Here are the results (total votes: 26)
65% (17 votes) I never heard about this before
3% (1 vote) That's kind of hard to believe
11% (3 votes) I heard about it somewhere
19% (5 votes) That's old news to me and I was actually confronted with this "problem" before
I did not vote on the survey myself, but after reading the rest of this blog post you will all know which answer I would have chosen. And you all will be a little wiser by the end of the post too. But let's start at the beginning ...
I guess it's safe to say that, by now, pretty much every book blogger, and all those book blog readers out there, have at least heard about The Book Depository. Especially when it comes to making giveaways international it comes in handy that TBD offers free delivery to many countries worldwide. And this is exactly the reason why and how I came to realize something others might, or mightn't, be aware of.
Recently I won a book of choice in a giveaway. I told the host of the giveaway which book I wanted and I felt even a little proud of myself for not totally maxing out my $11,00 limit by picking a book that cost about $2,00 less. Imagine my surprise when I got the ok for the book, which by the way, costs roughly $11,00. At first I thought this might have to do with ordering the book fom the .com site instead of the .uk site, but no. Then I received the book and it turned out it wasn't the paperback but the hardcover which I never even considered requesting as the price would have exceeded my $ limit by far. Still we are back to totally different prices because this $11,00 book showed up as almost $17,00 for me.
Then I participated in a Giveaway Hop, giving away books of choice worth up to $10,00, and when the first winner got back to me, sending along the link to the book she wanted, lo and behold, the book showed up under $10,00 for her while the screen greeted me with a price of $14,00.
Don't believe me? Just read on.
This is the screenshot of the book made myself on June 28th (you will notice that it mentions free shipping to Austria - where I live - which proves that I made the screenshot here, in Austria).
This is the screenshot of the book made by my friend Amy on June 28th (you will notice that it mentions free shipping to the US, where Amy lives).
Take a good look at both screenshots and then tell me what's ... uhm ... different.
The price! Exactly!!
The price! Exactly!!
Apart from the fact that prices may differ on the .com and .uk sites (don't ask me why, maybe this is some kind of promotional thing were certain books are offered at a discount on one site or the other) the real mystery is that I get to see a totally different price of a book than someone else will see on the same site. Hmmm ...
Taking this into account it can only mean one thing - it depends on where you are located what kind of prices will pop up on the screen. Usually a commercial site will adjust prices according to the delivery address you enter. Not so in this case. TBD evidently depends on your IP address and if it screams UK you'll get a whole different price for your books than you'd get when ordering from, say, Australia. Things start getting really interesting when you consider that ordering from the UK and sending something to Australia (again) will be cheapter than ordering something from Australia and have it sent to someone in the UK. You get the idea.
Surprised? I was. At least at first. Then it made perfect sense. How else would they be able to do the worldwide-free-delivery thing? Of course the cost for delivery is included in the price for a book and just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it's not there. Now you might wonder, why in the case of gifting a book to someone in a different country prices won't be adjusted during check-out.
Well, look at it from this side - everyone would soon find out that some are more equal than others. This would make the whole thing just plain obvious, wouldn't it?
When I asked for your votes on the survey a handfull of readers left feedback and gave some interesting input to the matter. There's been mentioned the possibility of a warehouse in the US which might explain why prices for the US are that much cheaper than prices for mainland Europe. Yet an US reader commented they had received their order directly from the UK. Another interesting comment was that maybe VAT had to do with the different prices, but then again TBD only applies VAT within the EU, and even if it were applicable I don't see how $9,49 plus 10% VAT for Austria could total $13,59.
So, to get back to that little survey. Only few knew about this pricing tactic of TBD, a few have heard about it somewhere, one person didn't really believe my claim, and most votes show that people have never before heard about it. Admittedly the only way to actually notice this is when you want to gift a book to someone in another country and have a limit of how much to spend. I guess TBD never considered book bloggers and their giveaways to expose them *lol*.
Bottom line is that I still consider TBD an awesome source to buy and especially to gift books. Prices are often unbeatable compared to other online shops and even with this "fluctuations" in pricing you still get a good deal at the end of the day. Well, alright, maybe not in the case of the above mentioned winner who then received an Amazon GC instead *sigh*.
What's your opinion on this issue?
Let me know!