Shipping Cost Increase for Book Orders

February 7th, 2013 | Posted in News

When I got back from my little vacation this week I had a whole pile of books to ship, and in the process of buying and printing postage labels I got a nasty surprise . . . the United States Postal Service had jacked up the price of International Priority Mail shipping…by a LOT.

It used to cost me $16.95 to ship a book via a USPS International Priority Flat Rate Envelope. New cost: $24.95!! That’s nearly a 50% increase! Canada shipping went from $12.95 to $19.95. That’s OVER 50%!!! I don’t charge anything for handling, other than rounding the cost up to the whole dollar. The shipping costs I charge are the actual costs of the postage (plus that nickel of rounding up).

I apologize to international buyers who are going to end up paying MORE than the book COST (!!) to get it shipped to them (if they buy a copy at all). I am looking into alternate methods of shipping, but UPS and Fed Ex are even worse.

The USPS is in a dreadful mess. They are cancelling Saturday mail delivery as of this summer, and remain billions in debt. This is mainly thanks to an unsustainable level of pay and benefits (especially pensions) coupled with a 2006 government mandate they pre-fund health care benefits for future retirees, and a workforce that amounts to 75% of their total expenses. Being a businessman, I know the typical target range of labor costs in any retail business is about 12%-15%. The USPS will be gone within 5 years if they don’t figure out how to fix this going forward. Meanwhile, small businesses that have been keeping the USPS afloat with package delivery get socked with a huge increase in costs that make shipping internationally basically an impossibility. You can bet this will negatively affect self-published comics and book authors who rely on reasonable shipping costs to conduct business. We are not Amazon, who get discounts due to the enormous volume they ship.

Again, sorry to any international buyers of the book. I wish I could do something about it, other than complain.


  1. jailerjoe says:

    This is just the beginning, Tom. Aren’t you one of the rich the Prez and Gov are talkin’ about:)? Gotta all pay our “fair” share. Don’t even get me goin’ on health insurance!

    • Tom says:

      Not sure how this has anything to do with taxation, and it sure doesn’t have anything to do with Obama’s policies. The Postal Service had zero debt in 2005. Then in 2006 Bush and his republican controlled congress passed a law requiring the USPS to do that prefunding for health care for future retirees (PAEA). Since that mandate, the USPS has lost money every year including over 8 billion last year. That’s why the USPS is in trouble. What should have happened at that time was a restructuring of the labor policies of the USPS, limiting their ridiculous pay and benefits to a level that matches similar blue-collar labor. That didn’t happen, so now you have this.

  2. David Lubin says:

    Tom, look into shipping via media mail, it’s a lot cheaper. Will take longer, but will decrease costs to the buyers considerably.

    • Tom says:

      That’s domestic only. I get a good rate via media mail for US buyers. It’s the international folks who are screwed.

  3. jailerjoe says:

    The Wisconsin Governor’s ideas will need to be implemented at the Federal level. The postal service along with a plethora of other programs and agencies need to be reigned in. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but our current political juggernaut’s gonna tank our dismal economy taxing and punishing those with financial intelligence.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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