Mailing rates: Update

I wrote last December about the cost of mailing my not-very-big paperback novel, The Money Tree, to Canadian destinations: $11.50. I also mentioned I’d be exploring USPO options and last week I did just that, taking ten books across the border to check out US rates. The books were going to individual winners of a Goodreads contest.

What a pleasant surprise! The cost of mailing the same book within the US was $2.79. Furthermore, there was no fussy deployment of measuring tapes that has become the practice at Canada Post. The USPO guy just dropped the book in its envelope on the scale and gave me the price.

$2.79.

I felt as though I’d been transported back in time twenty years, gazing at him with (sorry to say) my mouth slightly open until he asked finally, with a touch of impatience, if it was okay.

Pulled myself together. Very okay, I assured him.

Add a dollar per book for the “truck fee” (don’t you love free trade?) charged by Homeland Security and you’re still only looking at $3.79. Add the conversion rate and my book cost roughly CN$4.17. Still less than forty percent of the Canadian rate.

Moreover, this was first-class, meaning the books get there within a week or two.

I’m of the same mind as before. I realize Canada has a smaller population and therefore fewer economies of scale, but I’m still certain we could get lower rates with freer markets, if Canada Post were stripped of its monopoly.

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