Shape Up Your Shipping Budget

Whether you publish independently or order books from your publisher, shipping costs will be a part of your budget. Until my most recent order, I never really looked that hard at my other options, I just logically chose to ship to my home office. I also wanted the least expensive option which, unfortunately, was non-trackable.

With my most recent order though, I looked more closely at another option-commercial ground. I discovered it was significantly cheaper than residential ground, and similar to the cheapest option in cost. But how to take advantage of that?

Then the though hit me-plenty of businesses, publishers or not, ship to warehouses, central locations etc. so why couldn't I do something like that? After just a bit more consideration, I realized my husband and I have a friend who owns an insurance office that's in an area where we both go on a regular basis for errands etc.Voila! Commercial location, commercial ground shipping prices. I simply asked permission to use his address and he was more than happy to let me send books to his location.

Of course, at this point I've only gotten a box or two of books per month so it won't effect his daily business. If I was getting some crazy amount of boxes that would pile up, that wouldn't be fair to him and I'd need another solution. In thinking about that as well, if I do get to the point where I need a few hundred books at a time, I have a possible solution for that as well. A cousin owns a tool & die shop and told me in the past that I'd be welcome to use storage space if he has it available (unfortunately since he does mostly auto work, he has plenty of space right now). Even if these options fell through, there are so many people with business connections, I'm sure I could make something work along the same line.

As most of you know, publishers and authors don't have much profit margin on most books. Even if tweaking your shipping options only saves twenty or fifty cents per book, it all adds up and can help the bottom line.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


JaxPop said...

Good points & suggestions. I usually get books delivered 100 at a time - UPS shipping costs total around $65 for that quantity. To mail a book out - specify book rate at Post Office - the cost runs about 3.25 each. (UPS is higher.) I also use padded plastic envelopes (Office Max has the best ones) to protect the book's edges & keep them from getting wet in transit - so add another 60 cents to the expense. Now you have the book cost, delivery expense of .65 ea inbound + 3.85 to ship out - "profit" at list price ends up being about $4 - which is still better than the profit on those stocked in local stores - because of the discounts. They make $6 & I make $2. Oh well. Will be in touch soon - some new stuff coming up.

Barbara Techel said...

This is great advice, Cheryl. I have many business friends right here in my little town- so I'm going to check with them for my shipments.

In regards to shipping out books to customers, I have, for now, due the economy, wanting to help and still sell books... am only chargint pretty much the actual shipping cost for books-- no markup for handling. I only live 2 minutes from the post office, so I figure I can make this work. Just another thought to maybe sell more books.

Barbara Techel
Award winning author of the Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog Book Series
My passion is bringing a positive face and voice to animals with disabilities
Frankie is Official Mascot for National Disabled Pets Day and
Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame Companion Dog

Cheryl Pickett said...

Jaxpop, I'm surprised that your PO rate is better than UPS commercial for your incoming case purchases. I think it's something we all should compare from time to time.

As far as shipping to the customer, in that case I too keep it close to the actual cost and just try to go to the PO when I'm out already since I don't live close by.

It gets tricky as postage keeps going up but book prices keep coming down!