Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I've recently discovered The Book Depository, a remarkable boon for anyone who a) lives in Australia and b) reads the occasional book. It's an online book store based in England, and their big gimmick is worldwide free delivery. This means that you only pay the cover price when you buy a book from them.

This wouldn't be all that exciting if books were not outrageously over-priced in Australia. Take Max Brooks' cult zombie novel 'World War Z'. It's $18 in England, and $32 in Australia. It's the same edition (that's how I know that it's 9 pounds - it's printed on the back cover) but for some reason it costs $14 more to put each copy on the shelf in Australia.

With savings like that, I'm wondering why I'd ever enter an Australian bookstore again. I've used The Book Depository twice already, and each time the book has arrived within a week. The first time I bought a copy of Claire Messud's exquistely crafted novel 'The Emperor's Children' for my sister's birthday. At $28, the hardback English copy was less than the price of the local paperback... which is out of print here anyway. The second time I bought the first two installments of Joss Whedon's new Buffy the Vampire Slayer graphic novel for my other sister's birthday. $17.50 each at The Book Depository, $27 each at Borders here.

The only downside to buying books in this way, besides having to wait a few days for delivery, is the delivery itself. The postman delivered 'The Emperor's Children' right on schedule but, discovering that the package didn't fit in the mailbox slot in my garden wall, he simply lobbed it through a gap in the gate into a flower bed. When I got home from work eight hours later, after a storm had swept through the city and lashed it with heavy rain, I found the sodden package already disintegrating into cardboard mush. The book was waterstained but salvagable, with the dust jacket puckered and split slightly on one edge.

I can see that I'm either going to have to limit myself to slender volumes or do all my book shopping during the summer months.


Blogger 2BarRiff said...

Or get it delivered to work.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Laziest Girl said...

While not relevant to you at the moment - they also have an excellent array of childrens books. I've bought so many in the past two years that our postie knows us by name to say hello to.

And they are so damn cheap! Even spending a Christmas gift voucher in a regular bookshop now makes me want to cry.

7:19 AM  
Blogger hazelblackberry said...

Oh I could never buy from this web site because I believe so strongly in encouraging local shops who employ local people.

But, you know, bugger it.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

The local people in local shops would only spend it on drugs, hazelblackberry.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Chubby Zebra said...

Cheers for the tip! Have to confess that I first read it as The Book Suppository. But hey, anyone could've made the same mistake, right?


7:38 PM  
Anonymous fishgosquish_gill said...

Cheap books really exist! Thank's Blandwagon, I love you! Too bad I didn't read this post before spending over $70 in Dymocks yesterday...

10:04 PM  

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