Interesting thread on the Bargains section of boards.ie. The thread originator says that if you browse the BookDepository website using a UK proxy, it is possible to save up to 20% on purchases. Just in case you don’t know what a proxy is, it basically means that you can trick another website into thinking you are in a different country.
Ever tried to access the BBC’s IPlayer to view TV programmes? If you have, you’ll know that a message comes up saying you are not in the UK and are blocked from viewing the site. Switch on a reliable proxy, and you’ll have no problem. That’s because another computer based in the UK makes the request to the BBC site for you. That UK computer then fowards the result to your computer based outside the UK.
Ok, so enough Proxy talk – onto putting the "20% savings" thing to the test. I used a browser based proxy called daveproxy to browse the Book Depository website. Lo and behold, all of the prices were different. Here’s a few examples :
I’ve used Book Depository a couple of times for items that just weren’t available locally, and their prices have always been good. So good that I couldn’t work out how they made money with Free shipping worldwide, something that they point out very prominently on the site.
This has explained how they do it. The site is set up to detect where you are visiting from, and set the appropriate price based on your location. That seems reasonable to me BUT I think saying shipping is FREE is a bit misleading. It appears to me that the final price that appears on the site already has the shipping element built in. Since it costs a bit more to ship a book outside the UK, it’s obvious Book Depository can’t absorb that price. Margins on books are too thin for that.
Rather than saying Shipping is FREE, they should be more upfront about it and say that the price you pay has shipping costs built in and costs can vary based on where you are ordering from. That way, there’s no room for confusion.