Earlier in the year there was a flurry of disappointment among expats everywhere as Amazon decided to change its policy of fees for international deliveries on books and other goods.
So when it was time to order a book or two for Jae who is currently keen on the ‘Young Samurai’ series, I thought I’d better do a little research first. Oh, and I secretly wanted to add in a maths book or two to keep him busy during the summer holidays.
Here’s what I came up with for the ‘Young Samurai’ series: ‘Way of the Dragon’ or ‘The Ring of Sky’, by Chris Bradford, for a standard paperback book. Prices are for purchase and European delivery (exchange rate for 14 July 2014):
Better World Books – used $9.48, new $22.63. Free worldwide shipping. Total $9.48 (£5.55)
Books Etc. – £7.18 + £3.31 delivery. Total £10.39
Guardian Bookshop – £5.59 + £3.95 delivery per order + £1.00 per item. Total £10.54
Book People – £4.49 + £4.00 delivery up to 0.5kg (£5.00 up to 1kg). Total £8.49
Amazon – £4.89 (new) + £6.60 delivery. Total £11.49
Amazon – £0.01 (used) + £4.02 delivery. Total £4.03
Alibis.co.uk – 0.80 euros + 5.26 euros delivery + 3.94 euros per extra item. Total E6.06 (£4.83)
Foyles – £5.10 + £5.00 delivery + £1.50 each extra book. Total £10.10
WH Smiths – £4.89. They don’t deliver outside the UK
Waterstones – £4.49 + £7.50 delivery. Total £11.99
The Book Depository – 7.67 euros + free worldwide delivery. Total E7.67 (£6.11)
Ebay (Buy it Now) – £2.72 used + £1.51 delivery. Total £4.23
The £0.01 used book that Amazon offered via their used books section came top of the list. Plus I already had an account with them so didn’t have to set up a new one. They also offered the maths books I wanted. I ordered two ‘Way of the Samurai’ books and a selection of maths books, then waited.
And waited. “When are the books coming mummy?” Jae said every day, several times a day, for twelve days.
I hadn’t noticed when paying that the delivery wouldn’t arrive for another twelve days. By which time, on the twelfth day, we were off to England. On the twelfth day one of the Samurai books arrived. One book between two children wasn’t a good number. We took one out in the library while in England to pacify the other child.
On our return home the other Samurai book had arrived. “Hurray!” said Jae. No maths books though. They wouldn’t fit into our letter box. I broke the sad news. “Hurray!” said Jae.
I went to the post office with the card the post man had left. The post office (correio) only keeps items for six days. I emailed Amazon. I will probably get a refund of the product if Royal Mail returns them. Otherwise…well…phew…luckily I bought some maths books from a high street shop in the UK. Just in case.