As a new author starting out you may be wondering the best approach to packing and shipping your books.
There are basically a few approaches that we find work well for new authors with one book title and initial inventory.
Pack and ship as you go ~
- buy your padded or cardboard envelopes, whichever ones you find offer best protection for shipping
- get your package weighed at shipping place (e.g., Canada Post, UPS, Fed Ex, etc.) – so you have an idea what to charge your purchasers to cover your shipping and don’t forget to add envelope cost
- when you get an order, package and go to shipping place to send
Pre-paid pack and ship ~
- purchase pre-paid envelopes/boxes (which may allow you to include a number of items, as long as they meet criteria for inclusion and fit the container)
- with this option you can determine a set amount that you can charge knowing it will cover cost (for a certain number of books that fit in the container) – this might afford you the opportunity to encourage multi-sales as purchasing more books saves purchasers on individual shipping charges
- when you get an order, package and ship (you may or may not have to go to shipping place depending on their set-up)
For Canadian authors starting out, we like the Canada Post shipping services:
If the book is the right size it might be able to go as letter/document mail (regular envelope or large envelope), which reduces costs for your purchasers; otherwise you will send as a parcel. There is a handy calculator here that you can use to check cost based on your package size and places to which you expect to ship your book.
Another option is Expedited Parcel/XpressPost. You can ship as you receive orders, getting parcels weighed and sent, and this includes tracking number and insurance. Or, if you get the pre-paid envelopes, then you can pop in the post box or drop off at post office. Please refer to Canada Post ‘XpressPost info page’ for specific details.
NOTE: If you sign-up for the Canada Post Small Business Program (replacing VentureOne), you receive discounts based on the volume you are shipping over a period of time. As well, Expedited Parcel is the same cost as regular parcel but has tracking number, set delivery time and insurance. Again, please refer to Canada Post ‘Small Business Program page’ for details.
More tips ~
- If you are using the online calculators to check costs, go by the highest cost for the service you are choosing, add your envelope cost and round up – this helps cover ship and materials costs and also a little of your time to pack and post.
- Offer bulk sales, ask people to contact you to find out costs and weigh the number of books they wish to order OR offer free shipping for orders for a certain number of books (pre-weigh and evaluate costs so you know the number of books to offer, i.e., selling more books at once save you time and helps move your inventory).
If you are looking for shipping support and have signed up for an Amazon Seller Account, then fulfillment by Amazon might be a good option:
- you send a quantity of books to them
- they store the books and fill orders when purchasers buy books (purchases may be eligible for such as super-saver shipping, gift wrap, etc.)
- shipping charges are part of the Amazon.ca transaction that is covered with purchase
- besides the fee that they take for each sale (after all they are distributing through their wide-reaching online store), there are also fees for storage and handling (someone has to pick up the book(s) off the storage shelf and pack to send out).
- It is your responsibility to read all of the information carefully regarding any related fees for the option you choose to use.
- TRIMATRIX Management Consulting Inc. (“TRIMATRIX”) has no connection with service providers and are simply providing this information for general reference. It is the author’s responsibility to review all terms/conditions etc., of the particular service to ensure comfort and compliance with the official terms & conditions, and make their own decision whether service is a fit for them.
- TRIMATRIX does not provide accounting advice in any form, situations are based on individual circumstances and authors must consult qualified accounting experts regarding their situation, best approach and any and all requirements in regard to accounting.