Advantages Gosh-darned cheap, small but comprehensive selection, excellent customer service.
Disadvantages Headache-inducing website colours, not all special offers available online.
● Set of ten books by John Steinbeck in Penguin Classics at £9.99. The published price for these books is a whopping £77.90. (Well, I needed them: my old ones are rather dog-eared).
Today, my parcel from thebookpeople was rather a good one. It contained:
● Stanley Yelnat's Guide to Camp Green Lake by Louis Sachar at £1.99. The published price of this is £4.99 and I've not seen it at less anywhere on the High Street. (If you've read Holes by Sachar, you'll know this is a must. If you've not, why've you not?!)● Norwegian Wood the two book novel by Murakami that comes in boxed form. Its list price is £15.00 but I'm paying only £5.99. (Yes, yes, I know: I should have read it already. I haven't. So there).
● Set of eight John Grisham novels at £9.99 instead of £55.92. (Not my bag at all, but I needed to donate a prize for the village skateboard park (!) fund).● Slipcased set of three hardbacked children's novels, all prizewinners, including a William Nicholson and Kensuke's Kingdom – beautiful book – by Michael Morpugo. I'm paying £6.98 but according to the publishers I should be paying £32.97.
I've spent thirty-five quid and received books worth almost two hundred quid. And you know what? I didn't pay for postage; thebookpeople did that for me because I spent over thirty pounds! Amazing! Even better, I've managed to scoop a total of thirty of their loyalty scheme's book points. I'm saving those up until I get to one hundred, at which point I shall choose a book from the list kindly provided (up to £6.99 at their rock-bottom prices) and I shan't pay for that at all. Wondrous!I've been using thebookpeople for over ten years, firstly through their monthly mail order catalogue, but for the last few years, via their website. I dislike Real Life Shopping intensely – although I'm prepared to make an exception for books – and if something's available online, then I'm there like a flash. And thebookpeople are no exception. Their little home in cyberspace is um… well… garish. It's VERY bright – lots of primary reds and blues. This kind of inyerface design is really not my bag. I like relaxing white space and plenty of it. But for prices such as these, I'll run the risk of a headache. It's a nice easy site both to browse and purchase. Links to the various categories of books run down a left-hand margin on each page. Access to account details, help pages and shopping baskets runs along a horizontal menu at the top. Everything's accessible in pretty much one or two clicks. The homepage, for some reason, seems to take an age to load, but don't be downcast, for the rest of the site is fine. Registration is very easy too, and confirmed by email. You can search the site by author, title, or catalogue number, but I'd say this is largely pointless given the small size of the range and the speed of the site. Still, it's there if you need it.
Although they will mostly carry something for everyone who likes books – the subcategories include bestselling fiction, classic fiction, children's fiction, biographies, lifestyle, cookery, reference, audio books – thebookpeople are not a substitute for Amazon, WH Smith, or whichever is your chosen internet book retailer.
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