I subscribed to this as I felt there just were not many magazines on the market that focused on books on their own. As books are my passion, I wanted something that would review books and help recommend me new authors and genres to try out.
This didn't disappoint. I have since renewed my subscription. The book focuses on reviewing new release books out - as well as some themed choices or author choices. it does not contain any interviews or long articles but this suited me. I simply wanted some quick recommendations.
The reviews are short and only give you a brief outline of what the books are about, so I will often research them more through Amazon but this is a great starting point and introdcued me to new books I might not have discovered otherwise.
Yes, they do offer you the chance to buy them as well, but they are expensive so I simply read this for reviews.
The Good Book Guide is undoubtedly the Worst on-line retailer I have come across, and I do most of my shopping, and all my book purchasing on-line. They fail to deliver the monthly magazine, they do not honour their promotional vouchers, the send the wrong books, back order DVD's instead of books ordered, (they still owe me for one book ordered, paid for but never delivered). Finally, they simply do not answer emails. The company has changed hands to my knowledge at least twice and they seem to use this as an excuse. I will NEVER shop with them again, or renew my subscription. BE WARNED!
Am I the only person that objects to the title of this web site? Surely everyones opinion of a good book is different. Never mind I'm just being pedantic! Anyway I was looking to purchase the first volume of "The History of Britain" based on the BBC television documentary. A quick check on Kelkoo.com confirmed that the Good Book Guide was the cheapest by far offering the £25 book for £16.95 and £1.95 p&p. Off to the site I went to find my book. The site is easy to get round and use. There are a number of sections to the site including their recommendations, authors choices (famous authors tell you about their favourite books at the moment), features on specific books and interviews with their authors, book news, best sellers and, my favourite, bargain books. Finding my book was very easy as it was advertised on their home page as one of their main attractions. Several other books also tempted me but as I was on a tight budget I managed to resist! Ordering was very straightforward - the usual pick a password, enter you name and address etc. The Good book guide have a secure ordering system so all I had to do was enter my credit card details and that was it! They really do make spending money on the web far too easy! When you set up an account with them you are added to their mailing list. You receive an email every week or so informing you of the latest offers and new additions to their site. One major plus point of this email is that you can tailor it to meet your own needs. For example you can choose not to receive information about childrens books or sport, or you can choose to receive information only on science and natural history books. I ordered my book on the 25th of October and I received a confirmation email on the 30th of October which wasn't exactly quick. Every time I checked my order status it seemed to be stuck at checking credit card confirmation. I was getting a little bit
concerned about this as I'd never had any trouble before. I received an email on the 30th to say that my book had been despatched but then it seemed to take ages to arrive. Although my book had been sent by parcel force it took at least a week for it to arrive. In fact my book was eventually delivered on the 6th of November but I wasn't in. I eventually got my hands on it on the 7th. I'm not sure if The Good Book Guide had been telling fibs about the despatch date or if Parcel Force were to blame. It did seem a bit extreme to wait almost a week for the post. When my book did arrive it was wrapped in strong cardboard packaging and was in good condition considering its eventful journey. I was not hugely impressed by the speed of delivery by The Good Book Guide. My order from WH Smiths was very quick in arrival by comparison (see my opinion on that one!). If The Good Book Guide had another book that I wanted at the cheapest price I would order from them again as price is the most important factor to me. However, if I were ordering the book for a specific date (e.g. a birthday), I would be rather cautious.
The Good Book Guide's site is an excellent resource for searching for and reading reviews about books. This is, essentially, a book club, but it's worth visiting the site for the reviews and articles alone. You can purchase books online, but they are not as discounted as some other sites. What makes this book club different is that they are not beholden to push certain publisher's books - they are independent and only recommend books they feel are worthy of their club members. A number of very distinguished authors also recommend their choices and are often invited to write articles about their favourite genres. There is also a section for people to recommend their favourite authors/books to other readers; message boards; reading groups (who can get a group discount and advice on setting up and running a group) and competitions too. If you become a subscriber, you get a monthly magazine packed with reviews on all manner of titles you may otherwise have missed. I am seriously considering joining because the magazine is so well produced and worth reading in its own right. You can get a free copy of the magazine (with no obligation to join) by filling out a form on their site. Even if you have no intention of joining a book club, it's well worth sending off for this free copy - I have already made a long list of books I want to buy.