I am an avid book reader and I love good fiction. I'm not necessarily gifted with a vast knowledge of what the current books of the moment are, but I know a good book when I find one. QPD may seem to be one of the many book clubs offering the cheap enticement to get the sign-up for a long-term agreement but they are definitely clear of the bunch. Despite what has seemed to be (one of) the best introductory offers around, the main difference with QPD is two-fold. Firstly the selection of books they have is focussed around damned good reads; not glossy reference books, or the best-selling pulp-fiction. Plenty award winners will be seen here before they achieve fame. But secondly, the reviews written, and editors choice make it easy to find a varied and interesting read on a regular basis. I've used QPD twice in the past and if I were to stock up on a few good books I wouldn't hesitate to go back. If I were to state any drawback it would be one I would target at all mail order book clubs. A nice price isn't so nice when you pay the p&p each time. Buy a bundle of books every now and then.
I am very confused by the recent comment written by gibbon about the QPD bookclub and whether there is any further commitment to buy or not. I had been a member a few years ago and recently received an invitation to rejoin with the offer that I describe below. This was on March 1st and all the literature I have got, stresses that there is no commitment to buy another book. My only thought might be that they have different offers for different people, i.e. if they are trying to tempt you back, then they give the no commitment offer as you have bought books in the past. However if you are a new member then there might be some obligation. Clearly you are right that people need to be very careful. In the past when books have been sent incorrectly and they have implied that I ordered them I just kept them until they sent me prepaid labels. It usually takes a bit of time and you keep on having to email them to remind them but it usually works in the end. Anyway here's my opinion on QPD QPD or quality paperbacks direct has been around for a few years but has recently launched an online web site. The biggest advantage it has is that you get a good opening offer, we got 6 books for £5 including, River Cafe 2 and Bridet Jones Diary, good offers in a monthly magazine and most importantly, no commitment to ever buy another book. One of the books we chose as part of our opening offer wasn't in stock so they gave us a £10 voucher to redeem against any future books. As the name suggests all the books are paperback but they are released in paperback a long time before they appear in paperback in the shop. For example Sebastian Foulkes new novel 'On Green Dolphin Street' which has only just come out in hardback is already available in paperback for £8.98 as compared with the hardback price of £16.99.If you choose to buy his novels 'Birdsong' and 'The Girl at Lion D'Or ' at the s
ame time you get all three for £14.99. Other books that have been available in recent months include Pat Barker ' Border Crossing' Amy Tan ' The Bonesetters Daughter' Frank McCourt ' Angelas Ashes' Margaret Atwood 'The Blind Assassin' plus many others Although you receive a magazine each month and have to accept or cancel the editors choice, there is no time limit for which you have to remain a member and you dont have to purchase any other books The web site is well set out and you can check your orders, pay on line plus all the other things you might need to do and if all else fails you can revert to the post
I am spent far to long trying to think of a punning title involving the initials QPD but have been unable to come up with any that don't sound completely lame though Quality Paperbacks Direct is scarcely a work of genius after all. So answers on a postcard please..... QPD are one of these generic book clubs advertised on the back of weekend supplements to the paper. A few years ago I succumbed to their evil marketing ploy. The initial offer is great and I have no criticism to make of it. It was a few years ago so I can't remember exactly how much I paid but I think it was £2.50 for 5 books plus postage and packing which was about the same price again. For this I chose: Amsterdam - Ian McEwan England England - Julian Barnes The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy Beloved - Toni Morrison Filth - Irvine Welsh Their special opening offer did offer good value for money as you could give books that were bestsellers at the time. Amsterdam, I think won the Booker prize that year. The obligation after that was you had to be a member for 2 years and during that time buy 6 books. I thought that it would be unproblematic and I didn't think that it would be a problem to select 6 books I wanted especially as they promised a discounted price. How wrong I was! At first rejecting the editors choice was easy to do. You could ring up the automated number and you key in the number of the editor's choice. It is therefore important not to misplace the order form, not so easy when I was moving house though! If you don't have the number you have to go through the torture of trying to get through to a real person to make your request. This is not an easy thing to do and took about 3 attempts and being put on hold for upwards of 15 minutes on occasions. When you get through to a real person, you have a 50% chance of not having a really sarcastic customer services assistance to whom the idea of customer
relations is a sick joke. On the other hand the other 50% of the time the person is very nice and helpful. Maybe they do it to give an extra bit of excitement to the whole process? Despite rejecting the Editor's choice on most occasions, because in my opinion, the Editor at QPD had really bad taste in books and trys to enforce their dire taste on a wider audience, it should not be allowed in a civilised society! Let me give you the short extract of the latest editor's choice: "A Day Late And A Dollar Short Terry McMillan An exuberant and emotionally charged new novel from one of America's best-loved chroniclers of family life, variously described as the black American Maeve Binchy and a modern Dickens." Not only is this review likely to put off alll but hard core Binchy fans(ok my mum), what exactly is a black American Maeve Binch? This book may be good but I've been put off reading it. OK, so I've rejected the editor's choice because even I have better taste in books and part of my reading list at uni included A History of Development Control. I now flick through their catalogue to see what else I could buy. And although there are a few reasonable choices nothing is much cheaper than at your local book store and even if there is a small discount you end up paying more with posting and packaging. So during this time the only book I really enjoyed was the Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer. However, Editor's choices arrived at my house even when rejected. To return them you have to order a voucher and then they try and charge you another £2 postage fee. The end of my membership which is still dragging on because of continual disputes about payment. I ended up receiving 3 packages of books that I hadn't ordered and being asked to pay £6 to return them plus late payment charges. However, after writing to them because I couldn't get through
to the phone number I just got a standard letter saying payment was overdue with no acknowledgement of the first letter. I wrote again attaching a copy of my first letter and then got a letter from Credit Control threatening me with court action. After this I wrote a very annoyed letter asking why they didn't have the decency to respond to my first 2 letters (I sent them again for good measure). At the moment I am told that I must pay £7 unspecified charges to end my membership. In summary, QPD have good initial offers, however, the selection of books after this are limited and generally the sort of novels that come free with magazines. You may as well do that! If you have problems with them it is a time consuming and frustrating process to follow up. I got the impression that they just drag out the process so you pay them anyway. There are other reviews of good book clubs in this section, stick with one of them!