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Great Value Books Reponds, Positively

Last week I wrote about some of the frustration and uncertainty we experienced in the wake of placing an order on Great Value Books’ (GVB) new online ordering site.

The order arrived just before closing on Friday, and while I didn’t have time to post something here then, I want to update you on some good things that have taken place in the light of the problems we shared with GVB, including a few that were blogged here.

The remainder book website is brand new, there are issues being worked out, but overall, GVB worked hard to resolve issues for one Canadian store.

First — and this applies to Send the Light as well — GVB upper-level staff move quickly when you contact them. There is a very hands-on management style evident, and you are constantly appraised as to where inquiries have been forwarded and when response is to be expected.

General manager Mark Phillips wrote, “We have been serving the US and overseas markets for over 25 years from our Waynesboro, Georgia facility and have a very good track record. I could send you countless testimonies of customers testifying to the excellent service they have received over the years. We only just recently started ‘testing the waters’ in Canada and obviously got some things wrong.”

Second, Mark informed they are working to address the search issues, I am assuming this refers to the lack of author information on the initial presentation of each title. This is, after all, a new website; I’m sure others noticed the lack of author info.

Third, Mark admitted that we did not experience “cheapest trackable” freight rates and quickly issued a credit note.  This reduced shipping charges to 43.4% which is not unreasonable on an international shipment of remainder books; though, because pricing remainders is more art than science, Canadian stores are reminded to add about 50% to the invoice price to determine true landed cost.

Fourth, there was indication that HST charges to Canadian stores will be billed on future invoices as is done with Send the Light orders.  FedEx was merciful, charging only $11 to collect the tax, which would have been waived had we established an outbound shipping account with the company.

Finally, there was a reminder that GVB is located in Alabama, and runs off a different system than STL, so stores should verify shipping information since it doesn’t actually appear in the order cart.

The books themselves arrived in fairly good condition, rather amazing considering the packaging that was used. There was a major difference between the (usually) double-boxing used at Send the Light and the rather flimsy (by international standards) boxes that were utilized here.

I checked copyrights on a few titles, and a few of these were 2011 titles; no doubt not true remainders, but rather, publisher overstock. I was quite pleased to obtain those.

Three of the 136 titles we received should have been considered hurt books. GVB has a special coding for this on the site, though probably can’t distinguish between hurt and not-hurt copies of the same title. One additional book couldn’t be sold at all, it had obviously incurred water damage at some earlier stage, and at best, might end up in our $1 bin.

In conclusion, I was impressed with the speed with which GVB sought to resolve issues, and the accompanying positive attitude.  I would rescind my earlier “never again” comments; I’d be willing to try this again a few months down the road, but would retain the caveat that Canadian (and other international) buyers might want to aim for the publishers’ titles that offer the more radical discounts, or at least factor in freight costs when determining titles to purchase.

 

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