New shipping rates

Posted on February 9, 2010 (Subscribe to Blog)

A while back I mentioned that I had subscribed to CreateSpace's expanded distribution channel, meaning that my books would be become more widely available. Well, after six or seven weeks, I've changed my mind and unsubscribed.

Being subscribed to the EDC in theory means that my books show up in the Ingram's database so that U.S. bookstores can order them as they order other books. But, as I've discovered, that doesn't mean to say that bookstores will order them. In fact, I've heard of bookstores refusing to order self-published books even when a customer specifically requests it; it's like they don't want to be anywhere near them. Well, I can understand that, I suppose, as there are many, many poorly written or produced books. But it means that being included in the Ingram's database is almost pointless.

The EDC also allows your books to show on Amazon outside the U.S. True enough, within weeks, both books showed up on Canada's Amazon as well as Amazon in France and other European countries. But the UK's Amazon is another story. This is the one I really wanted to show up on, but after six or seven weeks it still only lists my books via third party sellers at varying ridiculous prices, which is not ideal.

I've come to the conclusion that this expanded distribution thing is not all it's cracked up to be for self-published authors. Apart from a few sales on Amazon.com each month, all my sales are via my website, and these are books I personally sign and dispatch. And I prefer it that way. The only snag is that international shipping is expensive.

So, in an effort to make my books more accessible to those outside the U.S., I've decided to swallow more than half the international shipping cost. Previously I was charging $9.95, even though the actual shipping cost was $10.76 to send one book and $12.95 to send two. Now I've lowered my rates as follows:

  • $3.95 flat rate for one or more books delivered in the U.S.
  • $5.95 flat rate for one or more books delivered anywhere else in the world

If you haven't already, take advantage of me and buy one or both books here.

Comment by RALPH CORDEROY on Thursday, February 11, 2010...

Interesting. I had looked for them on Amazon UK and saw what you described. Have you considered alternative means of paying for purchases directly from you for those of us who are wary of Paypal? E.g. Google Checkout which, I understand, charges you the same for processing.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Thursday, February 11, 2010...

I haven't, but I will. I nearly got myself a Google Checkout account once before, but never got around to it. Thanks for the suggestion! :-)

Comment by STEPHEN ISABIRYE on Monday, February 15, 2010...

Keith,

I actually share your viewpoints pertaining to the Lightning Source avenue that would theoretically enhance the distribution of self-published books. In my opinion, unless a self-published book appears on prominent talkshow programs like the Oprah Winfrey Show (incidentally a couple of some self-published books have aired on the Oprah show, but those titles are in an absolute minority), the chances of a self-published book being ordered by a traditional bookstore/bookshop are virtually next to nil, because of the stigma and stereotypes attached to self-published books as you have already pointed out.

A traditional bookstore like Barnes and Noble through special financial arrangements with self-publishers like LightSource and IUniverse will give you an opportunity to book-sign your book maybe for a day or two,but they will not stock it. This is what happened to a prospective writer like Susanne Severeid who self-published with IUniverse and got the opportunity to book-sign her book in the Barnes and Noble bookstore (as one of the photos in her website shows and suggests), but her book was not stocked in the BN stores apparently because of its sef-published status.

So most of us-self-published authors, our salvation lies with Amazon.com. The disadvantage, like, you, is that being at the mercy of Amazon brings with its own disadvantages. For instance, since my book, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage deals with issues that would interest more people outside out of the US, unscrupulous sellers or vendors have hijacked the Amazon (UK) division and placed my book there at outrageous prices. Unless those books, whether they are described as "new " or "used" are bought, hopefully by a very benevolent book collector, Amazon (UK division) cannot place new copies (that are at the regular prices) there. So, it may appear that buyers or prospective buyers that may want to purchase the book at Amazon (UK) - where most Blyton fans and readers are located - may be in for quite a long wait and that is the dilemma facing the placing of The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage at Amazon (UK). I just hope that those books are purchaed miraculously fast by a benevolent collector of books so that Amazon (UK division) places its regularly-priced and affordable copies of my book there. This is is my ardent hope. Let us hope a miracle happens sooner than later on this aspect.

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