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International shipping for the better world book kickstarter  RSS feed

 
gardener
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I originally posted this in this thread but I've decided to copy it here to be its own thread.

Apparently shipping things to the other side of the world is rather expensive. Shipping a single book over to Europe can cost $30+ for reasonable delivery time. So by ordering 1 physical book you would be paying twice for shipping as you would for the actual book. This is discouraging for me. I know I would certainly think twice about whether or not I wanted to buy.

So let's look at buying 12 books instead. If we would change the format of the book to be a different size than we had planned (and a touch thicker), then we could fit a dozen books into a USPS medium flat rate box. Which going over to Europe would cost $71 in shipping. Less than $7 per book but, still, ouch. If we were to keep the book at the planned size, the shipping will probably be closer to $100, maybe more. Because of size.

So we had a great idea. Which it turns out lots of other people have also thought of. Why print the book here and ship it there when we can just print it there and ship it there? Some folks suggested we take this path with our entire book. That way we don't have to pay any printing up front and our budget is much easier. The problem is that to do this in Canada and the US (especially the US) drastically reduces how much we could earn per book. So we decided to print a bunch of books at once with an offset printer. But now we're thinking: what about printing offset for Canada and the US and using print on demand for other countries?

After crunching some numbers, by doing print on demand for one book we might be able to lower the cost of international shipping from $35 to $20. Still not cheap, but almost half! This kinda seems like a slam dunk.

Looking at shipping 12 books again... instead of $70 or even $100 (possibly more) for international shipping, we might be able to cut it down to $40. I think this is a huge difference! Again, seems like a slam dunk...

BUT! As mentioned earlier[...], we are talking about the possibility of, if things go really really well, having Paul and I scribble in one of those 12 copies. Which means it would need to be here and then we would need to ship it internationally... adding about $35 in shipping costs.

I suppose one option is to say (again, if we do really really well and do the scribble thing) that we will only scribble in books destined for Canada or the US. Another option is to just set the shipping cost at $75 for 12 books internationally (we can't change shipping costs once the campaign launches).

So... does anyone have a better idea on how to do this?

 
pollinator
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Any chance you could entice a Canadian or European Permie to volunteer to be your "distributor" in those parts? Have them print small offset run of the book(to save your costs) locally, then ship locally from their home(to save the customer cost).

It could be a lot of work, but the process could be streamlined, and the volunteer could get a PEP badge and a free book out of it?
 
Shawn Klassen-Koop
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Dustin Rhodes wrote:Any chance you could entice a Canadian or European Permie to volunteer to be your "distributor" in those parts? Have them print small offset run of the book(to save your costs) locally, then ship locally from their home(to save the customer cost).

It could be a lot of work, but the process could be streamlined, and the volunteer could get a PEP badge and a free book out of it?



I live in the place some call Canada, so that part is already taken care of.

It's theoretically possible that we could make an arrangement with someone in Europe. But it would have to be done in a way where we were able to trust 100% that they would actually get the job done properly and not take our money and our book and run. I think that, for many reasons, it would be hard to ensure that level of trust. But I suppose it's possible.
 
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Thoughts of what worked for me (take what's useful, ignore the rest)

1. before you start the book layout get some samples of bubble mailers and other packaging and find out if changing your book dimensions a little bit will make a difference to shipping (hint, the answer is a quarter inch smaller in height can mean $5-15 less shipping even for thicker books).  Experiment.
    1.a. a thicker book gives you more spine which makes it look better on the shelf.
2. Canada Post has different rates for small business.  You need to sign up with an account to get the quotes.  They reassess you ever three months (calendar months) which
     - My book is about half the thickness of the Better World Book.  With handling and packaging, it's costing $11 to the USA and $14 for international with Canada Post Small Business.  Two or three books cost $2 more (same price for two or for three).  I suspect my book is heavier than yours because of the paper and other stuff.
3. Keep the packaging light and consistent.  Some of my envelope choices (the paper padded ones) had a variation of up to 100g - which is ample to push the package into a different price bracket.  The less the packaging weighs, the less it costs to ...
    ...ship to you
    ...ship to the customer
4. overestimate your measurements and weights for Canada Post - add 2cm and at least 10 grams.  If you undermeasure then they will charge you a fine.  The other companies charge a much steeper fine.  
 
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One thing I found with getting packages from the States to Canada was that, if shipped with USPS there were no brokerage charges. If shipped with FedEx or UPS, I'd get whacked with brokerage charges AND taxes and duty.  

I'm not sure if that's true for other countries.
 
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