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.