The cost of shipping books internationally
Posted on May 8, 2013 (Subscribe to Blog)
This week I sent out pre-ordered signed paperback copies of Chamber of Ghosts. In the process of doing that, I realized that the US Postal Service doesn't want my business anymore, or anyone else's for that matter.
I used to send up to three books in a flat-rate envelope for $13.95 to anywhere in the world. Three books was a tight squeeze, but they fit, and the post office was fine with it. By the end of 2012, this flat rate had gone up to $16.95. That's quite a jump, but still acceptable. Today the same flat rate is $23.95.
Just so we're clear – the international flat-rate postage has jumped from $13.95 to $23.95 in the space of a year. Now it's cheaper to send a single book using the first-class service ($16.75) while reserving the flat-rate service for packages containing two or three books. This is all way more expensive than it used to be.
Because of this, signed paperback copies of my books are now only available to readers in the USA – unless of course anyone wants to email me and pay the ridiculous shipping, which I wouldn't recommend. Honestly, I know I'm a fabulous author and really famous and everything, but I don't think my signature is worth that much!
It's a shame, but since most of my sales are electronic these days, this shipping limitation will probably only affect a handful of readers. The trouble is, that handful are the ones who have been with me from the beginning, faithfully buying each new book as it's published. So for those readers I would still be happy to make a special arrangement. For everyone else, I'm afraid you'll have to order from Amazon wherever possible – which is easy for UK readers, but not so easy for those in Australia and other countries.
This seems to be the way of things today. Because of the internet and email and electronic books, we use the traditional post office less, and they have to recover costs any way they can. But still, how about spreading the cost a little more? I can send books anywhere in the USA via media mail for a couple of dollars even when there are three or four in the package, yet it costs at least $16.75 to send ONE book overseas, and $23.95 for two or more. Yikes!
Same in the UK. Postal charges just gone up, again. Nothing gained as people look for cheaper options. Same with everything.
I don't know why people don't just use carrier pigeons like they used to. Completely free except for the bag of bird seed.
Do you know how much it costs to ship manufacturing products, by bulk, overseas? Maybe recommend a website? Or your feedback? Really need help with this answer doing research for our business!!!!
SquishyFish, go to USPS.com and check their "Calculate Shipping" section. That's all I do, and it's generally confirmed when I go to the post office and they weigh it themselves.
Just tried to mail ONE book from Florida to Germany. Forty-five dollars! Yeesh!
just tried odering online from USA to Africa... cost for one paperback for shipping was $19.95????
I know, Disgruntled - it's sickening!
Yet, we subsidize the shipping from China to the USA... $1 is the typical charge for items to the USA.