I don’t make a lot of profit per-book, but I am keeping the books in circulation, out of the landfills, and I’m increasing available free space on my own shelves for more books or less clutter; always a good thing.
Back in May of 2007, the USPS changed their shipping rates, which affected the costs of shipping things like books and DVDs, especially overseas.
With these new rates, there is no longer a “ground” (boat) method of sending materials overseas. It must go via air rates. This means a significant increase in shipping costs.
Unfortunately, Amazon has not yet compensated for these changes 7 months later
Case in point: I was shipping a book to Spain yesterday to fulfill an order. The book’s price on Amazon Marketplace was $14.99. Amazon calculated the final destination (Gernika, Bizkaia in Spain), and added $12.49 on top of the selling price to cover the shipping costs.
Normally, this would be sufficient to ship the book via “ground” method to Spain. Now that all overseas shipments have to go by air, the cost to ship alone was $36.00 USD. That’s almost 3 times what Amazon charged the buyer for shipping the item.
Item Subtotal: $14.99 Shipping: $12.49 ------------------------------ Total: $27.48
In other words, I not only lost any profit on the sale of this book, I also lost $8.52 out of my own pocket to ship this book.
I sold another item on the same day, and the profit and shipping for that item (going to Australia), and that recouped some of the costs, but the margins were razor thin.
I have to wonder why Amazon hasn’t compensated for the shipping changes and charges. Granted, I’m using the United States Postal Service to ship these items, but maybe I should be looking at shipping via UPS, FedEx or DHL.
Another option, is to just disable the ability for overseas shipments and sales in all of my items. Unfortunately, this cuts about 30% of my sales right off the top; probably not a good idea.