Brickbats for Booktopia

Some time ago (ten to fifteen years or so, or perhaps even more?) I was pleased to find I had the option of ordering books online from a fledgling Australian company, Booktopia, instead of having to deal with that behemoth Amazon. Today, I am feeling somewhat less enamoured of this Australian company.

Let me tell you why.

As its name suggests, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) is a body set up to look after the interests of consumers. Recently, it has sued Booktopia in the federal court for enforcing draconian rules re the return of articles bought by consumers online. I’m not exactly sure of the nature of the rules that Booktopia has been taken to task for enforcing, but I can certainly sympathize with customers with a legitimate reason for wanting to return a (presumably faulty) item.

Now, I find I have been hit personally by these rules. Let me give you the details.

My latest novel, The Spaceman, has been listed by Booktopia and by countless other online sellers in Australia and in the world. But, should you want to buy my book through Booktopia then, at the stage you place your order in the e-basket, a bland pop-up message will appear stating:

This product is printed on demand when you place your order, and is not refundable if you change your mind or are unhappy with the contents. Please only order if you are certain this is the correct product, or contact our customer service team for more information.

Give me a break, Booktopia!

To my knowledge, no other online seller makes a request of this nature. Not a solitary one. I’ve checked out all the major players, and many of the minor ones.

What’s more, Booktopia makes this less-than-useful warning at the most crucial point of the sale, i.e. when the customer is ready to place the item in their basket. I’m sure its effect will be most off-putting for anyone attempting to order my book through Booktopia. It is as if Booktopia is giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

And I’m not the only party likely to suffer here. Booktopia’s pop-up message penalizes authors and the books they peddle, on the basis of the mode of delivery of the books, not something which is of any concern at all to the average customer. This average customer wants a good read, and doesn’t give a hoot how Booktopia manages to get the product to them. By its action, Booktopia may well be depriving them of this good read.

This action smells of self-serving overkill by a Company I had previously trusted and loved.

So, with much regret, I have not included Booktopia in the links to sellers included on my webpage. Instead, I have provided such links to Bookpod and Angus & Robertson within Australia, to Amazon and Barnes & Noble within the US, and to Waterstones within the UK. I have been careful to select sellers that don’t charge like wounded bulls. There are a few of these.

And what is my advice for you? Buy my book by all means. It is a good read. Just don’t buy it through Booktopia. I suggest you try one of the links I provide on my webpage.