Michael Allen, who describes himself as a Wiltshire-based reader and writer, and blogs as Grumpy Old Bookman, has, in a recent blog, drawn my attention to The Book Depository, the services it’s now offering and, and more importantly, the services it promises to offer in the future.
The Book Depository is a UK-based enterprise with world-wide ambitions. Basically, it’s a bookselling business. It aims to deliver books to the customer cheap(ish) and fast; and not just today’s bestsellers either, but highly obscure books too. It works, as I can testify from a recent test.
To call this enterprise ambitious is an understatement. If you want to know more, take a look at the About Us page on the company’s web site.
You will note that the underlying technology is being developed by a team at the University of Bath (one of the UK‘s better universities, specialising in science and technology), and the research is being part-funded by the UK‘s Engineering & Physical Science Research Council. What that means, in plain English, is that the underlying science is considered highly respectable and vitally important. The Book Depository is committed to making all programming open source.
The average customer, however, is not going to be too concerned by that. What your typical punter wants is a copy of a given book, at the cheapest possible price, and to have it delivered as near instantaneously as possible. By interacting with other retailers and distributors, the Book Depository seems to be getting as close to that ideal service as anyone could reasonably ask. Their software aims to work out the optimised purchasing route of each isbn, depending on cost, availability and historical service delivery, and then places orders……..
I have had a quick look through that catalogue and I have to say that it does look pretty impressive. If it can eventually do all it’s looking to do, then it stands a good chance of becoming the serious readers first stopping off point when searching for books.