First Impression on (and How to Buy)

We all know how hard it is to find imported books in Indonesia, especially if you don’t live in a big city such as Jakarta or Surabaya, and once you find the book you’ve been looking for, you’ll still have to cry over the price… or the shipping fee. If you buy some books from e-Bay or Amazon, the shipping fee to Indonesia would be ridiculously expensive, often times the shipping fee is way more expensive than the book itself. Even though you’re buying imported books from a regular bookstore here you still have to cash out more than Rp 200K for a paperback novel. Imagine how depressing it is to drain your bank account for a hardcover self-help book, you’d need another self-help book to help you recover from the depression you got. Haha.

I myself had once spent Rp 1.500K in a single purchase for just five or six books *insert Kathleen Light’s “das esspensive! sigh here* but I don’t always splurge like that. I usually only buy one or two imported books every month from local bookstore due to the high price. After I discovered about Book Depository, I finally placed my first order in January and I thought I might as well write something about it here.

So… Book Depository is a UK-based online book seller which offers a large catalogue — over 17 million titles, plus free delivery worldwide.

Free. Delivery. Worldwide.

What the what?!?!

Yes, you read it right. They offer free shipping to over 160 countries without minimum purchase, and you don’t have to worry about additional fees such as tax and handling fee because the price stated in their site is final price, and it can be viewed in 26 currencies including IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) so we don’t have to manually convert the price. Such a dream-comes-true for us Indonesian bookworms who are struggling to find imported books.

Here’s what the website looks like. In the homepage, you’ll find a list of bestselling books that can be broken down into more specific categories like “Best Crime & Thriller Books”, “Best Romance Books”, “Best YA Books” etc. If you haven’t figured out what kind of book do you want to purchase, you can simply explore the list. Each book on the website comes with a description, back cover text, review quotes and rating stars based on, so it’s really easy to find which book to suit your liking. If you’ve been eyeing some books, you can simply search it by keyword, author, title, or ISBN. If you want to snatch some random books with a good deal, you can go to the “Bargain Shop” section and you’ll find sooo many books in many categories with low price tag — mostly under IDR 100K! Holy horses.

Since I already knew which book did I want to purchase (and the book was featured in the Bestselling list too), I immediately clicked “Add to Basket”. The books I bought were The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson and a poetry book by Rupi Kaur titled Milk And Honey.

After deciding which book to buy, you can view your basket and checkout but before you do, make sure you’ve signed up using your e-mail.


“Basket” view (this store is UK-based so they’re using “basket” instead of “cart”), the prices shown here are already in Indonesian Rupiah, you can change the currency in top-right area of the page

To pay, you can use any credit card provided by Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, and you can also pay with your PayPal account (only available using certain currency display). Once you’ve clicked the checkout button, you just have to fill your shipping address and credit card details, proceed to pay aaaand done! I’m sorry, my dumb ass forgot to take a screenshot of the page, but believe me, the whole process is really simple and fuss-free.

After receiving an order confirmation e-mail, the only thing left to do is wait. It normally takes 1-2 business days for a ready stock book to be dispatched from UK and 7-10 days for it to arrive at your doorstep (could be longer, depending on the expedition service). You can check your order status by clicking Order Status on the top right menu and insert your order number. The status of a newly made order is usually “processing” and it will automatically change to “dispatched” once the books are sent.

*note: to have millions of titles in their store, they receive stock from different suppliers and they often dispatch items from the same order separately, hence your books may arrive on different days just like mine ⇓


Order History

And after 4 weeks of waiting, my books have finally arrived… separately. The first book arrived on February 13th, and I had to spend another week waiting for the second package. Way too long, I know. It’s stated on their website that it would take 7 to 10 days for the package to arrive, but maybe the problem came from Indonesia’s customs duty as usual *smh* nonetheless, it was exciting to finally lay my hands on my new books ❤


Thoughts and opinion on

Satisfied enough with my first purchase experience, I’d like to say that Book Depository is a great place to buy imported books and here are some reasons why you should really try to shop there too:

  • Free delivery. Around the world. Without minimum purchase. Okay. That’s insane.
  • Cheaper final price. No additional handling fee, etc. There are discounts everyday. And the books in their “Bargain Shop” section are unbelievably cheap!
  • Fuss-free. Done picking books and want to checkout? Put your credit card details and it’s done, without any pop-up page, without the slow “redirecting…” thing.
  • Safe packaging. They ship hardcover books in cardboard envelopes, and paperback ones are shipped in bubble wrap pouches.
  • Multiple wishlists. You can create different wishlists for different type of books. Or maybe you want to make purchase plans, you can simply name the wishlists “January”, “February”, “March” etc.

But as the saying goes “you get some, you lose some”, there are also few disadvantages if you decide to buy books from Book Depository:

  • They only accept payment using credit cards, and not everyone has a credit card.
  • No tracking system. You can’t trace where is your package currently at. Order History will only tell you that your books have been dispatched, that’s all.
  • It really takes a long time for your books to arrive at your doorstep, since the books were sent from the other side of the world… unless you live in UK. Haha. If you’re impatient, or if you urgently need a certain book for academic purpose, it’s better for you to shop at local bookstores. There are some decent bookstores in Indonesia such as Periplus, Books & Beyond, Ak Sa Ra, or Kinokuniya and they also offer a wide collection of imported books, though the price might be a little steep but you can join the membership for discounts and other promo.

So that’s it, I really hope it helps. If you love this post, please click the like button so I know! 🙂

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