Quality Paperback Book Club -- Review
The Quality Paperback Book Club gives customers the chance to find books for fairly decent prices. There are a few catches and sometimes the book selection is a bit lacking, but once in a while there is a pretty good deal. I took advantage of their signup deal and snagged myself five new books (both hardcover and paperback) for a surprisingly low price, and I found a few books on the site that made for great Christmas presents. If you’re looking for a website to order books from and don’t mind hunting a bit for bargains, QPB isn’t a bad choice, but there are a few things that definitely deserve your attention before you rush off to sign up for an account.
I came across an ad for the Quality Paperback Book Club a few months ago. The hook they used? Get 5 books for $5. I’m a fairly avid reader and had a few novels on my “Must Buy!” list so the promise of getting five books for five bucks was pretty exciting. I decided to check out QPB’s website and see what kind of information they wanted for an account. Currently, the website (www.qpb.com) advertises four books for $4 for new members (dare you to say that five times fast…). I got five for $5 thanks to the ad referral, but four for $4 isn’t too shabby. Even with the added shipping and handling charges, you’re probably not going to pay more than $15 for your first order. When you see some of the books you can get, that’s a pretty great opportunity. They also give you a free gift when you join, which turns out to be a pretty nice overnight bag. Definitely a great value.
So. If you decide to give this a shot and visit the website, the first thing you’re told to do is pick four books. They offer a selection right on the page, but what they don’t tell you is you’re not limited to just those books. You can do a simple search for a specific book title, an author, or a keyword. I found Frank Herbert’s Dune and the complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy via searches, and was able to add them to my signup selection. Some books and authors, however, are not available to first time customers. Ursula K. LeGuin, for example, is conspicuously absent from the initial selection. Once an account is made and the information is processed, the restrictions are lifted and you can find more books and authors (LeGuin included). In the beginning, however, you have a relatively limited selection. If you can find four books that you really want, simply add them to your cart. Once you have four books, the site will automatically take you to a summary page. From here, you can either continue shopping and edit your selection choices, or complete your enrollment.
If you decide to complete your enrollment, you are taken to the customary information-requesting page. They ask for a name, an address, and an email address. They have to ship your books somewhere, and get in contact with you, so this isn’t too terrible. Neither is their request for a credit card. Of course, if you’re at all like me, you might be a bit wary of this. I was suspicious enough to do a Google search before giving them my information. I found a few reviews that contained a few complaints about the limited selections and things like that, but most people felt pretty positively about the company. One person, however, mentioned getting billed for two books they never purchased. This apparently led to a nasty, tangled mess and threatened legal action, but please believe me when I say that this definitely is avoidable. I will explain how in a bit, but for now, back to the signup process.
If you give them all the required information, the site will thank you and then send you rather abruptly back to the welcome page, if memory serves me correctly. Rest assured, however, they have your information and your account is being set up. The processing just takes a few days. You can log in and out of the site while your account is processed, but your purchased books will not be shipped until the account is approved. You also cannot add more books to your cart until you’re completely set up. Once your account has finished processing, however, your purchase is charged to your credit card, your books are sent out, and you can shop around for more books.
The website does have some limitations, and not all books are available (even some fairly well-known ones aren’t on there), but if you don’t mind hunting around you can find a few great deals. I paid $15 for one book listed as $50 for non-members. Do I believe I actually got a great bargain? Yes I do. I went to a few other websites that sell books and discovered that QPB did, in fact, have the best price, and beat the competitors by quite a bit.
Some Potential Snags
There are a few things you should be on the lookout for. Firstly, the Featured Selection. This is a very interesting and surprising element. Featured Selections are monthly chances to get another two books… automatically. Basically, if you don’t tell the company that you don’t want the books, QPB will go ahead and send you the books and bill you for them. This is how the person I mentioned earlier got in trouble. As I promised, though, this is easily avoidable. Simply logging in and clicking “Featured Selection” in the upper right corner of the webpage will bring you to a page where you can either accept or decline your featured selection. You generally have a few weeks to tell them whether you want the books or not, so if you’re responsible enough to check your account every so often you should not run into any problems.
Another potential problem is that the book you want may not be in stock. If you place an order for a book that is out of stock, the site will tell you that the book has been backordered and will give you an estimated arrival date. I’ve had this happen to me twice, and both books have made it to me safely with no issues other than the delay.
The last thing you should know about is the Purchase Commitment. As a customer taking advantage of the site’s signup deal, you must agree to purchase a certain number of books by a certain time. This is not nearly as bad as it sounds. I had to buy another two books before a year passed. It’s been barely six months, and my purchase commitment has been fulfilled.
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Quality Paperback Book Club’s website can be a bit baffling
if you don’t know what you’re doing. I had to figure out a few things along the
way, and to hopefully make things easier, I have published another hub that explains the ins and outs of the site. Find it here: Navigating QPB's Website