Author Topic: Post and Handling - How Much Does It Matter To The Price Of A Book?  (Read 2990 times)

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In another thread here in this sub forum, we veered off into the discussion of the addition of what we call Shipping and Handling and what the Europeans call Postage and Handling and how much is too much and how much it adds to the cost of ordering a book.

What exactly goes into determining the cost incurred by a book seller to ship or dispatch a book to the buyer?

Does the seller charge one flat rate for everyone no matter where they are located?  Or does the seller weigh and measure each purchase and then factor in the destination to find the appropriate cost.

If the seller charges one flat fee, how does the seller determine what is a fair price for sales that send the book mere miles or kilometers or sales that send the book across the world?  In that case those who live close to the seller are being overcharged to cover the cost of shipping to those who live farther away.

What it considered "heavy" in the weight of a book?

Do you as a buyer look around to see if you can purchase the book from another seller and save some money on the shipping costs? (I do.)

Does the addition of the shipping often stop you from buying the book at all because it raises the price past what you want to pay?  (It does stop me.)

If this subject interests you, please post your comments here.  I had never thought of this until recently when we veered off into the subject on that other thread.

I just know that if a book is available from more than one source, I always check for lowest price including shipping first and then make my choice based on the condition of the book after I find out the total.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Post and Handling - How Much Does It Matter To The Price Of A Book?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 02:16:22 PM »
I buy a lot of books by post.  I always go to Amazon first, then Bookfinder.  I will not pay exorbitant  post & handling costs. That is ridiculous. And the sellers who do charge those high fees are  just milking their customers, IMO.  Postage they cannot control but the so-called "handling fee"  can be way out of line. What does it take to wrap a book for shipping for heaven's sake ?  And if the seller sell a lot of books, they have that down to an automatic procedure and could probably do it blindfolded.
 I also order a lot of books from Europe.    Usually auction catalogues, as  I  will not be there for the auction itself. Those tend to be heavy,  so for convenience I have them sent. to San Francisco, the S&H charges are  always reasonable.  With other books,, if I am not due back  in England anytime soon and I was to be assured of  getting the book before it becomes unavailable, I have it sent to my England address and collect  it/them when I next come over.  Again, I use Amazon.UK  a lot.  I  save a lot of money using Amazon, no taxes [there are no taxes on books in the UK anyway] and very generous  shipping allowance- usuallly free, depending on how much you spend. It is $25 in the US, I forget how much in The UK, but I think it is less or the equivalent.
 Bookfinder is good because they have dealers from all over the world as resources. They also often include the S&H charge in the price show. No surprises ! There are  several similar services, but I have used them for years.
 And, any dealer that  would ban me from  future purchases  due to a canelation, has already lost me as a customer.  That dealer  must be doing very well indeed if he/she can  throw customers away.
 A few years ago, I was looking for a rare, costly book. I found a seller in England who offered it. He told me  he did not have it in stock but expeted more copies soon. Well, over a year passed and not a word from hom. In the meantime, I found the volume elsewhwe and brought it home from Europe myself. It is a  large, heavy volume and postage would have been enormous. Well, after 2 years, he contacts me ofeereing the thing. I declined, explaiing I had found it elsweher. He was furious with me  and  said he would never sell to me again. I told him I had not intention of buying from someone with such and attitude towrads potential customer. He had given me the  right of first  refusal, and I refused the  itme. He is now out of business  BTW.
 So, shop around before jkumping at the first offer, especially id the   shipping/handling charge s seem higher that they should be.
 Oh, another rea
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 02:21:07 PM by Robert_Hall »
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Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Post and Handling - How Much Does It Matter To The Price Of A Book?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010, 03:47:53 PM »

Yes Robert, any person with good business sense knows that "future receipts" are what keeps one in business and profitable.
Customer service is always a good guarantee of "future receipts"!!!!  And, a nice little 'thank you note' doesn't hurt either...

Why don't people know these things as a matter of intelligent course??


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Re: Post and Handling - How Much Does It Matter To The Price Of A Book?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 03:55:37 PM »
Bob and I always shop around on the net first when looking for a book. Amazon and are good sources.  Most people don't realize that the US and UK postal services offer a "book rate" in the US and "printed paper" rate in the UK for international shipping. These are reduced rates on the weight and in most cases never exceed $15-$20 MAX for even the heaviest books.

Amazon offers free or very inexpensive shipping. Most professional booksellers have very reasonable rates, since they send books very often via the mails.  We tend to avoid booksellers that charge a large "handling fee" as wrapping a book and taking it to the post office is PART of their "cost of doing business" and we find exorbitant "handling" fees to be the hallmark of someone who is not seriously doing business.

Good communication and a pleasant policy about returns or cancellations are also hallmarks of a professional person. Petty, silly or insulting responses are again, hallmarks of someone who is not a serious business person, but a dilettante trying to make a quick buck.

Just my personal take on the subject.


Offline primrose

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Re: Post and Handling - How Much Does It Matter To The Price Of A Book?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2010, 01:14:04 AM »
I always begin with Amazon because I have their priority mailing package and pay no shipping and get second day delivery. Lately I've seen that a few of the Amazon Marketplace dealers have signed on to this program also which is an incentive if they have a book I'm looking for.

I've done some international ordering but have mostly stopped as I got stung by a purchase a few months ago -- ordered a VERY expensive book from a dealer from whom I have ordered lots in the past but two days after I ordered and paid for it the online price was cut about 75% and the dealer was indignant when I brought this to his attention in an email and wouldn't give a partial refund even though I still had not received the book. It came about 3 days later and taught me an expensive lesson.

On the other hand, when I was in London last spring I went down to Piccadilly Bookshop in Ticehurst and bought about 8-10 books and had them sent directly to my home. They arrived shortly after I did and I was amazed at how little the postage was for a box that weighed around 12 lbs! I'll definitely go back there again when I'm in London later this year.

So you win a few and you lose a few but you can also learn from experience.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

Winston Churchill

Offline katmaxoz

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Re: Post and Handling - How Much Does It Matter To The Price Of A Book?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 07:14:33 PM »
I've learnt to shop around for postage over the years. Amazon is usually my first stop, though one thing I've found recently is that they actually charge a flat rate per book, regardless of weight for books sent overseas.  I found this out because I queried a high postage cost on some paperback books I was buying from them that I knew weren't amazon postage rates work best when ordering heavy books. Something to keep in mind if you are buying from outside the US or UK.

Like other people here if the postage and "handling" costs make a book expensive and I can get the same thing cheaper elsewhere then I'll buy it from the cheapest place as these costs can add up very quickly.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Post and Handling - How Much Does It Matter To The Price Of A Book?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2010, 12:52:38 PM »
Prime membership on Amazon is a great thing to have because you can get many items shipped free.. I think that really does encourage more sales!