here scabbers

  11. Des says:

    To the people who say support local businesses I say
    “spend $162 on course book(Vic books) or spend £48.56($91.60 nzd).
    Plus with re-sale you won’t exactly lose money on the uk version.

  12. gloopy says:

    The internet is ruining these old good bookstores :( people now have the Amazon kindle and don’t have to leave there home. Where is the fun in that ???

  13. Electrum Greenstone says:

    “[C]ulpability should be treated as relevant only to the question of the public interest defence, because only in this context can it be appropriately focussed and the evidential burden properly assigned. Although some overlap between the two is often possible, generally the element of reasonable expectation of privacy in any case investigates the character of the material, while the public interest defence allows a defendant to put forward the reasons why that character should not attract protection of the law in that case. ” [emphases added]


    ” The conversation about the place of public interest in the New Zealand privacy tort has in fact barely begun to take place. The public interest question, where the clash between freedom of expression and privacy is always engaged, is probably the most difficult aspect of privacy for the courts, and the emerging jurisprudence is tentative. ”

    X X X

    PUBLIC? (Ultimate public figures: prime minister; MP candidates)
    INTEREST? (Ultimate interest: general elections essential to New Zealand’s representative democracy)
    DEFENCE? (Ultimate media publicity: media publicity not only tolerated/invited but was indisputably the entire point of the ‘tea party’)

    —- The above does not take into account the possibility that the whole thing was, in fact, a precisely-engineered conspiracy.

    —- Just in case anyone forgets: There was often much more ‘tactical voting’ under a non-representative voting system like FPP, simply because many voters who would have preferred a 3rd-, 4th-, 5th- … -party candidate were forced to vote for a larger party instead just to shut out ‘the other’ large party candidate– otherwise their votes wouldn’t count at all.

  14. swagger says:

    I just went to order two books from the .com webpage. It put me to the checkout page where I entered my credit card info and now it shows me an error message and will not even return to the last page to resubmit or take out my info. I highly recommend NOT ordering from them if this is what happens because not only do I not have my textbooks ordered now, but also my credit card info has somehow disappeared in their fraudulent system. PLEASE AVOID USING BOOK DEPOSITORY!

  15. Fairooz says:

    I ordered 5 books from the .uk site and they all arrived promptly and in great condition. No complaints here.

  16. Cindy says:

    Have been buying books from Book Depository for a few years now, and no complaints here either…

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