Inspired by a story from one of my friends on Facebook and my generally good experiences in National Bookstore Power Plant, I decided to conduct a little experiment.
Yesterday I went to the customer service counter in National in Rockwell and ordered a book, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright. I was already emboldened to ask for this book because the PUBLIC COMPUTER in the store said they had it in stock once. So Cristy, the girl behind the counter said they had to special order it. She tried to access the Internet but couldn’t get on. She asked me to leave my cellphone number and I walked around the mall. Eventually she texted me and so I went back to the store. She said she could order it for me and I paid my down payment of 50%. By the way the book would cost 890 pesos. Which is not bad because the book had a sticker price of 17$ or 735 pesos. Now I have to wait around 3 to 4 weeks to see the results of my experiment.
As a a comparison study, I’m going to approach Fully Booked next and see if I can order Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky. Let’s see if the Fully Booked staff is as helpful with special ordering.
So I went to the other bookstore.
I had gone to the Fully Booked in Rockwell on Sept. 24 and looked for Clay Shirky’s book. The lady behind the counter began to rattle off other branches where the book “might” be. I then asked if she could have one of them delivered to Rockwell She said she could, and wrote my name down on a sheet of paper.
I didn’t feel secure about this, so I went to Fully Booked High Street today. I asked the man behind the counter if they had the Clay Shirky book. He sent someone to look for it. It took awhile, but eventually the person came back and said it wasn’t there. So I asked if I could order it. He said he could but it would take two months. One could not help but feel that he was deliberately trying to be discouraging even though he was polite. He made me sign a paper.
Okay, so this is how I feel. National made me pay a downpayment, and gave me a receipt. They said I would get the book after three to four weeks. Fully Booked made me put my name on a piece of paper but did not asked for any money in advance. They said it would take two months. The girl in National was clearly talking to a supplier on the phone when I ordered there. The people Fully Booked just told me to put my name on a piece of paper and made no phone calls. Who do you think would feel more obligated to fulfill their promises? Well, we will find out in two weeks or two months…
First point goes to Fully Booked. Due to their deeper collection of books already available in the Philippines, they were able to get the Clay Shirky’s book from one of their branches. Turn around time, four days. I still have the paperback version on order from their High Street branch, but this will do for now.
First book landed. I am starting to come to certain conclusions, but I’ll wait till the experiment is done.
I could’ve gotten Cognitive Surplus at Fully Booked but they only had the hard cover. National had it in paperback, so next point goes to National Bookstore.
A point to Powerbooks for using brown paper bags. Though the only plastic bag I would accept is the medium-sized Fully Booked one. Perfect size and shape for slippers or wet clothes 🙂
National called me today to tell me my book arrived. I went there this afternoon and got it. Experiment over.
So here are my conclusions,
Fully Booked has a deeper selection on hand, and so it is possible you could get your book right away or within four days. Some suggestions I have for Fully Booked is to have an in-store computer that your customers can use to see what’s in stock. Also, if a customer makes a special order, take a downpayment. Because this assures the customer that you will indeed import the book, and assures you that the customer will actually buy the book when you bring it in.
National Bookstore’s ordering system works well. It would be a good idea to expand your stock of books to make it even quicker to find something if your customer needs it. I can’t complain that you were able to deliver to me the book of my choice within a month, but it would even be more awesome if you were able to deliver it within four days if you had a larger selection at hand.