Exclusive Books – SA’s largest bookselling chain

Exclusive Books is a great bricks-and-mortar shop that first opened in King George Street in Johannesburg in 1951.

Site Usability
Prices
Order Process
Delivery
Returns Policy
Service
Average

Exclusive Books has 50 stores nationwide, 1 in Botswana and for a while now the online shop. The physical stores themselves are a real treat and you can lose hours browsing them. To make it even more awesome they have added coffee shops to some of their stores.

So what are you doing looking at EB online? Get out the door and down to your nearest store which you can find here.

Alternatively, if you are like me and live 100 km from the nearest store, you can try some vicarious browsing in the online store. Here you will find the range of books you expect at Exclusive, as well as ebooks, music, films, games, gifts and stationary, corporate gifts and electronics.

Prices tend towards the high side. In a quick search I found some books cheaper at other stores like Takelot. It will probably depend what kind of item you are looking for and to offset this, the incredible range at EB means that you are likely to find books here that you won’t find elsewhere.

The site is easy to browse and has a good search function. You will easily find the book you are looking for and EB’s search engine will helpfully put the most expensive version at the top of the search. There is no option to reorder according to price. Cunning!

You will need to sign-up to use the online store but the process is quick and simple. You are offered the option to opt-in or not to their newsletter, and when sign-up is complete you are prompted to join the Fanatics Rewards Club. The club is for hardcore bookworms and cost R30 to join. It seems to be a standard rewards program. You get a EB Fanatics card and earn points when you buy at EB that can be redeemed for EB coupons. You’ll get first notification on special book offers and events, exclusive Fanatics deals and invitations to book launches and signings. You’re also get a R30 coupon on your birthday. If you are a regular bookworm then you better sign up now, but for the rest of us it it not really that impressive and just a way for the store to track you and sell you.

Visit Exclusive Books

Exclusive books

Ordering is the familiar “add to cart” system with a checkout except the cart is called “my bag”, and like most online shops you can create a wishlist. The order process is very simple without too many pages and bits to fill in.

You can make payment by VISA, Mastercard, EFT, American Express, Diner’s Club, direct deposit or Exclusive Books voucher

Delivery is by courier and free for orders over R250. If you prefer and live near an EB store, you can collect your order there and any delivery is free. Some of their items are drop shipped, meaning they have to order it from a supplier which can mean significant delays in delivery. This is indicated in the product description under “delivery”

Returns are within 21 days and EB arranges courier collection of the product and pay for the return shipping. If the product needs to be replaced, they will courier it back to you free of charge.

Unfortunately a online search shows that there are a lot of complaints around service on EB online. The good news is that Exclusive Books make a real effort to address all complaints. My usual thought applies here, that is is easier to get it right first time than to have to explain.

Exclusive books has a toll free customer service line on 0800 332 550 or you can e-mail them with your queries and complaints.

You can find Exclusive Books on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Summary:
Great place to browse and to shop though not the cheapest.  Standard and not very impressive rewards program. Absolutely incredible range that has good product descriptions and is easy to search. Everything else is standard and they have a decent returns policy. Pity that there seems to be so many issues with service. In any case, the online store pales in comparison to a visit to the physical store.

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