Book Depository Competitions



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    Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Featuring original cover art by Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, these stunningly creepy deluxe hardcovers will be perfect additions to the shelves of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal aficionados everywhere.

    blog imageBeing horror literature fans ourselves, we have endless debates over which is the scariest book of all time. To settle this once and for all, we thought we'd ask our customers to share the book that made them sleep with the lights on and look twice under the bed. The results will be revealed a few weeks before Halloween and they'll be the most frightening reading list of all time. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    Just tell us below which is the most terrifying book you've ever read and you'll be in with a chance to win 3 sets of the Penguin Horror series! The competition ends on Friday 4 October.

    Update: Competition extended to Monday 7 October.

    Update -- winners: Alexander Theihzen, Alex Burchmore, Oliver Robinson The results of our survey are here!

    Competition now closed

    Posted by Anna Anna

    Categories: competition, Horror

    Scariest books

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    1. 1. No purchase necessary. Proof of entering is not proof of receipt of entry.

      2. To be eligible, entries must be received on or before the competition closing date. All entries shall become the property of The Book Depository, and their directors, officers, representatives, advertising and promotional agencies are not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.

      3. The competition is open to all excluding residents of Italy. Parents/guardians must submit the entry for those under the age of 16. Images must not contain photographs of minors without an adult's consent.

      4. The prize winner will be decided by The Book Depository. The Book Depository will not enter into correspondence about the choice of winner.

      5. The competition ends as specified on the competition page -- no entry received after that time will be considered. The winner will be announced as specified on the competition page. There is one prize

      6. The promoter reserves the right to amend the specification of the prize or offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.

      7. The prize winner will be notified by telephone/email. If the selected entrant does not meet all of the contract conditions, another entrant will be selected from the remaining eligible entries.

      8. The competitions are not open to employees of The Book Depository and their sponsors or their immediate families.

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      17. The Promoters have organised these prize draws in good faith and do not accept liability relating to the prize.


    1. Cynthia Colby's avatar Cynthia Colby

      Oh - the book was Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I haven't been able to read it since!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 23:35
    2. Cynthia Colby's avatar Cynthia Colby

      I stayed up until 3am reading, and I had to go to the bathroom, but I was too afraid to walk down the hall in the dark. So I woke up my husband Bob and made him walk me to the bathroom and wait to walk me back. He wasn't too thrilled about it, but I wasn't going down that dark hallway alone!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 23:34
    3. Paul Owen's avatar Paul Owen

      Alan Garner's sequel to the excellent Wierdstone of Brisingamen,(probably) aimed at young teens, but an excellent read for anyone. It takes you on a tumble through a positively stanic - though purely pagan - witch in the Morrigan as realised from the Badb, demonic possession of a young girl with her soul dispelled into the depths; power as an amoral force that wades hip deep (literally) in blood and finally an ending that is terrifying in its desolation for the main protagonist as even in a form of victory her soul is again stripped and left forever yearning for things she cannot have trapped in its mortal body. Scary stuff for an adult let alone a 13 year old. Paul O

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 23:19
    4. Lora McGinlay's avatar Lora McGinlay

      I chose The Turn of The Screw although I suppose I found it more disturbing than scary, especially by the end. I've never so much wanted to rip two children out the pages of a book to get them away!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 22:48
    5. Keith Chartier's avatar Keith Chartier

      Scariest book? Really none....but creepiest? Adam Nevill's LAST DAYS. It gets under your skin, and makes you look a little closer at shadows creeping along your walls!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 22:16
    6. ED Sidorsky's avatar ED Sidorsky

      Frankenstein got me as a kid. The thought of animating the dead kept me awake at night for a year. We lived in an old house that was built in the 1770's and that house creaked and groaned at night like any haunted house you have ever read about. I would pull the covers up to my chin and watch the shadows move across the floor and walls like ghosts. I could vividly imagine The Monster coming to take me away. :0

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 22:15
    7. Bev Butler's avatar Bev Butler

      Rupert the Bear used to scare the hell out of me as a child. Don't understand it at all as an adult!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 21:52
    8. Laurel Connell's avatar Laurel Connell

      I don't know about the scariest ever, but the first scariest book i read, the one that left an impact on me, the one i still remember today. When I was 14 or 15, we read poems by edgar allen poe, and The Raven, really had me enthralled, my imagination was in overdrive, I could picture it come alive in my mind. When I went home that night and laid down to go to sleep, I swear! as i lay there still trying to fall asleep...there was a voice in my pillow that whispered "never never" right into my ear! I was up like a shot and threw my pillow on the floor for fear it was harbouring some evil raven spirit, I eventually fell asleep balled up at the other end of the bed away from where the pillow was and pillow stayed on the floor. haha whew even now i'm looking at my pillows saying "don't get any ideas!!" never been so scared or freaked out in my life. haha well....time to go read something cheery now!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 21:37
    9. Athena Vasiliki Vidinioti's avatar Athena Vasiliki Vidinioti

      It by Stephen King. It left me with a real scare... clowns... and as Samfrom Supernatural said in an episode "Clowns are creepy and they kill people" I watched it quite young and it left an impression.

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 20:47
    10. Joseph Hayes's avatar Joseph Hayes

      On Guard Duty in the Sinai Desert in December 1973, wind and rain pitch dark in a tent boy was it seary.

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 20:35
    11. Shirley Dougan's avatar Shirley Dougan

      Gerald Durrell is known for his animal stories so the story entitled "The Entrance" was a surprise in that it is quite macabre. This was the first "scary" story I ever read and it had a nasty undertone throughout. Quite unsettling and with a sort of "gothic" feel to it. There's an oppressive sense of tension in the tale which leads the main character inevitably to his fate. I avoided mirrors for some days afterwards. Creepy.

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 20:33
    12. Steven Douglas's avatar Steven Douglas

      Not a scarefest or dread horror but one perfect for Halloween - Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. TV scare was Salem's Lot (when it was shown over a couple of nights). What's that scratching at the window...

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 19:38
    13. Kate's avatar Kate

      Definitely Dracula by Bram Stoker!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 19:20
    14. SharaLee Podolecki's avatar SharaLee Podolecki

      Hannibal by Thomas Harris!!!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 19:13
    15. Julia Skinner's avatar Julia Skinner

      So difficult to choose! Still love Frankenstein, keep meaning to read The Monk, but have chosen Richard Matheson's I Am Legend as a truly unthinkable scenario....

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 17:27

      i choosed one from some it could be others as well like DRACULA THE MONK/ EVEN BIOGRAPHY OF MURDERES LIKE MANSON

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 16:20
    17. Heidi's avatar Heidi

      Pet sematary. Scared the living daylights out of me!

      Posted Thu, 03 Oct 2013 14:43
    18. Gary Green's avatar Gary Green

      I would love to win this prize.

      Posted Wed, 02 Oct 2013 16:35
    19. Inette Rojas's avatar Inette Rojas

      Frankenstein and The Haunting of Hill House are two of my all time favorite books! What an amazing collection Guillermo Del Toro is my favorite director!!

      Posted Wed, 02 Oct 2013 06:13
    20. john's avatar john

      Pet Sematary, there are scarier Stephen King books, but i read this quite young and Grady's descent into madness really freaked me out :) Still love the hell out of it 20 years on

      Posted Tue, 01 Oct 2013 06:48
    21. Lauren's avatar Lauren

      Deadly Origins scared me for a good week after I finished it. The way the murderer in it was described and what he did freaked me out to no end- and if that didn't scare me enough the short snippets of the book portrayed in short videos on the internet gave me a very solid, terrifying image

      Posted Mon, 30 Sep 2013 15:48
    22. Simone Loukota's avatar Simone Loukota

      American Psycho -Psychological Thrillers/Horrors always terrify me they my mind because it is something that could happen it scares me to this day!!

      Posted Mon, 30 Sep 2013 10:35
    23. John Lia's avatar John Lia

      Definitely Stephen Kings Salem's Lot and Brian Lumley's HP Lovecraft tales.

      Posted Mon, 30 Sep 2013 08:49

      Pet Sematary. When Louis encounters the St Elmo's fires. I was trembling. Read and reread again and still got the same reaction.

      Posted Sun, 29 Sep 2013 14:58
    25. Ana's avatar Ana

      I picked one of the Goosebumps series books. I might sound juvenile but I was really young when I read it and it left quite the impression. Now I'm older, and I love horror but sometimes I think I'm becoming increasingly unaffected by it. All these books look mighty scary though. Also, I *love* Guillermo del Toro.

      Posted Sat, 28 Sep 2013 19:27

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