Hold on International Shipping

29 Oct

NOTE 1: This post does not apply to international orders purchased from the store prior to 10/29.

NOTE 2: I am aware there are other methods/options/opportunities/fish-in-the-sea. I am looking into these.

International shipping will be discontinued from the store until I can find a method that doesn’t screw negatively affect me in terms of my time and money.

90 minutes writing out forms + 48 minutes in line + 8 packages = huge net loss

90 minutes writing out forms + 28 minutes in line + 9 packages = huge net loss

I mailed the first batch of international orders of Digital Divide today.  This was my test batch. I have another, much larger, batch to do tomorrow. A total of 7 international packages and 2 domestic packages were mailed today, for a total of $127.40 in shipping.  I’m rounding down to make the math easy, so let’s say it was $7 for domestic shipping with $120 for international shipping, or $17 on average per international package.

This was not an anticipated expense. I had weighed the packages and priced out shipping, and costs came to approx. $9 for the UK and Canada, and $14 to Australia. The price for shipping and handling in the store reflected these expenses.

This was also not the first time I went to the post office to mail these books. It was the third. The first time, I was told it was now policy to complete my custom forms online. The second time, I was told the online custom forms were invalid and needed to be submitted manually. Today, I went with a stack of old forms, the ones where you have to write out your information, the buyer’s information, and a tiny bill of lading to tell inspectors what’s in the package.  The clerk took those seven forms, then painstakingly entered this information in the computer.  It took her nearly thirty minutes to finish my transactions.

It’s not like the final total was a surprise–I had watched the numbers climb as the clerk worked, and I knew something was off when the Canadian shipping costs came back at $10.55 and the UK costs at $16.95.  They continued to go up from there.  I had a lot of time to think (pulling out a book and reading at the counter seemed like a dick move), so I did math instead: It costs me $5.05 to print each copy, plus $35 to have them shipped to me, plus $0.60 for packing materials, plus at least a dollar of my time for handling because I’m not using that time for paid work, I’m doing brainmath instead, whee goodtimes, so that’s an investment of $6.95 in each book… I was charging $8.95 for shipping to Canada, so that’s not too bad a loss, I’m still ahead by a few bucks, but outside of Canada… aw hell.

(The flat rate for international shipping begins at $19.95. Not-quite-ironically, none of the packages made it there.)

So, yeah. Today pooched me hard, tomorrow will pooch me harder. Nothing to do about it since these packages need to go out. However, until I can expect predictability in international shipping and charge accordingly, I have disabled international orders from the store for all products except digital downloads. I apologize for any inconvenience.

/angry rant off

5 Responses to “Hold on International Shipping”

  1. Hannah Bledstein October 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    KB

    So sorry you got stuck with that mess. I do a fair amount of international shipping using USPS and across the board the prices made a huge jump recently. If you want some suggestions for streamlining the process e-mail me. Best of luck.

    HB

    • KBSpangler October 29, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

      Right now, I’m doing the Excel spreadsheet thing of cost-versus-time-versus-notbeingadicktomyinternationalreaders to see where the best outcomes are likely to be found. I know USPS isn’t doing this to target small business owners specifically, it’s simply a volume thing, and they’re hurting too, but still. I priced out those books by weight and packing material about a month ago, and it’s absurd to see a 75% fee increase within that time.

  2. John October 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    I’m not surprised. Massive hikes of shipping costs to buy things from the US is the reason why I don’t make orders from US companies any more. It’s just not worth the cost of shipping to have something sent to me, when it can often double the price of the order.

  3. Stephen November 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Does this affect APO customers?

    • KBSpangler November 5, 2013 at 12:35 am #

      Hi Stephen, I would absolutely make an exception for APO services. Just contact me if you’d ever like to order something.

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