So I have been holding this post back for quite a while but I think it is time to share it with all of you. As with all my book reviews, I try to be entirely honest with all of my book related experiences (as well as everything else). My Usborne book experience has been quite an up and down journey, so here we go.
I have owned a few Usborne books in the past (well they were Munchkin's), some we received as gifts and others I have purchased second hand from a local independent bookstore, and others I was able to purchase through the Scholastic Reading club. I have been very happy with my books in the past, the non-fiction books were perfect for when Munchkin went through his astronaut phase. The quality has been outstanding and they have held up so good, especially some of them were second hand books.
Anyway, back in the beginning of July a friend of mine invited me to a Facebook Usborne book party she was hosting (she was not the consultant). I was excited that I could pick up so new books for Munchkin's birthday as well as help her earn books for her own kids. The party went fast and was really fun, I ordered some great books, won a prize and learned some more about the company. The consultant did state that the shipping time was a slow process but you usually received your books within 3 to 4 weeks (that was fine as they were for Munchkin's birthday at the end of August).
As I was rather interested, the consultant invited me to a group to find out more about Usborne books and what being a consultant was all about. I found out some really interesting aspects of the company and it sounded like a great way to support reading and earn a little extra on the side. I however decided to hold off, talk to my Hubby about it and see my own books. I am glad I made the decision to wait.
By early August I was a little concerned that I hadn't received my order yet, so I checked the website and it said my order was still processing. I checked with my friend and she had long since received her order. I thought it was maybe that mine was a large one so gave it another week. When nothing changed I decided to call customer service (since all the books are shipped by the warehouse I figured it was faster than going through the consultant who had the party). It was not easy to find the main customer service number, I was on hold for nearly 2 hours before I got to speak with someone. The woman who answered the phone was very nice and checked everything and said that she would take the order to the warehouse personally and email me when the order shipped.
Unfortunately after giving it another 2 weeks, I still had not received my email or my package. So I emailed my consultant, she was very kind about it and contacted the warehouse while she was on vacation. She did let me know that the order would be shipped by the following business day (Monday).
I did get the package the very next week! Unfortunately, Munchkin's birthday had passed, the baby shower I bought books for had passed as well as one other birthday I had ordered books for but I am okay with that, I had gifts to cover them so no one went without and Christmas is coming. However, when I got my order one of the items was not available (but was at the time of the purchase), so I received a certificate for "Book Bucks" to purchase a different item or the item again when it comes back into stock. I was also missing the prize I won through the party (I have sent a message to my consultant and expect to hear back from her soon, she has always been kind and very responsive). Anyway, the books I did receive are excellent, high quality books that I am sure Munchkin will love, but I am very glad that I decided to hold off on becoming a consultant, I can't possibly back a company that has such sloppy order handling and poor shipping and processing departments.
So there you have it, I just wanted to make you aware of my own experience with the company. The books are fantastic but the shipping and handling are sadly failing. It is a shame that such a great book company should be tripped up by getting the books into customer and reader hands.