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The Book People
I first happened upon the book people at work. They had left a selection of cheap, yet good quality books, along with the web address, and I placed my first order. I thought that this was a book club, where you get your first few books for a very reasonable price and then read the small print and find you are tied in for the next few years. I was wrong.
~~ What is The Book People? ~~
The Book People claim to be one of the 'nation's largest suppliers of books' but unlike a book shop they do not stock a complete range of books, instead they have a good range of books all at a discounted price. Their claim is that the savings are at least 50% off publisher's prices, although most of the books that I have purchased have been even cheaper than that.
The Book People are not a substitute for a good bookshop. They do not stock a full range of books, and you are not able to order specific titles. However as long as you bear that in mind you can get brilliant bargains!
The Book People is a no obligation organisation, so you can place one order and that's it, or you can keep going back for more books. There is no minimum order and it is relatively easy to register with them.
Most of the books are printed by the publisher however some are printed by Ted Smart. These tend to be as good quality, but they do have an advert for the Book People printed on them, so they are not always as great for presents (People know you have bought cheap books!)
There is a reward scheme for regular buyers, which allows you to collect points for free books.
~~ How do I register with The Book People? ~~
Registering on the internet is straightforward. You need to give your email address, home address, phone number, and you need to choose a pass word. At this stage you are able to fill in a short profile so that your emails will be tailored to your book preferences e.g. children's books, special offers. I clicked the lot because sometimes books that wouldn't necessarily be in particular interest range might be suitable as gifts for other people.
You can also opt to receive mailings from the book people. I clicked yes to this too. A colour magazine then arrives each month with a selected range of book people offers.
~~ The Website ~~
The website has been designed in a fairly vivid shade of blue and is not the most restful on the eyes. The links down the left hand side of the website take you to different book categories such as Bestsellers, Children's Fiction, Non fiction, and Book Ends. There is also a seasonal category, so at the time of writing there is a link to Easter books. Book Ends are the last remaining books of a certain title, so you really do take pot luck here, and have to order quickly before they go out of stock. These books do tend to be more heavily discounted. The lifestyle category of books includes a food and drink section with recipe books by famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Sophie Grigson, and wine books by Oz Clarke. There is a travel selection, but at the moment this is full of map books and AA Guides to Britain. The diet selection has GI diets, and wellbeing books amongst others. The Home and Leisure category has books on Sports, house and garden crafts and a new section called As Seen on TV, which has books like 'It's me or the Dog, Antiques Roadshow, Jamie's Italy, The Office Script Book and Planet Earth.'
On the home page the current offer is also shown, this is normally an offer related to postage and packing, but can also be related to a sale that they are having. Also on the home page are featured books. Again at the time of writing there is an offer of 50% off all Richard and Judy book club titles, and a set of 10 Oxford Reading Books for £9.99 (save £30). Also featured is the Sporting Heroes 6 book pack, with the autobiographies of the likes of Vinnie Jones and Gazza for £9.99 (save £33.95)
The website changes frequently and I have it on my favourites, and flick to it every so often to see if there is anything appealing.
The Website is easy to navigate and the links usually work well. However I sometimes find that it takes a while to add a book to your basket, and I do have broadband.
Luckily the website also has a good help desk, and a link to the phone number of a real life person, who (in my experience) has always been courteous and helpful. They are even patient when you manage to loose your customer order number.
~~ Ordering books ~~
Ordering books on the website is easy. First you have to log in. Then you simply click on the book that you want, and add it to your basket. There is a drop down list so that you can easily change the quantity of books that you wish to order. Once in your basket, you can easily remove or change the quantity of books you wish to order. The basket will also show you if you have qualified for a free gift. At the moment you get a free 10 book set with orders over £30, and at Christmas there is normally a free diary offer.
~~ Postage and Package ~~
Standard delivery within the UK is quoted at £3.50 for a 5-7 working day delivery time. I have never paid this, as there is always an offer on postage. Normally postage is free when you spend £25 or more. Having said that, although most books arrive within 5-7 days, my last order took nearly two weeks and the one before that was here in 3 days!
The next day UK delivery is £5.95. It is for orders placed before 12pm. I have not used this service to be able to comment on reliability. There is a concessionary rate for OAP's, registered disabled, registered childminders, and registered carers.
You are able to track your order online, but this simply tells you whether your order has been despatched, and the easiest way to chase an overdue order is by calling the customer service team.
The books are usually well packed with a minimum of packaging material, and it is easy to return any damaged or unwanted items.
~~ My Account ~~
Once you have registered with The Book People, you are sent an account number, and each time you order books you accrue book points. You tend to get one book point for each whole pound spent on a book, so if a book costs £3.99 you get 3 points. Once you have collected 75 book points, you can claim a £2.99 book for free. This rises to a maximum of 250 book points which gets you a £9.99 book for free!
~~ Payment ~~
The Book People now take a range of cards, Solo, Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and Delta. They do not take Switch. If ordering by post, which there is a link to on the website, you can also pay by cheque or postal order.
~~ Other Information ~~
When you click on a book there is information on the size, whether it is hard or paper back, and the number of pages. You also find out how many book points you earn by buying the book, and how many book points it would cost to buy the book. Furthermore there are also suggestions of other books that you may like, often by the same author.
The search facilty is not at all kind to people who can't spell, or lazy typists like me. I spelt Shakespeare without an 'a' and it came back with no matches, even though I knew that there were Shakespeare books available to order.
The range of books is constantly changing and you may find that you have to pop back a few times before finding a selection of books that takes your eye, but once you do you will find that it is worth the bother!
My last order came to £29.95 for £127.77 worth of books, saving a total of £97.82! I got such delights as Jamie's Italy and Usbourne Internet linked French and Shakespeare for kids. Bargain!
I love the book people they have a wide variation of books most of the books i have in my home were bought from them i even got books from them to help me with my studies for college and i am pleased with the service and quality they provided well worth the E - Donna
hewks 05.10.2006 18:45
They do sound good, I'm sure they go to my sons nursery! Great review, loads of info and detail xx
Hezoid 30.08.2006 20:12
Sounds great, i'll have to try this out as an alternative to Amazon!