Free Shipping From QPB: Just Pay Shipping And Handling

Jon received this e-mail from the book club QPB. It promises free shipping, and a free travel set, if he pays shipping and handling. That shipping is on the travel set, we presume, but no one can really be sure.

“Mind you, this is the corrected version of the e-mail, the one they really scrutinized….” Jon wrote.



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  1. Shoelace says:

    Some thanks…either the shipping isn’t free or the free travel set isn’t free. Wonder what they offer their not-best customers.

  2. Nick1963 says:

    And the other offer wasn’t correct?

  3. EdnaLegume says:

    I read that as you get free shipping on your book order, a free tote set, but you pay shipping on the tote set.

    still stupid. keep the cheap tote set thank you.

  4. laffmakr says:

    Wow, I’d forgotten they were around. I bought an awful lot of books from them back in the mid-80s. Plus I got a really cool coffee mug featuring a caricature of Mark Twain.

    Thanks for the link.

    • Benny Gesserit says:

      Yeah, back then they were the adult equiv. of Scholastic Books – interesting books and cheap for the “just out of college”.

      Then there was a merger (or maybe just “closer business relationship”) with (sigh) Book of the Month and their funky offerings got decidedly more mainstream and, well, boring.

  5. ben says:

    Yeah, that’s completely unclear. If they are offering free shipping on the travel set, it would make more sense to say something like, “Free Travel Set. We’ll even pay the S&H. (When you buy two or more books, plus S&H.)”

    On the other hand, if they’re offering the free shipping on the books, it would make more sense to say something like, “Free shipping when you buy two or more books. Plus, a free travel set. (Just pay S&H.)”

    The way they’ve phrased it, there’s really no way to know which item(s) you’re paying shipping oin.

  6. frodolives35 says:

    Is it poor marketing or a slick legal department.

  7. Razor512 says:

    the companies have a deal with shipping companies where they pay very little to ship something to you, they also have additional savings when items are combined into 1 shipment, thats why with many stores you can add 1 item and spend $3 to ship, but if you add 2 items, it still stays at $3 or only goes up by like 5 cents

    based on this ad, when you buy 2 books with out free shipping, they will throw in a “free” travel set thing (which is one way or another going to be worked into the total price)

    the travel set will not increase your shipping cost, so the travel set has free shipping but the books do not and all of it will be put into 1 box so in reality, you probably save nothing on shipping or at most 5 cents

    you are paying shipping and you are most likely paying for the travel set also

    • thnkwhatyouthnk says:

      I didn’t think it was possible, but you just confused me more than the above advertisement. Do you even know what you are talking about?

      • Saites says:

        I think he’s saying there’s no such thing as a free travel package. If they’re giving it away, somebody is paying the cost of manufacturing it. Chances are, they’re just raising the price on books to subsidize the cost of the promotion.

        He’s also saying that, since you’ll have to pay some shipping charges (either on the books or on the travel set, it really doesn’t matter which), you’re really paying shipping as well, as they’ll likely just drop everything in the same box anyway. Therefore, you’re not saving anything, or maybe at most a few cents.

        I can’t promise it’s a good argument, but I think that’s what he’s trying to get across.

  8. Colonel Jack O'neill says:

    Instead of this Jon making a big deal out of nothing, he should go and call the company to clear it up.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      You’re missing the point.

    • MauriceCallidice says:

      You’re missing the point, Jack. They’re advertising free shipping when you pay for shipping. It doesn’t matter what the “real” explanation is, it’s an absurdly worded ad, and a supposedly corrected one no less.

      Have Carter explain it to you.


    Sounds to me like the books ship for free, but you have to pay shipping on the travel set. That’s how I read it, anyway. I wonder what the first ad said. And if you can opt out of the travel set.

  10. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

    Books are shipped at a discounted rate under “Media Mail” (which used to be called “Book Rate”) which includes books and recorded media.

    The Tote set is not media, and therefore is shipped separately, and you pay s&h for the tote set.

    Think of media mail like this… When they load up the truck with mail, the Priority Mail goes first, then Parcel Post, and if there’s any room left on the truck, the media mail… (lowest priority)

    As for the ad, maybe the wording was a bit confusing… Free Shipping, just pay shipping & processing (THat’s a new one, usually called handling)