I stumbled over
the Cult Pens
website a couple of years ago when I was looking for a mail order source for my beloved Pentel R56 rollerballs. I promptly bookmarked it for future use, but hadn't got around to ordering anything from them until a couple of weeks ago.
They stock a *lot* of different pens and pencils. More to the point, they stock the refills and accessories for them as well. You can buy both singly and by the box. The site has plenty of information on each line stocked, usually with their own commentary and not just the blurb from the manufacturer. It is obvious from the commentary that this place is run by pen geeks.
The sheer number of product lines makes navigating the site a slightly daunting task, but it's well laid out into sections by manufacturer, and there is a useful interactive selection guide where you can put in the features you want and what you intend to use it for, and get back recommendations. There are also very good articles on mechanical pencils and technical pens, with an in-depth look at the different types and features, and recommendations for different uses at price brackets ranging from budget to extravagant.
The prices are shown both with and without VAT. UK shipping is simple -- if your order is under 10 pounds, it's 1.50, over that it's free. They also ship internationally, with VAT deducted where appropriate.
The prices are reasonable, but generally not hugely cheap. I'm fairly sure I could have got most of the things I ordered a little bit cheaper by shopping around. But the advantage of using this site was that I could get everything at one site, all at a reasonable price, with clear information that let me decide whether it would do the job I wanted it for. I ordered 8 individual items and one box of a dozen black R50 rollerballs (which were in the Office Essentials
, a small selection of nice office pens on heavy discount).
The shopping basket is reasonably easy to use. One thing I particularly liked was that I could leave it for a couple of hours, come back, and find the basket still there. I find it annoying when a basket times out after ten minutes or so -- this is a security precaution which is useful when you have to sign into an account before you start shopping, but is simply a nuisance when the site doesn't have any of your personal information until you actually check out. The main payment method is debit or credit card, but you can also generate an order from the basket and then select "cheque" as payment method if you want to pay by post using UK cheque or postal order.
I ordered on Sunday evening, received a clear and detailed delivery note with full UK VAT receipt by email immediately, and my parcel was with me on Tuesday morning via first class post. The items were packed loose in an appropriately sized bubble mailer, without any padding inside the envelope, along with a paper copy of the delivery note. I'd hope that more expensive items would have a bit more protection, but for the items I'd ordered this was fine.
I like this site, and will be ordering from them again. The only problem is the sheer amount of temptation one has to resist. :-)
ETA: One of the people at Cult Pens has commented on the copy of the post on my WordPress bookblog, and notes "For more expensive or breakable items, we do use extra packing, or even box them. If items were arriving broken, it would cost us too much to keep replacing them."