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Kudos to Willmann-Bell

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#1 okieav8r

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:38 PM

Last week, I ordered two books from Willmann-Bell, Portable Newtonian Telescopes, by Albert Highe, and Telescopes Eyepieces Astrographs, by Smith, Ceragioli, and Berry. When I saw the box on my doorstep today, and saw that one crumpled corner of the box looked as if it had had a particularly hard landing somewhere, I said, "uh oh, great, I bet they're damaged". But after opening the box, I found the books to be in brand new, perfect condition. The inside of the box was designed so that the ends of the box had an extra layer of cardboard, separated by about an inch and a half of space between it and the end of the box, the area where damage is probably most likely to occur. This area of the box took the brunt of the impact, and left the books untouched. The rest of the interior of the box was a snug, almost custom fit for the books, preventing them from sliding around inside the box. It's almost as if the box were specifically designed just to ship those two books! The books themselves were wrapped in plastic. I ordered a copy of The Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies from Willmann-Bell about a year and a half ago, and it was the same story--the book was very well protected and also in perfect condition. The folks at Willmann-Bell are most definitely on the ball.

I'm almost afraid to order books from Amazon or most any other reseller via mail order any more. Almost always, the book is simply thrown into an oversized box that has almost no protective material inside, and at least half the time, the book incurrs shipping damage.

Thank you Willmann-Bell for valuing me as a customer, for taking the time to do it right, and for caring about the fact that when I purchase something with my increasingly hard earned money, I want to get it in the same condition that it would be in if I had picked it up at the store myself. I will certainly be letting the friendly folks at Willmann-Bell know how happy I am with the way they do business.

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#2 okieav8r

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:39 PM

Here's the corner of the box....

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#3 csa/montana

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:25 AM

Glad to know how they pack their books; thanks for posting this information. Certainly I will definitely order from them, when I need books!

#4 Rick Woods

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:05 AM

Cambridge needs to pay attention to this!

#5 BobinKy

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:10 AM

And Willmann-Bell has been paying attention to packing for some time now. I remember how well packaged the Uranometria volumes were when I received my copies a few years back. The same for when I got copies of The Night Sky Observer's Guide. None of those expensive books were damaged. Thank you WB.

#6 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:20 AM

I've never had any trouble with books shipped from Amazon. They always came in perfect condition. :)

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#7 Richard McC

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:43 AM

I've ordered books from Willmann-Bell three or four times over the years and I've never had a book damaged. :waytogo: I cannot say that of any other place from which I've purchased books mail order including Amazon, AbeBooks and The Book Depository. Indeed, getting any package delivered without at least minor damage to some of the books is a rarity with some places. :( Willmann-Bell's overseas postage rates are very high but their packaging and service are excellent.

#8 Stellarfire

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:30 AM

I cannot say that of any other place from which I've purchased books mail order including Amazon, AbeBooks and The Book Depository.


I give the medal for the most ignorant book packaging service to Amazon and Cambridge. Seems they are completely unwilling and unable to use a book packaging standard which ensures a damage-free delivery.

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#9 ianatcn

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:53 AM

Wow, two of the books at the top of my 'must have' list and there they are side to side in the same box! I agree about Cambridge, I always buy CUP books through my local high street bookstore as they are the same with their packing in the UK. Last book they shipped to me had all four corners bumped! Congratulations on your new aquisitions Rex!

#10 okieav8r

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:57 AM

Wow, two of the books at the top of my 'must have' list and there they are side to side in the same box! I agree about Cambridge, I always buy CUP books through my local high street bookstore as they are the same with their packing in the UK. Last book they shipped to me had all four corners bumped! Congratulations on your new aquisitions Rex!


Thanks Ian. I'm looking forward to digging in to them when I can get some free time.

#11 RobertED

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:21 PM

Excellent demo, okie!!! Thanks for the "heads-up!!"......

#12 okieav8r

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:59 PM

Excellent demo, okie!!! Thanks for the "heads-up!!"......


Hey, happy to do it. I hate having to report negative things about a vendor when they fumble big-time, but it's a real joy to give a shout-out when they come through the way Willmann-Bell has done repeatedly.

By the way, I just had a nice phone conversation with one of the owners at Willmann-Bell, and I gave him a big 'ol atta-boy. I think it made his day!

#13 GeneT

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:40 PM

Thanks for the post. Willmann-Bell prints some nice astronomy books. I would be interested in buying both--before everything goes digital.

#14 turtle86

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:52 PM

I've bought quite a few books from Willmann-Bell myself over the years (Uranometria, NSOG, Star Clusters, Arp Atlas, to name a few) and have always been delighted with how well they package their books.

Today I got two books from Amazon in decent shape though I always feel that I'm taking my chances with them as I've certainly received plenty of damaged books from them. My own experience is that actual booksellers like Willmann-Bell and Powell's do the best job in packaging books.

#15 okieav8r

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

I've bought quite a few books from Willmann-Bell myself over the years (Uranometria, NSOG, Star Clusters, Arp Atlas, to name a few) and have always been delighted with how well they package their books.

Today I got two books from Amazon in decent shape though I always feel that I'm taking my chances with them as I've certainly received plenty of damaged books from them. My own experience is that actual booksellers like Willmann-Bell and Powell's do the best job in packaging books.


When I spoke on the phone today with the man at W-B, he told me that they had been in the book shipping business for over 40 years and had a lot of practice getting shipping down right. They're a small operation and would rather spend the time and money to make sure their product gets to its destination intact rather than have to waste time and money dealing with returns of damaged goods and sending out new product again. One would think others would follow that logic.

#16 turtle86

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:17 AM


When I spoke on the phone today with the man at W-B, he told me that they had been in the book shipping business for over 40 years and had a lot of practice getting shipping down right. They're a small operation and would rather spend the time and money to make sure their product gets to its destination intact rather than have to waste time and money dealing with returns of damaged goods and sending out new product again. One would think others would follow that logic.


Totally agree. Sure wish Amazon would follow suit, especially since they now solicit packaging feedback.

#17 JoLo

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:02 PM

Yeah, I have ordered several from WB, including most recently the Smith, Ceragioli, and Berry book...great book, little difficult at times, but an excellent resource.

Anyway, the customer service at WB is top notch. I ordered Photoshop Astronomy from them a couple of years ago and couldn't get the CD to read in my laptop; I called them, a new CD was in the mail the same day, along with a discount on my next purchase, not to mention a caring and concerned individual on the other end of the phone. Very refreshing in this day and age.

#18 LivingNDixie

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:00 PM

I have several of books from Willmann-Bell, each one of them is outstanding.

#19 CounterWeight

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:01 AM

I order books from all over, I must have good luck because they all seem to do fine and my books arrive undamaged. Thanks for those images Rex. I often don't pay attention to what the books shipped in - that container is a great solution, and did it's job nicely!

#20 Wmacky

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:30 AM

It's also amazing just how many of their selections are "must haves".

Uranometria?
Star testing?
Telescope optics?
NSOG?

Thank goodness they are excellent shippers.

#21 George N

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:14 PM

I can have nothing but praise for this small business. I’ve had no problems with shipping, and great customer service on software problems (AIP4WIN). I purchased Uranometria from them at NEAF, and since Tirion was there, they got him to autograph each book and write a small dedication too.

Beyond that, not one, but two of my friends have won the book package (over a grand in value) that they donate for Stellafane’s raffle each year. The only ‘problem’ there was carrying all of those books back to our camp.






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