The Penguin Leatherbound Classics are some of the most mouth-watering books to have in one’s library. There are 14 volumes designed by Waterstones Book of the Year awardee Coralie Bickford-Smith, featuring some of the world’s most beloved classics: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
I searched far and wide for these books, only to find my way back to Waterstones.com, a family of specialist bookshops spread across the UK and in Europe. They feature books of a wide variety of genres, new releases, book-of-the-month highlights—all meant to encourage the community to step in and immerse themselves in the joy of reading.
I purchased my first book from the site the night before my birthday, and tracked its journey from ‘order processing’ to its arrival here in Cagayan de Oro city. If you’re looking to order from Waterstones as well, this bookshop review gives you my first-hand experience and a tracking log of a book’s journey from the Waterstones store to the Philippines.
Day 0 — Waterstones customer service is superb
There are 13 known titles included in the Penguin leatherbound classics series, but a handful of #bookstagram posts point to a 14th title that isn’t easily accessible: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling.
I stayed up the night I saw Ashley’s post (@biblio.babble) because I’m obsessed and love the thrill of owning rare books. One post led to several others that identified the book’s location: Waterstones. Specifically the Bath branch.
With crossed fingers 🤞I emailed Waterstones Support to ask if they had copies and if it was possible to order it online. I got a response several hours after that it was available, but the link the rep gave me pointed me to the clothbound edition instead. When I clarified this, she replied that the leatherbound edition actually wasn’t available online for purchase.
Crestfallen, I replied one last time to confirm if the book really wasn’t available anymore, even at the Waterstones Bath branch. The rep then suggested I email the Bath branch directly to see if the book is available, ending the conversation with the branch’s email address.
I sent a second email to the Bath branch, sharing the same Instagram posts and my request for a copy. I got a reply a couple of hours with good news: the book is available for purchase! ⭐
The only problem now is I had to purchase it from the Waterstones website if I wanted it shipped to my Philippine address. Since this edition isn’t listed, Simon, the rep handling my request, offered to contact the team about adding it to the website.
I was all smiling from ear to ear, hoping that the Waterstones team will list the book for me. It’ll not only give me the chance to own a copy, but for everyone else who’d like to complete their Penguin leatherbound collections too.
Day 1 — I placed my first Waterstones order
The night before my birthday, I got an email from Waterstones informing me that the book is finally up on the website, and that I could place my order for the book. 🎉
I zoomed right back into my room and opened the site. Sure enough, the book is available for purchase. I bought the book, logged it into my book-buying tracker, and prayed that it’ll arrive safely and on time.
- The Jungle Books: Waterstones Exclusive Edition (Hardback) – £20
- Shipping to the Philippines – £12.50
To my surprise and delight, I got an email a few hours later that the book’s been shipped and is on its way to me via UK Royal Mail.
I was over the moon over how responsive and helpful Waterstones’ support team has been, and that they actually followed through with my request. As someone who worked in the customer support industry, I couldn’t help wishing I could join the company and offer that same level of convenience and support too. 😇
Waterstones.com tracking log
When buying from a new bookshop online, I like to track my books’ journey through a simple tracking log of when the book was shipped and when the book arrives at my doorstep.
Here’s the tracking log for my Waterstones order of Kipling’s The Jungle Books. Some of the timestamps and descriptions are taken from Royal Mail’s tracking info:
April 13 – Placed order at Waterstones.com. Was shipped out a couple of hours after.
April 14 04:44am – ARRIVED (MDN) AT HEATHROW WORLDWIDE DC
April 14 09:00am to 03:00pm – ON ITS WAY TO MANILA PHILLIPINES (UNITED KINGDOM)
April 19 01:31pm – ARRIVED IN COUNTRY MANILA PHILLIPINES (MANILA PHILLIPINES)
May 4 – Picked up the book personally at the post office.
The Cagayan de Oro city post office usually delivers my mail straight to my house, but the super long wait convinced me that it was time to pay them a visit.
As expected, the gap in between April 19th and May 4th was likely due to our post office’s usual delays when delivering packages. But thanks to the tracking number provided, I was able to pick up the package myself. The hella expensive shipping fee is well worth it if you want the confidence and assurance that your book will find its way to you.
The book is breathtaking up close. The pages are clean and the stamped linen cover justifies any decision to judge this book by its cover.
A huge thanks to Waterstones for the fantastic service and for making this available to readers around the world. I’ll definitely buy my next Penguin leatherbound classic from the site soon.