I have been with this company for a long time. What I do is to sign up for the free books for 3 pounds then return all their editors choice recommendation as no, cancel my membership after 6 issues and start all over again. So I have gotten quite a large selection of books from using this method. Now the problem started when they started to ask me to pay for the postage for returning the books. Before if I forgot to return my forms I just need to ring up and speak to someone and they'll have White Arrow to pick up my books. I dont know when this changed but the last time I rang up I couldnt get to a person at the end of the line and only got an option of paying for returning the books from telephone message. I thought eh? why should I be responsible for paying for the return of the books? It shouldnt be my responsibility because if you have a company policy of sending me a product which I never ordered then its your problem not mine. Legally I have ever right to keep them for free if I wanted to. So on principles (with hingsight pretty stupid) I just didnt return them as I have no intention of paying the (very small) amount of postage. So they started to send me letters asking me for money. Since they didnt have a phone line with someone I could speak to and I have no intention of wasting my time writing them a letter (at this time I didnt know they had email) I just ignored the letters. A few months down the line I was threatened with legal action by Westcot Credit Service Ltd. This time they provided a telephone number so I rang up to tell them they can have their book back if they pay for collection. The subsquent conversation was quite funny really. Now at work I sit right next to our company's legal department so I am pretty clued up on how to sue people and when we sue and when we dont. The truth of the matter is that we try our best to not sue people and always try to negotiate mainly only
as a last resort because it is such a hassle and because in the end we do want to keep our customers and their business. So I was quite surprise at the tone of the operator when she had absolutely no intention of even attempting to come to an amiable resolution with me at all. Especially in the light of the fact that they have absolutely no case at all... or maybe it is due to that fact. The conversation when like... yeah I didnt return the books because you changed your company policy and tried to get me to pay the postage for the books... she went but you HAVE to pay for the books... I went eh? but I never ordered them... she went its too bad as you kept them for so long you HAVE to pay for them... (I was thinking yeah like who said? You? Cos is not the law. It IS too bad....for you haha. I have to pay for something because I keep them for too long if there was a contract in the first place but there isnt)... I said umm I never ordered them (ie so was never in a legal contract with you so not responsible for paying for the return of the books.)... she (very obviously not listening at all) repeated again in a angry tone now ... you HAVE to pay for them. At this point I was feeling sorry for her. She was obviously paid to just read off a script of what to say to a customer in as convincing tone as possible. She knew she had no case and so had to get angry. Let me let you in on a secret... if someone is going to sue you the tone is that of resignation not of anger. When my legal department know that it is more of a hassle to sue someone then it is worth it, we tend to try to threaten them. If we are going to sue someone that is not necessary at all. Anyway the conversation ended like errh (obviously I wasnt getting through to her) sorry I am just not going to pay.... she went but you HAVE to pay... err no I dont.. she (I think is getting the message now) but you HAVE to (think I hear a bit of pleading now)...errh nope... she (fina
lly getting the message) ok I'll put a note in that you have rang up [yeah thanks alot! :P] but we are still going to proceed with 'the action' [like I give] .. I was like ok. To cut a long story short, a few days later I received a letter from 'Nelson Guest & Solicitors' to commence legal proceedings if I dont reply within 7 days with the additional usual threats. Then I was sent a letter from 'Debt Enforcement Agency' in bold letters (which if you read in small print is Weston Credit Service again dur!) with the usual threats and further action will be taken blah blah... I was so tempted to ring them up again and tell them to stop sending me junk mail and go ahead and sue me and lets see who wins. Anyway havent heard from them again. In hingsight I have to say I was really stupid. So I was right... so what? Their offer was fantastic. Now I cant get the same offer again. The only thing which I got out of it was the few editors choice books they sent me which incidently is now worth one pound and in their sign up selection. So in conclusion do join TSP and remember to say NO to editor choice, cancel, sign up again and repeat you'll have a bunch of good books. And if you forget harrass them to collect the books. Remember is not your responsiblity to pay and tell them that. You sign up for NO COMMITTMENT and getting 6 months free issues. Any subsequent company policy they have like sending you books which you never ask for is not your problem and legally you are entitled to keep them for free.
The Softback Preview is a book club with a cheap introductory offer. Unlike most other book clubs, there is no obligation to purchase additional books. Other reviews have covered many aspects of TSP well, so I won't examine the website, pricing policy etc in detail. I will just give an update on the service quality I experienced. The first time I signed up, I chose a nice world atlas, Halliwells film guide, and a philosophy encyclopedia. Three nice, meaty reference books that added up to many pounds in both RRP and weight, for the bargain price of £3 plus p&p. Of course, there is a slight catch. They send you a magazine every few weeks, and you have to let them know especially if you don't want to get sent the Editor's Choice. You can do this by phone, post or on the internet, and I found this no problem at all. As long as you remember to do it, it is not a lot of hassle once a month. If anything goes wrong, you can call customer services. They have a really annoying queuing system, of course. BUT --- when you finally do get through, if you ask the operator nicely they will give you a special secret number that takes you past all the menus and straight through to a human being!!! This is a fantastic feature, and I only wish I knew the equivalent number for buying train tickets, my mobile phone customer services and so on. It is this feature, plus the helpfulness of the agents, that convinced me that the book club really does take customer service seriously. For example, once they sent me the Editor's Choice by mistake, even though I had cancelled it. But the operator immediately apologised and agreed to send me a postage-paid label to return it. No problem. After receiving six issues of the magazine, you may cancel your membership. However they do not shout about this, as they want to keep people hooked! But remember, cancel after six issues. I did it after about ten. After I cancelled
my membership, I enjoyed not having to bother with the Editor's choice for a while. But then last month, I saw their advertising leaflet again with some *great* titles on it, and I just couldn't resist. So three more great books, for three more quid, and now I'm back into the routine!
Back in October 2001, whilst trawling through another days useless emails. I stumbled across one that caught my eye "3 books for £3!" it said (Postage & Packaging EXTRA in very small, small print!) Now, I have never been much of a reader and mostly buy books to prop up wonky furniture. But this seemed like a bargain not to be missed. For only a few pounds my furniture would be level for years! So, curiosity aroused, I clicked on the provided link and was presented with the TSP website. Having had trouble with these types of club before, I was very wary of the terms and conditions. But to my amazement, not only could I purchase these items at bargain prices, but also I did not have to buy anything off them again? EVER! This is unusual, as most book/video clubs require a certain amount of items to be purchased over a certain period of time ie 3 books a year sort of thing. The introductory offer is just to get you to sign the contract. Well I couldn't fail, could I? The Website £££££££££££ The website is bland but functional. Clicking on various tabs will lead you to their various products. Not only do they sell books but also Videos, DVD's, Software and Games. I will stick to the book side of things, as this is what I experienced. But it's handy to know what else they sell, should you be daft enough to be tempted! From the homepage you can log in and see the usual features that relate to you ie Purchases, order status, just general account information really. There is a standard search bar at the top and further down the page on the left hand side are the book categories. Ranging from History and Science to Erotica (ohhhhhhhhh!) There is quite a good selection to chose from, enough to satisfy all but the most picky of booklovers. Should you find an book that you wish to purchase, clicking on that book will take you gently through the process of adding it to your Internet shopping basket and eventually to the or
dering stage. At this stage you can enter your credit card details or alternatively wait to billed when you receive your purchase. Once the item is processed, in theory it should be with you within a few days. The TSP bookclub, by mail £££££££££££££££££££££££££ Upon joining the club, you are sent your first introductory order. If it is satisfactory, you can post your payment for the item(s), along with the billing slip provided (of course, if you have paid by credit card, you do not have to do this!) From here on in, you are sent a small booklet with a choice of books to purchase each month. All the books are sold at a cheaper price than in high street retailers, with up to 50% off in some cases. With this booklet comes a mountain of assorted junk mail offering you all sorts of things such as insurance, free holiday brochures, etc. It also contains the club letter, informing you of your account status and advising you of that months editors choice. Editor's what? Each month a book is recommended by the club and is systematically sent out to you. If you do not wish to receive the editor's choice, you MUST return the accompanying letter back to TSP having marked a box stating that you do not want it. Or you WILL be sent it! My experience of TSP ££££££££££££££££££££ Well, having looked at the site I noticed that they were selling Lord of the Rings in three separate books, for a pound. My own copy was battered beyond recognition so that was my first choice. Next I chose a book on the History of Britain and finally a book on Myths and Legends. The total price came to approximately £6 with postage and packaging, saving me a whopping £100 off the recommended retail price! The books turned up a couple of weeks later. They were of good quality and although paperbacks, made from thick covers (I should point out at this stage that TSP do not sell hardback books, well not many anyway!) I sent back my p
ayment for them, with the appropriate form, duly marked with 'please do not send me your stinky editors choice!' Each month, I went through the process of crossing the form and sending it back. Things were fine and I sat smugly in my bedroom looking at my bargain books and wondering what else I could prop up with them. At least that was until a few months back! Problems ££££££££ Now for some reason, completely out of the blue, they sent me an editor's choice book. I didn't want it, I had marked on their form that I didn't want it and yet they sent it anyway. This annoyed me as it meant I had to go through the process of sending it back. Deciding that it was their error, and not mine, I emailed them, requesting that they come and collect their silly book, because under no circumstances would I pay for its return and let the moths escape from my wallet in the process. To be fair, they did email me back within a couple of days, advising me that White arrow would be coming to collect it as soon as possible. One week later, sure enough White arrow came to collect it. Now this error on their part had irritated me. I was fed up with sending their form back every month anyway, so at the same time that I told them to come and collect it, I also informed them that I wished to cancel my membership. Pretty straightforward right? Wrong! What should turn up the following month, yes that's right another TSP booklet, assorted junk mail and an invoice for the editor's choice that they had already collected! So not only was I still a member but they were trying to charge me for a book that I never wanted in the first place and had already given back to them! Overall thoughts ££££££££££££££££ Well I have to say that the books I obtained from their introductory offer were of good quality and I am very happy with them. Would I go through all the hassle to get them again? Perhaps not! TS
P strike me as a company that could be worth using, if only they could get their act together. If you like reading the occasional book, they may be of interest to you but hardened readers will find their range of books a bit limited. You can get some real bargains from them, particularly if you make good use of their introductory offer. But the savings to be made once you have joined are nothing spectacular really. If you are looking for hassle free Internet shopping then avoid them like the plague. But if you can put up with the general incompetence, junk mail and the occasional unwanted book dropping through the letterbox then what are you waiting for! Here is a little comparison to give you an idea of the prices! Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (paperback): TSP = £4.99 P & P = £2.69 TOTAL PRICE = £7.18 Blackwells Online = £5.99 P & P Free! TOTAL PRICE = £5.99 Tesco = £3.33 P & P = £2.75 TOTAL PRICE = £6.08 Country Bookshop.co.uk = £4.79 P & P £1.50 TOTAL PRICE = £6.29 Student Bookworld = £4.49 P & P = £2.95 TOTAL PRICE = £7.44 As you can see, TSP is far from the cheapest compared with other online suppliers and if you really want to save money I suggest you take a stroll down to your nearest Tesco store! Of course I did save £100 apparently on their introductory offer, which should also be taken in to consideration! .
I joined TSP (The Softback Preview) back in the beginning of this year. I was quite shocked when I saw the deal. It was three books for £3! That is something that is rare and very unusual these days. I then looked at the commitment side of the club and there was no commitment, I was truly shocked, because book clubs always offer these excellent offers and then catch you out by getting you to buy 4 or 5 books in the first year. When you buy the books you do have to pay for postage and packaging that makes the books suddenly look a lot less than they are in the magazine. I found this site through www.mypoints.co.uk (a site where you collect points and then you can exchange them for gift vouchers afterwards). By taking up the offer with this site I got my books and then 500 points! This was very handy and a good payout of points. The link is on that site (I think) but you must be a member of MyPoints first before you can take advantage. I got my books all for a low price of £6.99! I had a wide selection to choose from, about 120 (and more) books. They were all saving between £10.00 and more, some over £40.00! This is very unusual for a book company to give books away at such a good price. I had 7 categories to choose from and they are: Literature and Language Typically TSP History Science and Maths Erotica Reference Health and Self-Help. These categories were only on the website which you can find at www.go.eTSP.co.uk otherwise if you order by post you get to look at a card, (comes inside magazines/newspapers). This card is nowhere near as good as going on the Internet because you can see the books that you are ordering and you can also get a lot more information than on the card. When I ordered I ordered of the Internet, it was a very good website and it was full of information to help you. They had parts on the site called ‘Who we are’ and ‘what we offer’. This can
help you because then you know all the information that you need. I looked at all this and it was very good, offering a wide selection of details so you could help to make a better decision. Some of the books that were on offer were: Men’s Health Get Fit, Top Fiction books, and Maths in 30 Days, there were ‘sex’ books and so much more. You really did have a wide selection to choose from. You had so many to choose from you really did have to think about it! I received my books in perfect condition. They were not damaged in any way at all and the books were top notch. I do have one thing to say that you must be careful about editor’s choices. If you forget to cancel them then they send you the books and you have to pay for the postage and packaging both ways. This can amount up to £5.00, so be careful when doing the ordering form. Be Jolly, Keep Smiling, Merry Xmas and A Happy New Year!
The service so far has been an absolute joke. I ordered 2 books in September - neither turned up. Since then I've written 4 times, twice to cancel the books, and twice to cancel membership. I've had no response to any of my letters/emails. It's impossible to get through to the Customer Service helpline. I've also received 2 books both of which I cancelled well before the deadline. Had to spend loads of money on postage, as couldn't get through to phone line. Still waiting for refund of postage! One of the books ordered in Sept turned up 3 months late, long after I cancelled it. Would not recommend this club!
I got referred to this site from My Points and thought that it was brilliant. That was before I read the small print and actually ordered something. I thought that it would be easy and I would get 3 books for £3 plus 500 My Points. The only thing I was really happy with was the points. My first order arrived and the books were not what I expected so I e-mailed tsp from their website requesting details on how to return them. They sent me out a White Arrow sticker and then the next day I recieved another. Strange I thought but I parcelled up my books and waited for white arrow to arrive. About a week later they actually arrived and I sent off my books. After a week I wondered why the books were still on my account but though nothing of it. Two weeks and then three weeks went by before I got annoyed as I wanted to order a different set of 3 books for £3. I e-mailed them again and was told that I had to fill in a little questionnaire about when the ahite arrow man picked then up as they didn't seem to have been returned. I sent them all the details and finally i was able to order my new set of books. When they arrived they were fine but I was charged £1 more than the last time I ordered. I could not be bothered to quibble and just happily read my books and sent off my cheque. I had also sent them an e-mail stating that I didn't ever want to recieve the editors choice as I would let them know if and when i wanted books. A couple of months went by and guess what, yep you got it. I recieved the editors choice. A huge parcel containing seven books. I e-mailed them again for a white arrow sticker but have not since had a reply. I'm sure they will realise something is amiss when they don't recieve their books or any payment. I definetly will not be ordering from them again. I think I will try Just Good Books as they are much cheaper. Please tell me if you have tried Just Good Books and if they are any good.
This op is only based on my personal dealings with The Softback Preview (TSP) book club, but if it is any indication of how they treat all their customers then I have to say avoid it like the plague. Introduction to TSP Browsing online one day, I saw an offer I couldn’t refuse. Buy 3 books for £1 each, plus p&p, making the order £5.98. A bargain! I was spoilt for choice. Well actually, that’s a lie – TSP doesn’t seem to have many books, and some of them are very dull. What do they offer in this introductory package: Erotica Health & Self-help History Literature & Language Reference Science & Maths Typically TSP Pick any 3 books for just £3. I opted for The Complete Kama Sutra ( I need to feed my addiction!), The Pilates Body (to get me in shape for doing the Kama Sutra positions – joke!), and The Oxford Book of English Verse. Was I pleased? Oh yes. * The Complete Kama Sutra – Alain Danielou “What no pictures?” That was my first impression of this book. It’s an interesting insight into the history of Indian sexual practises, but lacks any real description of the sexual positions and contains no pictures. I read this book in one evening. It was intriguing and worth the pound I paid for it, but I wouldn’t have paid more. * The Pilates Body – Brooke Siler I’m quite impressed with this book. It explains all the basic principles of Pilates method and provides good, simple pictures and descriptions of each exercise. The book caters for beginners, the intermediate and advanced. I haven’t done any of the exercises yet, but it’s a bargain at £1. * The Oxford Book of English Verse – Ed. Christopher Ricks Ah, my favourite buy and an absolute treat to read. Chock full of poems by all the English greats (Byron, Keats, Wordsworth, Chaucer, Sidney, Spens
er etc). I pick this book up and read some poems from it whenever the mood takes me. I would highly recommend this book to any poet or poetry lover. I’m glad I joined TSP, if only for this anthology. Now what’s the catch? None, actually. All you have to do is receive at least 6 copies of The Softback Preview. You don’t have to order anything from these, but please remember to tick “no” to the recommended title if you do not want it or else it will turn up. Sometimes it turns up regardless. Grr! The Softback Preview After receiving my 3 introductory books I sent off a cheque and knew I would not have to make any more payments. How did I know this? Well, have you see The Softback Preview? Laugh, I almost cried. To give you an idea, some of September’s offers include: * Recommended title – “A History of Britain” – Volume II, by Simon Schama, priced at £16.99. This would be very useful to me if I studied history, but I don’t. * Bestsellers – includes “Legends of Arthur” by Richard Barber. This is a touchy subject. This was July’s recommended title and I said No to it, yet still received it. The idiots said that White Arrow would come to pick the package up. 2-3 weeks later I am still waiting for the elusive white van. I’m sure it’s an interesting book but I don’t want it! * History – includes “The Perfect Heresy” by Stephen O’Shea and “Maconochie’s Experiment by John Clay. Macwhoey?! Again, if I studied history these might be useful to me. * Science – I failed science GCSE because I really do not have a scientific mind – too many bugs involved if you ask me. Books in this section include “Mosquito” and “The Borderlands of Science”. * Architecture – This section is so boring to me that I can’t even bring myse
lf to tell you about it. * Religion – I’m not very religious, nor do I care about the history of the Bible, but if you do, then you can buy some books here. * The Best in Brief – Now this really made me giggle as this section includes “The Dog’s Mind” by Bruce Fogle. A must for all canine psychologists it seems. * Top 5 Fiction – At least a few books worth reading, although nothing that I fancied. * Writing – To be fair this section looks good but I wouldn’t personally buy books on writing. * Favourites – Whose favourites? Not mine, that’s for sure. Do you really want to know the meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, or explore the buried rivers/sewers/underground railways of London? I sure as hell don’t, but if you do, maybe you should join TSP. * Computers – 3 whole books in this section, hardly worth it. * Self-help – I like self-help books, I own a few in fact. I’d probably buy 2 out of the 4 books in this section if I had money to splash around. * Typically TSP – what, useless? Books here include “Decoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs” (one I’m sure we need to use daily!), “Fast Food Nation” and “Zeno and the tortoise”. I wouldn’t buy any of these but maybe you would. * Entertainment – includes “The Penguin TV Companion”. Am I missing something here – aren’t you supposed to watch the programmes instead of reading about them? Jamie Oliver & Nigella Bites’ cookbooks are squeezed into this section too – which sums up the TSP experience for me. If you are a lover of history, science and computers, give TSP a try. If like me you prefer classic literature, poetry and modern fiction I would give it a miss. ADVANTAGES - great introductory offer (3 for £3) - can maintain your account via
their website (http://www.eTSP.co.uk) DISADVANTAGES - poor selection - prices aren’t that great - they have a tendency to send books you don’t want
Well actually there is but I'll get to that in a minute. If you've read my review on World Books, you'll know I'm a bookworm. I have shelves of books, a huge majority of those being history books as I'm one of those boring history type people. Anyhoo I'm also a self confessed shopaholic and when I saw the advertisement for The Softback Preview on Dooyoo, I had to check it out. If you look around the Books and Mags section you'll probably see two chickens throwing books at each other, just click on that link to get to the site. What TSP offer is three books for £1 each plus postage and packaging which is £2.99. And the great thing is NO COMMITMENT! Unlike every other book club you don't have to commit to buy any more books. Just pay your £6.99 and thats it. Honestly, no catches, no small print. However, you do have to remember to cancel the editors choice every week. I suppose they rely on people forgetting to do this, to make up any losses. But thanks to a handy website you can do this online every month and save yourself a stamp. The idea behind TSP is essentially the same as most book clubs. You get a magazine every six weeks and an order form (with return envelope) to make orders. You have to remember to cancel the editors choice every issue too. The only real difference is NO COMMITMENT whatsoever. I couldn't believe it myself so I checked out the club on Dooyoo before buying anything (always a good idea). I joined TSP soley on the basis of the introductory offer. For the grand sum of £6.99 I recieved the new paperback edition of Lord of the Rings, and two huge British History books. The range offered for the introductory offer is not as big as the entire TSP selection, they only offer about 100 or so books, which is fair enough as they are practically giving them away. Otherwise the range is very good and includes so
mething for every taste. Even though there was no commitment to buy I have already bought two more books, because the prices are so good and they have a large range of history books. The books are paperback (as the club name suggests) and apparently this exact type of paperback quality cannot be bought anywhere else! This also means the books are cheaper than you will find elsewhere but don't forget to add postage and packaging to costs before you buy! Now I must admit to being very impressed with the quality of the books I have recieved and there have been no complaints regarding quality. My boyfriend also joined on my suggestion and he has been very pleased with his books. The website is designed the same as most book club sites, with pull down menus to search catergories and links to bestsellers and quizes etc. There is also a nice feature which allows you to meet the team who run TSP, there are baby photos of the team and a load of questions and answers (which I'm sure are very interesting if you care enough to read them - which I didn't.) You can pay online by Visa, Mastercard or Delta but not Switch, which is a pain, for those of us without creditcards. In my experience its cheaper to order from the club magazine than the web site. There are also hardbacks,DVDs and videos available on the website. There is a link for people who want to write and moan at TSP, which is handy although I haven't felt the need to yet. The website is easy to navigate, even if you are computer literate and theres are huge help section for anyone who gets lost. As well as the internet, you can use the orderline (an 0870 number) to place orders, obtain account details, make credit card payments, buy labels for book returns and hear a summary of your order. The line is open late (11.30pm) so no problems if you're at work everyday. So its late and I can't think o
f what else to say, so if I've left anything out please feel free to tell me in the comments and I'll amend it. Cheers! Umm so in conclusion, you can't really go wrong with TSP, 3 books for £3, and no commitment. Just remember to say no to the editors choice. The books are cheap and good quality and the service is great.
Web site www.etsp.co.uk I have been a member and am a memeber of numerous music and book clubs and had become very fed up with the hole thing. All of them offer introductory specials at very reduced prices from even there own usual prices. However they all have a catch! -You must sign up for so long a period of time. -You must purchase so many items within a certain period of time - you must uy so many items from each magazine etc.. The offers are generally very good but its not until you are actually a member and recieved your offer that the full reality of what you have let yourself in for dawns. The aggravation of continually having to cancel the suggested title for example. It is usually not something I want or is at a price that makes you think twice. Anyway I digress, The subject is after all TSP and not clubs in general. I writ this however to demonstrate that ot would take something special to make me want to join another club. I was looking at the MyPoints web site and saw the link for TSP. I read the add and to my surprise there was no commitment to buy so many titles within say six months for example. The initial offer of 3 books for 3 pounds was also genuine, except for the postage of course (watch out for that its £2.99). I read the titles available was suprised to see that the reference and other material available was appealing to me and so with out further thought I signed up. Shortly after I began to worry, what have I done, I swore I wouldn't join another club! Well 2 weeks later my 3 books arrived in excellent condition and I settled the account straight away. This can be done by phone, web or traditionally by post. The invoice had a suggested order which as I think I have mentioned always annoys me, but When I logged on to the web site, (registration required but its quick and easy), there was a link that took me directly to cancel the o
rder and it took less than 30 seconds. They regularly send a catalogue every month and i regularly cancel the suggested title but I have purchased further titles from the catalogue. The prices are generally 30% less than RRP but beware the postage is extra. Prices can be lower if you buy more than 1 title from the same magazine and the postage is fixed at £2.99 whatever you order. There is no commitment to buy so many books, (did I mntion that?) but you do have to recieve 6 months of magazines. No problem. If all you want is the intro offer which works out at £5.99 for 3 books then all you have to do is log on once a month and cancel the suggested book and then after 6 months cancel your membership. I choice to continue mine, as for the sake of 30 seconds a Month, I will put up with it as they have a good range of titles. Titles include subjects such as Space, time and Cosmology,etc. History Mythology Reference, Dictionarys and encyclopedias Self help Geography and my personal favourite studies of influential people through the ages and the effect they have had on medern society and Thought provoking topics such as Religion and its origins etc. Prices generally range from £7.99 to £25. Delivery is alsways prompt within 3 weeks and payment is easy. The telephone service is easy to use and appears to be well staffed, it has been when I have called. The web site is well laid out and easy to search. Orders can be placed on line and payment made at he same time or if you prefer wait until the invoice arrives. I would recommend this clubto anyone with thirst for knowledge, passion for books and an interest in strange or diverse topics. Not much of a catch, 6 months of cancelling the recommended title thats all. However if you forget it will cost you to return it. I can only assume they make there money from people like me who actuall
y stay a member and buy more books and those poor individuals that fail to organise themselves sufficiently to cancel the suggsted title every month.
I received a message from Mypoints in my mailbox the other day telling me that I would receive 10 points if I visited the TSP site and a further 500 points if I took advantage of their introductory offer and purchased 3 books. TSP stands for The Softback Preview and I have made purchases from this company in the past so I know that they are good value. In fact I would go as far as to say that they are the best book club I have ever used. Basically the offer is this – You buy 3 paperback books from their extensive list, which nearly all cost just £1 each, although there are also a few which cost £2 each. The paperback books are exactly the same as the hardback editions except for the fact that they are paperback! The total cost of these books will be £3 (or whatever) plus £2.99 postage costs and that is the end of your commitment. You do not have to buy any further books from this company. You do not have to send any money with the order as the books are sent strictly on approval. You pay when the first bill arrives with your following month’s magazine, which I will explain about later. You can then pay by cheque, debit card or credit card. It’s as easy as that! At present they have a free document case on offer with your first order. I already have a couple of these and they are a strong brief case shaped bag made from canvas with a carry handle and a shoulder strap, with various pockets both inside and out. In my previous dealings with this company I have always ordered from a mailshot, but this time I visited their website, which can be found at www.eTSP.co.uk , and has a well organised list of books on offer. The categories for these books are:- Literature and Language Typically TSP History Science and Maths Erotica Reference Health and Self Help They have a particularly good range of computer books, both for the ordinary user
and the more technically minded amongst you! This time I have ordered the following books costing £1 each:- The AA Big Road Atlas of Britain 2001, spiral bound - rrp £9.99 The Darwin Awards - rrp £5.99 The Encyclopaedia of Ghosts and Spirits (second edition) - rrp £15.99 This order will cost me £5.99 including postage and I will have saved £28.97 on the recommended retail price (rrp). Each month thereafter I will receive a magazine from TSP outlining their current books for sale. These will be at prices roughly the same as any High Street bookshop. I will be under no obligation to buy anything but I will have to inform them that I do not want the editor’s choice book for the month or it will be sent to me automatically. I usually accept two monthly magazines and return the slip refusing the offer of the editor’s choice and then I cancel my membership. After a few months they will send another mailshot asking me to accept their offer of books at reduced prices again and then I shall join again. This is a great way to get some really good books at rock bottom prices either for your own enjoyment or they are ideal as presents too. Check out the web site and see what I mean!
I have surely found the only club with no strings attached and can breathe a sigh of relief that i never have to buy another book from Softback preview ever again. Well thats if i never want to. Do i want to buy another book? Well here is my honest opinion of the matter Softback preview club lives up to its expectations of no commitment. The only snag is that each month i have had to to return a form or make a phone call to say that i do not automatically want the book of the month sent. I have been a member for the last 5 months and in all honesty there is not a wide enough selection of books or special offers to catch my interest. The magazine is in black and white and has a very poor selection of books compared with other clubs i have joined. I saw the club joining offer in a national newspaper and joining to get a few cheap books was worth the effort if nothing else.
Well obviously we all keep our eyes open for the best offers available to us, no matter what we are seeking. I know I am sometimes drawn to banners on websites advertising wonderful offers - sometimes I can't resist and I go have a look. More often than not there is always a catch to the offer...you have to become a member and have to buy a certain amount of products from them, or something similar. Well one day I came across the TSP (The Softback Preview) site - www.etsp.co.uk - and their wonderful sounding offer of 'Buy three books for £1 each (excl. P&P) with NO COMMITMENT' caught my attention. Having a look through the choice of books I found it very easy to pick three. Having studied law I am always careful of joining clubs such as this that are forever including binding terms into their small print. I always make sure to read everything during the registration process and I definately urge other people to do too...I know it's so much easier to just click on the 'I accept' button that read through very boring and very long terms, but you should for your own sake. I registered with TSP and was satisfied that their statement of no commitment meant just that. I placed an order for my three books and after a few weeks they were delivered. Opening the box I discovered that only two books had been delivered and that the third was out of stock. An invoice was delivered to me shortly afterwards with one pound deducted from the bill as expected. I paid this immediately and didn't think anything else of it. As far as I was concerned, I had purchased my 3 books, and paid, and now have no further commitment to this company. Well let me tell you how this company is misleading its members... Each month the book club sends you an envelope that consists of their newletter,current book offers and an order form. On the order form you can write the book(s) you wish to order and on the left hand side there is a recommended
book called 'The Editor's Choice'. There are two boxes next to this, you have to put a cross in one of them - either to ask for the recommended book or to decline it. I received my envelope last month with all this stuff in, and looked through the newsletter for any book that I might want to buy. Nothing interested me, so I didn't order anything. Last week I received a parcel containing 'The Editor's Choice' - how? why? I didn't know...I didn't ask for the book. I phoned up the customercare line and they told me I should have notified them that I didn't want the book. If I don't notify them the book is automatically dispatched to me. This I found unacceptable but after i enquired as to how i was to return the book, I became angry. You have to order a return slip, and to get the price of the book and delivery charge refunded to my account I would have to pay £2. Does this seem right to you? Luckily I hadn't thrown the envelope with everything in the bin, so I sat down to read through everything. No where was it mentioned that we had to return the order form, irrespective of whether we were ordering something or not. As far as I am concerned the very fact that they expect their members to notify them each month that they do not want the recommended book (at a cost to us - either by post, telephone or internet call charge) amounts to a commitment! I have written them a letter and am awaiting a reply, but received an email today confirming that members are under an obligation to inform the company each and every month that they wish to decline a book. They didn't wish to comment on their statement 'Buy three books for £1 each (excl. P&P) with NO COMMITMENT' which has since last week disappeared off their website, where previously it had been displayed three or more times on the homepage! I think that this hidden 'term' amounts to a misleading selling statemen
t. No where in the documentation that they send you does it mention that you are under an obligation to notify them about anything! In all honesty companies should not be allowed to dispatch items to you without your authorisation, especially as they will then charge you money to have the cost refunded to your account - leaving you with less money! I find that this has really put me off this company. If you read their 'how do i cancel my membership' section on their site it really doesn't make sense: "If you have fulfilled your commitment, you are entitled to cancel your membership.....If you wish to leave the club before completing your commitment, we reserve the right to charge the full RRP of your introductory parcel less any amount paid to date, in addition to any outstanding balance on your account." What happened to the "NO COMMITMENT"!!?!!?!
The Softback Preview, claim that you can choose 3 books for only £3.00, plus P & P. What’s more is that there is NO COMMITMENT to purchase any more from them ever again! So what is the catch - after all there must be one - mustn’t there? You always end up paying for it somewhere along the line, excuse me for being a cynic. The Offer ~~~~~~~~ 3 books for £3.00 plus P & P (currently a total of £2.99 for however many books you order) Absolutely no commitment Plus a free dark green, sturdy Document case Plus select a fourth or even a fifth “Bonus Book for only £4.99 each with no additional postage costs. Sounds just too good to be true, doesn’t it, I’m always very wary of offers like these (as you might have noticed), in my experience there is always something in the small print that is there to catch you out. They always like to ‘hook ‘ you up and then reel you in, but it didn’t matter how many times I scoured the small print - I just couldn’t find anything to make me not want to believe them. I’m just so trusting!!! This offer had arrived for me in the post - out of the blue, and I have come to the conclusion that they probably got my details from the Internet one day. Every day I do a couple of the online Lotteries (yes, I am a dreamer, but someone has to win - don’t they?) and usually after you have chosen your numbers, you then have to click on one of the advertising banner links. Which I do remember clicking on a book link, but I don’t remember filling in any details, so it could have been just a coincidence that I then received something through the post from the same Company!?! Who are they? ~~~~~~~~~~~ TSP (The Softback Preview) seems to be an associate company of BCA Ltd (Book Club Associates Ltd). They offer ‘softback ‘ editions that are exactly like their original hardback counterparts, ex
cept the hardback covers have been replaced with a heavy, durable, soft cover. Everything else is the same - the print size and cover designs are exactly the same. So apart from the cover, the only other difference is the price - up to 50% off the publisher’s hardback price. With the introductory offer, they say that you can save up to £114 on this offer alone and then continue saving money on further books, as much to half price. This is a book club that say they will find you the best books, at the best prices and after you have chosen your books there is no need to buy another book from them ever - there is absolutely NO COMMITMENT. What have they got? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the preview magazine that I received, there was such a wide variety to choose from - Science, Business, History, Fiction and Reference books, but a few and all offered up to half the publisher’s hardback price. You receive the Preview magazine every three to four weeks and each has a choice of over 100 titles to choose from with opinions and reviews of all the latest releases. Also each preview features a Recommended Title, if you do not wish to receive this then you simply say so on the form provided. To me this is the only possible catch, if you send for your books and become a member, then although you have no other commitment, you must agree to receive six issues of the monthly Preview. This is what they probably rely on, people not sending the form back and so they send out the Recommended Title, then people probably feel obligated to pay it, instead of all the hassle of sending the book back. But, if you are anything like me, and put the order form straight back in the post - what is the price of a second class stamp. How do you get it? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just choose the books that you require, this can be done by post or on the Internet, the address is www.go.eTSP.co.uk, if you choose to
go on the Internet, then just a word of warning, they don’t seem to have the range of books that is in the Preview magazine, and also they aren’t doing the extra offer of buying two other books for just £4.99 each. It is just 3 books for £3.00 and the free document case. If you do decide to order off the Internet, then you just need to choose your three books and add them to your basket. The categories on the Internet are: - Literature and Language Typically TSP History Science and Maths Erotica Reference Health and Self-Help. You then need to fill in the online form with your details and confirm your application, and voila - your books will then be sent to you. You will then receive full membership with no commitment to buy another book, the latest club magazine and a password, which will allow you to access the TSP member website. If you order online, then you can also view your account, and pre-order books. Read other member’s reviews and write your own (sound familiar) and be the first to know about special events and exclusive offers. To order by post, you just fill in the reply card and send it to the Freepost address, you don’t even need to send any money with your order. Satisfaction is guaranteed as the books are sent on 10 days home approval and you are under no obligation to join. If you do decide to keep the books, then you just pay the enclosed invoice. If you are not entirely satisfied, then you just return the parcel, and your Membership will be cancelled and you won’t owe them anything. Also if a title is not in stock, the club website will take you to www.bol.com, and credit your account with a 10% discount. Well I decided to go ahead and order the books, well I seem to have a weakness for buying books. I chose: - Office 2000, a user-friendly manual on Word, Excel, Access, Publisher and Internet Explorer 5.
Normal price £13.95 = £1.00 Chambers Book of Facts, an essential reference book with 160,000 facts covering 280 fields of interest. Normal price £14.99 = £1.00 Descriptionary, How do you look up a word when you only know the definition? An easy to use reference tool. Normal price £15.99 = £1.00 Total £3.00 + £2.99 Post and Packing = £5.99 which isn’t bad for three books. A saving of £41.93, I didn’t go for the most expensive books, there were books there costing £25 - £30 normally, but I chose books that I thought would come in handy for myself or my children. I only ordered them last week and so they have not arrived yet, if any problems come to light then I will let you know. So as far as I’m aware I only have to receive, six issues of the Preview magazine and then I’m free to cancel my Membership anytime after that. After all - it did say ABSOLUTELY NO COMMITMENT. So if you want to have a look at their website then the address is www.go.eTSP.co.uk. ***UPDATE*** 17 May 2001 - I received my books today. They were well packaged and delivered by 'White Arrow'. There was one book that they didn't have in stock, so instead of sending me a substitute that I might not want - they sent me a £15.00 voucher that I can take six months to use. I think this is excellent, as the book that I didn't receive was only £1.00 on their offer, so I think I came away with an even better deal. Also whatever book I choose as a replacement, I won't have to pay post and packaging. Regarding the commitment and having to send the form back, according to the information that I received with my books - I can cancel the editor's choice online, so it won't even cost me the price of a stamp! I would just like to thank everyone who nominated me for a crown - as you can see I got one. Lots of thanks:-)Xyanthe
I’ve been a member of the “The Softback Preview” Book Club, (TSP) since Oct 2000, and this is my second membership with them… and I have no complaints. The usual Introductory offer is Three Books for £1 each Plus £3.99 postage/packing My Introductory offer purchase, this time was: 1.” Internet The complete Reference Millennium Edition”(this book is two inches thick and has 956 pages, they must have used up about half my first payment, on the postage on this alone. 2. Office 2000 for Busy People. 3 .Build your own PC (they apologised that this book was not the one I had ordered, and they had therefore sent me a substitute, but what they in fact sent me, was the newest updated version of the book, I had ordered. The Internet book, at that time counted as “Two Choices”, and I purchased the “Office 2000” as an extra at £4.99 The total value at publishers prices was £69.82, and I paid in total £11.44, (roughly the price of two Computer Magazines.) The Books were delivered within a fortnight, were well packaged, and in pristine condition. The TSP describe their books as” Identical to the original hardback, except for the durable softback cover” The only commitment with this club is to receive six, monthly issues of the “Preview Magazine”, with the usual “Recommended Selection”, which they will send to you automatically, unless you Tick the NO box, and return the Order Form within the stated time frame, you are in fact free to make No purchases at all, from any of the Six Previews. Delivery charges are £2.99 on any order, no matter how many books you choose, and is usually sent by “White Arrow” on 10 day Home Approval. After you have received the Six Previews you can then cancel your membership, by giving four weeks notice in writing. The TSP now have the
ir Website up and running at www.see.eTSP.co.uk, when you have an account, you can access your personal details, and cancel the Recommended Selection, online, if you wish, you will then be sent an e-mail confirming the cancellation. You can also pay your bill, online, using Visa, MasterCard, and Delta, I think the TSP has a very wide range of all types of Literature including, Fact, Fiction, Biographies and Reference works, I have noticed too they are providing more titles covering The Internet, Windows applications, and general Computer interests, which suits me, and probably many, of the readers of this opinion. They are now also providing Video and Audio, cassettes and CDs, for sale. Their present deal (March 2001) “Choose from 100 books - Three books for £1 each, plus £3.99 delivery”, includes titles of which users of dooyoo could find very useful, “From Pitch to Publication and “Becoming a Writer” (Two books counting as one choice) Valued £24.98, “Writers Handbook2001” Valued £12.99 and “The Cassell Guide to Common Errors in English” Valued £16.99,… I think I might just have to buy the last one myself somehow! There are of course many other subjects ranging from History to Health, and some Naughty titles in between , there is even, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, including 37 plays and all his sonnets and poems… if that’s what you’re in to. There’s also a link to the BOL (Books On Line) site with a 10% discount for purchases made there. So that’s it ..A wide selection of good quality books and gifts, at reasonable prices, with trouble free membership, and no commitment. What more could a reader… or writer, ask for? “Read all about it” www.see.eTSP.co.uk
Unless you are over 40 and have nothing better to do with your time than read about 'Ancient Egypt' or 'How the War was won', then this book club is not for you. At first like any other victim that fell for the £1 price for each book offer, I was not impressed by the choices they had to offer. When most of the books are Non-Fiction or just boring reference books, you just pick the ones that look half decent and pay the magical £1 price that enticed you in the first place. Also the prices for postage and packaging are quite steep. I think this is the loophole where the money is made. The only positive thing to say is that there is no obligation to ever buy from them again.