I’m a true online shopper.
I buy a lot of items online, be it clothes, makeups, phone case, bags, shoes (yes even shoes), and obviously BOOKS ♥ have I ever been conned? Yes I have. I lost over Rp 150k for a laptop case I never received and received a few items that didn’t look at all like the advertisement pictures. But other than that, my online shopping experience has been pretty great! 😀
I know a lot of you are already super familiar with buying books online, but I also know some friends and bloggers who are still wary of online shopping, especially when the items are being shipped from abroad. But I tell you, especially my fellow Indonesians, you are missing a lot on not willing to try buying books online, because the stock in our country is a bit LOL. I personally wouldn’t have had as many books as I do if not for online shopping 🙂
So here are some pros, cons, and tips for buying books online based on my own experience ♥
1) They have more stocks.
It is common knowledge that online stores always have more stocks than their offline counterparts. Online stores aren’t limited by physical space, so they can store the infinite amount of books you could choose from. Also, most online book stores mention the amount of stocks for each book, so you know whether the book you want to buy are in low stocks or not. Therefore you know whether to buy the books immediately or not.
No more going to the bookstore only to discover the book you want to buy is out of stock 😛 I mean… I guess you could call local bookstore to find out if they have certain books, but who does that? Not me apparently.
2) It’s cheaper!
Books from online stores are always cheaper because online stores don’t need to pay rent and every other things offline stores need. And it’s not just slightly cheaper, but wayyyy cheaper. P.S. I Still Love You is 200k at my nearest bookstore. It is 150k at our local online store and it’s 97k at Book Depository. This reason alone should have made online shopping a lot more tempting because we all know collecting books isn’t a cheap hobby 😛
They also have more discounts and they e-mail you when prices drop or there’s a big sale! ♦ There’s shipping cost, but it’s usually not very expensive and the overall cost is still cheaper than if you buy books offline. Unless you pay for shipping from abroad, and that’s the real deal breaker </3
3) It’s so much easier ♦
When you’re online shopping, everything is just a click away. You browse for books, put them on your cart, check out, select payment option and shipping address, and you’re done. It’s so much more convenient than having to make the commute to the bookstore. I mean, you have to dress up, ride a public transportation or drive (which requires gas money and energy), and make the commute back home. It’s too much work. Why go through so much hassle when you could do it at home at midnight? 😛
4) Allow more access for anyone living anywhere
I live in Bogor, a pretty big city 40 minutes away from the capital Jakarta, but do you know how many bookstores sell imported books? ONE. It’s located in a big mall that is so crowded and it’s not even that complete. Online stores make my life so much easier (and happier). The books are being delivered to my doorstep and the shipping cost is less than half the amount of money required for me to personally make the trip to Jakarta. And everyone from every other city could also do this as long as they’re willing to pay for the shipping cost.
There’s also TBD that ships worldwide for free, allowing me to buy books that are not available in my country. Though I’m sad to know that not all countries have the privillege </3
5) Receiving book mail = the best feeling ever ♥
It’s always a good surprise to come home to a book mail waiting at your table. Or when a mail man knocks at your door to deliver your package. I always get over excited and have to suppress my enthusiasm before I greet the man 😛
1) Wrong size & edition
The sad, sad truth from online shopping is that it’s hard to know for sure what size or edition your books are in. Sure they have a cover on display, but they sometimes also say that ‘the cover image may be different due to new cover’. Some online store provided the info of the book dimensions but I NEVER remember to check it! >.< So sometimes the books come as huge and some other times they are super tiny that no wonder they’re so cheap :’)
2) Books arrived damaged
Sadly this thing happens quite a lot. My copy of The Unbound arrived with the corners wrinkled, some of my TBD bookmarks are folded, and my copy of The Serpent King arrived with the seal broken. It’s the true horror… you’ll never know what happened and there’s nothing you could do but accept it.
3) Shipping takes 400 years
Even when you order books from local online store, most of them always take a long time to ship! It’s so frustrating because who patiently waits for their book mail? Not me, I’m impatient >.< but it’s even worse when you order book from abroad, they usually take around 3 weeks to ship to my country. But good news, all my TBD orders from last month arrived in less than 3 weeks! Either I got lucky or they indeed have improved their shipping time ♥
4) You need credit card or paypal
You can’t pay with cash money. It’s not generally a bad thing, but some people, especially younger bookworms, don’t have credit card or paypal yet. Local online stores usually accept bank transfer, but most stores like TBD only accept credit cards and paypal. I have three joined credit cards with my parents and if anyone needs tips on how to use joined CC without your parents realizing how much you actually spend, call me 😛
5) It takes a lot of trust
Which I think is the main reason why people are still wary of online shopping. I mean, there’s a risk of fraud, the possibility of your packages getting lost in the mail, and returns & cancellations are more costly. But all these risks could be minimized if you know where to shop, which brings us to the tips below! 😀
- Find a store you could really trust. Do not ever buy things online from untrusworthy store or seller. If you do this, you bring it on yourself. Make sure to look it up on google, read the customers reviews, etc. OHH and make sure you have a way to contact them, e-mail, customer chat, etc.
- Find out as many as you can about it. Not only to see whether it is trusted, but to know where they ship the book from, shipping costs, shipping time, etc. I once tried to order books from a local online store and turned out they ship the book from Canada and shipping time takes 50 days. I cancelled and never order from said store anymore.
- Be specific with your address and contact numbers. This is important to make sure you don’t lose your mail.
- Some legit online stores to try :
- The Book Depository. It’s super legit and free shipping worldwide! 😛 also, their customer service is SO GOOD they’ll answer every question you have quickly. One time my order was missing and they sent another copy, and if (God forbid) the second package is also missing, they will refund your money. I’ve experienced both.
- Amazon, if they ship to you at a reasonable price. I mean, who doesn’t know Amazon? The shipping cost to my country is insane, but I buy ebooks from there so I know it’s legit 😉
- Book Outlet. I personally never try it myself because they don’t ship to Indonesia (which I’m furious about because they ship to Papua New Guniea but not to Indonesia!!?). Buuuut I heard a lot of book bloggers use it and it’s trusted. Also the price is downright cheap! You have to pay for shipping, but I heard it’s not as expensive?
- Indonesia-based online stores for my fellow Indonesian bookworms 😀 my top choices are Books & Beyond, Periplus, and Open Trolley. I’ve explained the pros and cons in this post ♦
These are some my pros, cons, and tips on buying book online! Are you a frequent online shopper as well? Are there any pros and cons that I missed? Also, what is your favorite online store? I only know a few because not many affordable store ships to my country, but I’m totally open for some inputs! If you know other recommended stores, please tell me on the comments so we could help out fellow bookworms! ♥
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