I’ve been selling books, plans and books on disc online since 2002. I’ve always tried to serve everyone, regardless of where they live, and I try not to use shipping charges as a profit center. For most items, I charge the customer what I pay for the stamp and the envelope. I have an odd mix of products; some high-priced items, like Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp weigh next to nothing, and I’ve been shipping this item for free to both US and international customers. Other items, like the Great Book of Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture weigh a ton, and won’t fit in a flat rate envelope no matter how hard I try. I’m also challenged for time, so I tend to let postal rate increases slip by, rather than wade through the website to edit every “Add to Cart” button.
Recent increases in international postage rates however have made me rethink my business policies. I went to the post office yesterday with one package each of the works mentioned above, destined for Canadian addresses. The customer who purchased the CD paid nothing for shipping, and the one who purchased the book paid $9.25. Before this last increase, I would have paid about $2.00 more for postage than I received. I don’t mind that (I make it up on volume). I paid a total of $24.10 to mail these two items, $6.55 for the CD and $17.55 for the book.
I’ve reluctantly pulled the plug on selling outside the United States. Given the software that I use to process sales, and my desire not to charge shipping fees based on the dollar value of an order, I need to go through my entire site and set up duplicate buttons, one for domestic orders and another for international orders. That will take a while, so in the meantime, if you’re outside the US and want to make a purchase, e-mail for shipping costs.