Original post: November 28, 2019

Updated: December 5, 2019 and October 23, 2021

I see a lot of people have questions so I thought I’ll update this post with FAQs and the changes in delivery during a pandemic.

I. My Book Depository experience where I talk about:

   a. Speed of delivery
       a1. How long I waited for my order
       a2. Did it arrive within the days Book Depository said it would

   b. Quality of package

II. Tutorial on How to Order at Book Depository for Philippine Residents

    a. Step by step tutorial on how to order
    b. What payment method you can use if you don’t have a credit card

III. Changes during a Pandemic

a. How are things now at Book Depository with COVID-19 protocols affecting delivery schedule, pricing, etc.

IV. FAQs about Book Depository


PART I

Prior to the pandemic, I ordered twice at Book Depository and this is how it turned out:

SPEED OF DELIVERY

I ordered Rebel (Marie Lu) at Book Depository on October 26. It was a Saturday. Their website states that they dispatch books on business days. Rebel, for instance, will be “dispatched from the UK in 3 business days” and indeed it was. I received an email on October 30 (Wednesday) that my order is on the way to me. (TIP: Order on weekdays so the wait isn’t longer! XD)

Also according to their website, books dispatched from the UK will arrive in the Philippines in 10-15 days. I got my order on November 26. It’s exactly a month after I ordered but if I count “business days” only from the day it was dispatched, then it took 19 days. Note that I excluded weekends and holidays from the count.

I would say the speed of delivery is to my satisfaction. I’ve read feedback from other bloggers about receiving theirs within the 15 days so I would assume the little delay on my order is caused by my geographical location — me living in a big city and all that.

For my second order, it only took 13 business days. So the delay with Rebel might not be a geographical thing after all (I assumed the few days late was because the post office couldn’t keep up with deliveries in such a big city) but my experience with The Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy proves otherwise.

I placed my order on November 13 (WED) and got an email on November 16 (SAT) stating that it’s already been dispatched and on its way to me. I assumed it would take longer than a month this time because it’s a box set but to my surprise, it arrived on December 4 (WED), 13 business days after it was dispatched. That was definitely within the 10-15 days BD said it would take.

BUT, I had to pay PHP112 when the box set was delivered. The delivery man said it’s the “EMS fee” but having gone to the post office before to claim the book that I won via giveaway, I know that the PHP112 can also be the post office handling fee which I had to pay before when I claimed the book that I won.

I asked the delivery man why there was an additional fee (because with Rebel there wasn’t) but he just used the same “EMS fee” reasoning. If this happens to you when your order from BD arrives, you should definitely ask for a receipt with that PHP112. I should have asked for one but I only just researched about PHLPOST handling fees today and in their website they said they issue receipts for this fee. I remember now that when I went to the post office and paid that same fee, they indeed gave me a receipt.

In conclusion, the faster delivery this time may be a result of a different delivery method (EMS) but it also means having to pay more. Maybe BD uses EMS during the Christmas season (mid November at the earliest) so that their deliveries can arrive on time/before Christmas as the delivery schedule can be pretty hectic during the holiday season.

Anyway I pre-ordered Lisa Kleypas’ Chasing Cassandra so we’ll see how the delivery goes for that one (UPDATE: the delivery of this book was delayed for 2-3 months due to lockdown restrictions back in March 2020).

QUALITY OF PACKAGE

My order arrived in a white envelope type of packaging but it has built in bubble wrap inside (as you can see in the pictures) to protect the product.

The book itself is in perfect condition (again as you can see in the photos below). I smelled it for good measure and it was divine. Brand new, no doubt. The package also came with a free bookmark. Hooray!

For The Daughter of Smoke & Bone, it arrived in a box. It had bubble wrap inside. The books were also wrapped in plastic as with every box set. It also came with a bookmark although the bookmark got a little wrinkled inside the box but it’s nothing a few hours pressed between book pages cannot fix. 

PART II

Here is a step by step guide on how to order at Book Depository (with pictures)

STEP 1. Find the book you want to buy and click Add to Basket. Be careful to read the book description and details because it says there if the book is in paperback, hardback or audio. You can also see the “dispatch days”.

STEP 2. Click the basket icon to see your orders.

Click checkout if you’re done shopping. There you can see payment methods available such as Visa and MasterCard. PayPal is also allowed.

STEP 3. After you checkout, you will be asked to fill in payment details such as email address, name, delivery address, and of course payment details.

When you’re done filling out information, just click Buy Now and you will be directed to a confirmation page. You will also receive a confirmation on your email. That’s it! All you need to do now is wait.

Note: If you order several books, they will be delivered separately because the books are packaged individually and remember, delivery dates vary from book to book.

Payment Methods

Now say you don’t have a credit card and are not eligible for a credit card, how do you buy? Good news! I’ve discovered a card that can be used for online purchases local or abroad whether you’re earning or not.

Thankfully, prepaid cards exist! Prepaid cards don’t require any credit proof or whatever hullabaloo banks require for credit cards. With prepaid cards, you just fill out a form and the bank provides you one.

I use a Prepaid Card to make online purchases. You can use it locally or internationally. For international purchases like Book Depository, there is usually an additional charge but its very minimal. My bank only charges me 2% of my total. So say I ordered a book worth 1,000 pesos, additional will be 20 pesos, so my total card deduction will be 1, 020 pesos. If you’re stingy about that 2% charge then you can connect your card to your PayPal account and then use PayPal at checkout. There won’t be any additional deduction this way.

Prepaid cards are reloadable so you have to load it with money before you can use it. I reload mine online through mobile banking but you can also load it through bank deposit or cash deposit machines if your bank has it.

How did I apply for the card? I applied online through my bank’s website. It’s truly hassle-free because you don’t have to go the bank yourself just to apply. After two weeks, it’s ready so I went to my chosen branch to collect the card.

For more information about prepaid cards or if you’re not sure about which bank to get from, then here is a post about several types of prepaid cards you can choose from. 

Ordering from Book Depository isn’t all that hard after all. With prepaid cards, you don’t have to have credit cards to be able to purchase books from them. I wish I knew about prepaid cards early on so I could have utilized the site long ago.

Hopefully this post is helpful to those looking to purchase at Book Depository or any other international webstore.

PART III

What are the changes in Book Depository’s processes with a pandemic going on?

Increase in Price

Prices of books just about doubled. In the past, Lisa Kleypas’ books were only around PHP400. Now, they’re all PHP600+ and for high-demand ones, they’re almost PHP800. These are pocket book/mass market paperback editions. But can’t really blame BD. Inflation rate these days is crazy. Everything we buy now is just so much more expensive than before.

Quality of Packaging

I love the eco-friendly packaging but why is the top of this parcel open? I received it this way. I’m just worried the book will get damaged or worse, fall out, knowing how far and long these things travel. But all’s well for this particular order. The book is in good condition despite the exposed top.

Here’s an unboxing video for your reference:

Speed of Delivery

Delivery time also doubled. From UK to the Philippines, it now takes 20-30 days. Before it was only 10-15 days. Again, not BD’s fault. Everywhere it’s like this. We’re quite lucky they resumed delivery here!

But, the real question: how long does the book really take to get delivered on your doorstep? For my recent order, it took 30 business days. Counting the weekends and holidays, it took 43 days. I ordered Lisa Kleypas’ Secrets of a Summer Night on September 3, 2021. It was dispatched immediately the next day and I received it on October 17, 2021.

I think a month a half of waiting time will be pretty standard from now on. I have a lot of orders coming in so I’ll add more updates after this.

PART IV

Here are answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Book Depository. Some of these were asked in the comment section and I thought compiling them here would be much easier.

1. Are their prices really cheap and are there no hidden fees?

Their prices used to be cheap but with the inflation, I guess it’s no longer this way. But compared to other bookstores, I would say they still have a pretty competitive price. This is especially true for books that are not available locally. It would be so much cheaper buying it in BD than Amazon, I think?

As for hidden fees, yes there are none. What you see on their website is what you get. Any additional fee you pay when the book arrives is solely because of PHLPOST fee.

2. What is the PHLPOST fee?

They call it “handling fee.” You have to pay PHP112.00 when the book gets delivered to you. Sometimes though, I don’t pay this fee and up to now, I’m still not sure what’s the real process for this.

For the four times I ordered on BD, I only had to pay this once (for the box set I ordered). So maybe, the fee is for when you have a lot of orders (or when a truck delivers your parcel instead of a motorbike if you get what I mean?). But yeah, it’s never consistent.

My most recent order that I received on October 17, 2021, I also didn’t pay this fee. But remember to always ask for a receipt in case you’re asked to pay!

3. Is the “fee” depending on your location or on the weight of your orders?

It’s a fixed fee so it should always be PHP112 regardless of parcel weight or delivery location.

4.  Is the book delivered straight to your house?

Yes! All my orders are delivered right on my doorstep.

5. Did your pre-order book arrive safely and how long does it take for a pre-order book to arrive?

My experience with pre-order books is the same. It arrived safely, that is the book is in good condition. Minus the wait time for the book to be available, the length of delivery is also the same 30-45 days.

6. Is it okay to use GCash Mastercard when buying from Book Depository?

I believe any Visa or Mastercard works for BD. Other commenters have shared that PayMaya works too!

7. Did the post office send you an SMS that the books are on their way for delivery? Or did they just arrive without notice?

They arrived without notice from the post office. Unfortunately, the post office just doesn’t notify you when a delivery is going to be made. The only notice you’ll receive is from BD (via email) stating that your book has been dispatched. After that, it’s a guessing game when you’ll receive it.

8. If you order more than one book, will they be shipped separately and how much will the PHLPOST fee be for multiple orders?

When you order several books, they’ll likely be shipped separately. You’ll also receive them separately. But sometimes, they may also get delivered to you at the same time though they’re packaged individually. It really just depends on when and how PHLPOST received and processed them.

The PHLPOST fee for multiple orders is a little tricky. I have no experience with this yet but some people have shared that PHLPOST is asking them for a fee per book (which sounds wrong if you ask me! As always, get a receipt so you always have a fall back just in case).

9. Do you have an experience where it takes more than a month to receive your order?

Yes! With a pandemic still affecting most countries, I think the standard delivery now is 30-45 days. I would even give it an extra 2 weeks before I start worrying for my parcel that hasn’t arrived yet. It’s just not the same pre-COVID so it would be nice to give our service workers some grace time.

10. Is there an additional charge if I use paymaya or gcash?

Banks and other payment channels always has an extra charge for international orders so I would say, yes. How much is where it varies. Not all payment channels have the same rate. Best to check on your provider’s website.


If you have more questions, feel free to comment them below. I’ll try to answer as best as I can! 🙂


*Disclaimer: this post is to help inform readers on BD’s processes and is no way affiliated with any brands mentioned. Any information shared is based from personal experience and may not be the standard case.