Advantages No commitment to buy, no payment until receipt..
Disadvantages They make mistakes at times.
|Variety on offer|
|Purchase obligations||no obligation|
I have been a member of TSP (also known as The Softback Preview) for several years now. I joined sometime back in the mid 90s on an offer of 5 books for a £1 each with no further commitment ever.Although I've a few problems with TSP, they were soon sorted out.
Before I was on the internet all transactions were done through snail-mail and once or twice, I was sent the editors choice even though I had returned my letter rejecting it. After a quick phone call though, this was sorted out. They sent me a pre-paid posting label to return the unwanted book. Now I have registered my account on line, that problem no longer arises. Whenever I get their catalogue (which comes about once a month), I simply log into my account and reject the editor's choice on the site, if I do not want it. Sometimes, I order another book if I fancy it, but nine times out of ten, I don't want anything.If I don't buy anything at all for several months, I often get a letter offering free postage and packing or reduced prices to encourage me to order. Whether I order then depends on whether I want any books, because this is another benefit of this book club - you don't have to order anything if you don't want it.
I don't know whether the rules have changed or not since I joined back in the 90s, but there was no commitment EVER to buy a book you didn't want or purchase a minimum amount of books in your first year. But please check this out first if you are thinking of joining - the rules for new members may have been changed now.They have a fairly good choice of genres and one that I found particularly useful in the early days of using my PC was the computer books. I also acquired loads of books on writing. I know, there is only one way to learn to write and that is to simply write! But in the early days of my writing I was addicted to these books and if not very instructional, I found they got "putting pen to paper". I have also purchased some good history and philosophy books and some best sellers that they do seem to keep up to date with.
What I have noticed is that the quality of their books, nearly always paper-backs, are reasonably good and they even have some that are only available elsewhere in hardback for considerably more money.As with most book clubs, there is a tendency to purchase books that you normally wouldn't go out to buy. This could be a good thing if you really want to read what looks so good in the catalogue, or a bad thing is you are just being sold something on a whim - which I got to admit so often happens to me and the books sit on my shelves gathering dust. But I will get to read them sometime.
Postage costs are £3 (less a penny) per order, no matter how many books are sent. The time between order and delivery can be a little slow in my opinion, sometimes having waited 2 weeks after ordering on-line.I have always found the staff of the club very helpful and polite whether I have had telephone, letter or e-mail contact with them.
Apart from books TSP also sells DVD/Video, music, lifestyle products (like wine, gift ideas etc), and they've nearly always got special sales running. This is usually posted to you, but can also be viewed on the website.Books are sent with the bill that you can either settle by snail-mail or credit/debit card on their secure website at www.etsp.co.uk
Thanks for reading.Updated info. 22 May 05: Tekin21 has kindly informed me that they currently have on offer to new members joining 3 books for £1.
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