Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Eating the US Postal-Rate Increases

Postal-rate increases are not what you want to see when you sell gluten-free recipe books online!

For all of you in the USA, you probably have seen how the US Postal Service (USPS) has increased rates yet again. The only good thing they did (in my opinion) is create that "Forever" Stamp - presuming they really honor it forever, since I am so sick of having all these postage stamps around here that keep getting outdated every year or so, and the piles of 1-cent and 2-cent stamps I need to keep around to bring my total postage up to current rates when I mail an envelope.

But, in addition to the everyday letter-rate going to 41-cents this week, I see they have completely changed the rate structure for domestic Media Mail and Priority Mail International (aka, "Global Priority Mail" before this week's rebranding). I spent this morning researching the new rates, and what it means to my gluten-free desserts book shipping charges. Basically, the Post Office raised my shipping costs by 10 or more percent across the board! Arghhh!

For domestic shipments, I plan to eat the cost-increase this time around. But, sadly, I am probably going to have to add a dollar or so to my current international shipping charges, since the post-office raised the flat-rate International Priority envelope fees by $1.50 -- but, I'm also feeling a bit lazy so I don't know when that will occur (I need to update shipping-rate tables on my website: talk about a boring task!)

I guess all these rate increases from the post-office are due to increased fuel costs to deliver mail and the like. But, there are some inconsistencies that make no sense with the rate increases: like, e.g., I noticed how if I was shipping a larger number of items at a time (weighing 10 pounds or more), the USPS rates for domestic media-mail actually went down (great for and other large book-sellers I'm sure, but no benefit for me).

Well, my costs are going up, but I plan to hold the line on domestic shipping for now, especially since my main goal is to get this gluten-free dessert recipes book out into the hand of as many people that can benefit from it as possible. At times like this though, I must admit, I do wonder if I made the book too large/heavy, since shipping sure would be more affordable if the book was a lot smaller :)


Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered turning it into an e-book? No postage, no customs forms, and no waiting on our end. Win-win all around.

Mike Eberhart said...

Sure, I considered it early on, but for a few reasons I decided not to go that route. An obvious one is because people would probably just send the e-book to everyone they knew. Next, an e-book would require people to print each recipe out to have at hand in the kitchen.

But, I do think there is a good chance the *next* book I release will be an "e-book", just because of the simplicity factor of not needing to stock and ship (physical) books out. Certainly, on that account, you are right on target.