10/11/2018 at 4:02 pm #50060luckysparrowParticipant
I keep a small inventory of 50-75 books on Amazon. I ship them out myself. I only sell books that are $20 or over. Lots of art and textbooks. It’s a small, passive income stream. Last December I sold $450 worth of books, so it’s been worth it.
On Monday (Columbus Day, when the post office is closed) I sell a book for $22. The buyer requests 2 day express shipping. They pay $14.95 for this. No problem, I think. On Tuesday morning, I go to print out the shipping label and see that the only shipping available to me is USPS express. The book easily fits in an flat rate letter sized envelope, however the cost of the label is actually $22! There are no other shipping options that appear in the shipping dialogue. I go ahead and pay for the $22 label, so I can get the item to the customer. After fees and postage, my earnings on the transaction are: $6.44, which is only a couple more dollars than I paid for the book in the first place. UGH!
So I contact Amazon. First of all, it’s hard to find contact info for Amazon seller customer service! Then, I finally email them with my problem. I get a response that basically said, “sellers are responsible for pricing their items to compensate for shipping costs.” I email again, and here is the response:
I understand the shipping cost for this order didn’t cover the full amount you spent on shipping against this order. I would like to inform you that to edit the shipping settings you need to update the seller account to Professional as Individual seller’s do not have the option to change/edit the shipping settings or charges.
For future I would like to suggest you to upgrade your selling plan so that you will not get charge extra to ship products.
I am frustrated and have no idea how to “upgrade my selling plan.”
I’ve ended all my Amazon listings and am moving them over to my ebay store.
Has anyone else encountered these issues? Have you navigated Amazon’s clunky seller interface so that you don’t get ripped off by shipping charges? Is it even worth it to sell books on Amazon anymore?
10/11/2018 at 4:33 pm #50062ClarityParticipant
If you change to the professional selling account you can set up your own shipping rates. I haven’t had any issues contacting Amazon’s customer service for sellers. Here’s the number I use: 1 (888) 280-4331. If I had been in your situation, I would have shipped it priority mail instead since Amazon didn’t pay you enough to ship it Express.
10/11/2018 at 4:33 pm #50063Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
I also sold books on Amazon- past tense! The shipping rates were set slightly below the actual rates, so I lost a few pence in shipping costs. This shipping-rate ripoff has been going on for years; I use “ripoff” because it helps Amazon promote itself as the “cheapest” source of books. “Have you seen one cheaper? Let us know.” as they say.
What really ticked me off was the vendors using automated pricing software to undercut prices on virtually a real-time basis. So I’d list a book at say 5.49, and within a day World of Books or some other outfit would have repriced their copy at 5.38. And so on… I did think, but I never tried it, to use this to drive down the price of a book I wanted to buy!
Here in the UK the system works like this. A friend has a volunteer job in a thrift shop, sorting through the books. Those deemed unsaleable are put in bags and sold by the ton to WoB or similar. He “chucks out” half a ton of books a week, and that is one shop in one middle-sized city.
The charity receives (I think) 75 GBP per ton. The books are taken to warehouses, where they’re sorted into saleable and waste, and either listed or pulped. I suspect the “big boys” have large postal concessions, a bit like the Chinese!
There’s a lot more flexibility in selling books on eBay- like doing bundles of books on a particular subject, listing the book not in the book section but in another section (e.g. golf books in the golf section), setting a decent p&p.
10/11/2018 at 5:50 pm #50065almastyParticipant
Weird, I thought everyone had to set up their own shipping rate tables. I would just take off the option of 2 day mail and stick to priority and media mail shipping.
Sometimes, you have to eat the cost of shipping in order to comply with your stated shipping method in order to keep the customer happy. It is not unusual to get a Prio order for a book that goes across the country and costs $5 more to ship than originally charged for. Oh well. Higher priced books can absorb this sort of extra charge.
06/15/2019 at 9:24 am #63493debitendcreditsParticipant
- Location: Albuquerque, NM
On Ebay when I don’t like the shipping method that the system pushes on me, I just buy the postage myself and manually enter the tracking number. Does Amazon allow this?
06/17/2019 at 12:02 am #63547So Cal JoeParticipant
I’m curious as to why you would have to buy the postage outside of Ebay.
What postage are you trying to buy that Ebay won’t allow?
Generally, you can select whatever shipping you want on the shipping page.
Are you talking about UPS or DHL or something like that?
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