The impact of shipping costs to overseas KickStarters (and business in general).

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I know in the US, we have media mail, which makes it pretty easy and cheap to ship RPG books (roughly $5-$7 a package). But media mail doesn't exist for international shipping. Looking at the USPS rates for packages, and the shipping is insane. About as much as the RPG book itself. Forget FedX or UPS, as the prices are nearly triple. I feel like I'm missing something, because it looks like if you want to back a kickstarter for and RPG book and live in a different country from where it's being manufactured, you need to expect to pay a ton for shipping. And as someone who has done KS in the past, it doesn't feel right to me to make a note that shipping outside of the US will be $40 or more for a book that would retail for about $60. It doesn't seem fair to those folks. But the alternative is to only allow physical products in the US only, which also doesn't sound fair. Is there an international version of media mail I'm missing out on? If you've mailed books overseas, what method do you use?

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
You don't ship books overseas individually. You need a fulfillment partner to warehouse and distribute stock for you. Then you ship the stock to them in one go (saving you tons of money). We print in Lithuania, and have fulfillment partners in the UK and the US, which covers most of the world well enough. Fulfillment companies specialize in this, taking the shipping logistics out of your already too-long list of worries.

If you're doing low quantities and that isn't feasible, then DTRPG has print-on-demand fulfillment centers in the US and the UK.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
You don't ship books overseas individually. You need a fulfillment partner to warehouse and distribute stock for you. Then you ship the stock to them in one go (saving you tons of money). We print in Lithuania, and have fulfillment partners in the UK and the US, which covers most of the world well enough. Fulfillment companies specialize in this, taking the shipping logistics out of your already too-long list of worries.

If you're doing low quantities and that isn't feasible, then DTRPG has print-on-demand fulfillment centers in the US and the UK.
That's the conundrum. I'd really need 750 or so books to make offset printing affordable, but you'd need a lot more than that to warrant different fulfillment locations. I.e., it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me to have 800 books, but only 50 are in the UK, 50 in other EU countries, and a few dotted in other countries around the world. You'd only be shipping 100-200 to a European fulfillment center, and that doesn't seem like it would work very well.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
That's the conundrum. I'd really need 750 or so books to make offset printing affordable, but you'd need a lot more than that to warrant different fulfillment locations. I.e., it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me to have 800 books, but only 50 are in the UK, 50 in other EU countries, and a few dotted in other countries around the world. You'd only be shipping 100-200 to a European fulfillment center, and that doesn't seem like it would work very well.
No, at those volumes you'd be thinking along the lines of PoD printing by DTRPG, which is printed and dispatched locally.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
No, at those volumes you'd be thinking along the lines of PoD printing by DTRPG, which is printed and dispatched locally.
So...just tossing ideas. Let's say you get 800 US orders, and 100 International. You could do offset printing for US orders, then for international orders use DTRPG? That would kinda suck for the international orders because DTRPG POD isn't going to have the quality of an offset with glossy coated premier color interior. Hmm...
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
So...just tossing ideas. Let's say you get 800 US orders, and 100 International. You could do offset printing for US orders, then for international orders use DTRPG? That would kinda suck for the international orders because DTRPG POD isn't going to have the quality of an offset with glossy coated premier color interior. Hmm...
Or vice versa, but yeah. Though I wouldn't feel comfortable charging the same price for lower quality books, and you'd likely get backlash. Or do the whole lot via PoD.
 

Mezuka

Hero
So...just tossing ideas. Let's say you get 800 US orders, and 100 International. You could do offset printing for US orders, then for international orders use DTRPG? That would kinda suck for the international orders because DTRPG POD isn't going to have the quality of an offset with glossy coated premier color interior. Hmm...
800 is low quantity for printing. It's best to use POD.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I've already gotten quotes that 750 minimum allows offset glossy coated printing at just under the cost-per-unit than a POD would be. Drop below that and it goes up like a rocket.
Go above it and it drops like a rocket! At just 2K or so you’ll be paying a fraction of the pod cost. Most publishers get enough to fulfil their Kickstarter and enough to continue to sell afterwards.
 

Mezuka

Hero
I've already gotten quotes that 750 minimum allows offset glossy coated printing at just under the cost-per-unit than a POD would be. Drop below that and it goes up like a rocket.
I used to manage magazine quotes for 5,000 to 50,000 units. As Morrus said 2000+ is better. Price per unit drops fast. Once the printer is running and adjusted, it drops incrementally. At low numbers (1000 or less) you are essentially paying to start the printer and not getting any benefit of producing a larger quantity for a fraction of the price.
 

thirdkingdom

Adventurer
Publisher
You don't ship books overseas individually. You need a fulfillment partner to warehouse and distribute stock for you. Then you ship the stock to them in one go (saving you tons of money). We print in Lithuania, and have fulfillment partners in the UK and the US, which covers most of the world well enough. Fulfillment companies specialize in this, taking the shipping logistics out of your already too-long list of worries.

If you're doing low quantities and that isn't feasible, then DTRPG has print-on-demand fulfillment centers in the US and the UK.
May I ask who the printer you use is, @Morrus?
 

delericho

Legend
This is one of the reasons all my recent Kickstarters have been at a PDF reward level only. That, a lack of shelf space, and the fact that all my gaming has been online only in the last two years.
 




Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Well, If you are in the Sweden (think it is the same for the rest of the EU), not only very high shipping cost fo things from the US, but also have to pay custom fee and VAT... Yeah it gets very expensive.. 😧
Canada has the same problem. And don’t even look at the costs to ship to Brazil!
 

schneeland

Adventurer
Well, If you are in the Sweden (think it is the same for the rest of the EU), not only very high shipping cost fo things from the US, but also have to pay custom fee and VAT... Yeah it gets very expensive.. 😧
Yes, same here (Germany). The effect is that ever since the shipping costs from the US skyrocketed, I barely pledge for physical items anymore.

So the best thing a campaign can do is to offer a PDF at a reasonable price, and individual shipping for those people who really want it. Bonus points if you offer a pledge level for retailers (we have a shop here in Germany that has specialized in a broad selection of indie titles and sometimes pledges for a couple of printed copies, which are then shipped in a bulk, making it a bit cheaper).
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Canada has the same problem. And don’t even look at the costs to ship to Brazil!
I've also heard from several people in Brazil that mail gets lost all the time unless it's the highest tier, which of course makes it even more expensive. IIRC, DTRPG has restrictions on mailing to Brazil.
 

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