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Why are your shipping rates so high?


Customer Service

Cheliax

I've been thinking about ordering some things from you recently, but one thing has stopped me. Your outrageous shipping rates. Over 5 dollars to ship a paperback? Really? I love Paizo and would like to support you, but I don't think I can justify paying a lot more for products I get from you than if I purchase the same thing elsewhere. Are your high shipping prices really necessary?

Osirion

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
I've been thinking about ordering some things from you recently, but one thing has stopped me. Your outrageous shipping rates. Over 5 dollars to ship a paperback? Really? I love Paizo and would like to support you, but I don't think I can justify paying a lot more for products I get from you than if I purchase the same thing elsewhere. Are your high shipping prices really necessary?

Don't blame Paizo. The shipping prices are set by UPS and the Post Office. If you order many items at a time, the cost per item is less.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Be lucky that you don't live on the wrong side of that big lake called Atlantic :)

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
I've been thinking about ordering some things from you recently, but one thing has stopped me. Your outrageous shipping rates. Over 5 dollars to ship a paperback? Really? I love Paizo and would like to support you, but I don't think I can justify paying a lot more for products I get from you than if I purchase the same thing elsewhere. Are your high shipping prices really necessary?

A major part of the issue is the fact that almost no RPG materials legally qualify for the media rate postage, as they all have advertisements included in them, this means that they have to go by 1st class or priority mail, which is more expensive. The best thing to do is to play around with adding items until you go over the weight limit for a flat rate box, or spend over $100 so they eat the first ten, depending on what it is you buy, with flat rate boxes, you might be paying less (still not amazon's free shipping on orders over 25 though) one of the things on Gary's to-do list is to make the shop automatically split your order into two boxes if that would save money.

Cheliax

Gorbacz wrote:
Be lucky that you don't live on the wrong side of that big lake called Atlantic :)

Yup. When I tried to calculate how much it would cost for the PFRPG final to ship across the pond, my wallet screamed "ouch". :)

Cheliax

I understand that Paizo isn't totally in control of their shipping prices, but they still seem to be way more expensive than all of the other online stores I have browsed on. Why is that?


Cpt_kirstov wrote:
A major part of the issue is the fact that almost no RPG materials legally qualify for the media rate postage, as they all have advertisements included in them, this means that they have to go by 1st class or priority mail, which is more expensive.

This is an interesting point.

I don't have a plethora of RPG materials around me, but every one I looked at (All WotC, 3.5 & 4e) only had 'advertisements' for their own products. I went to my bookshelf and looked at a handfull of paperbacks as well - guess what? They all contained similar 'advertisements'. What exactly constitutes an ad? Do they have to have a price for a product/service shown?

I've never quite gotten what the USPS means by what constitutes Media Mail. I have been stuck on the magazine front, but I don't think that if the post office opened your package of RPG books they would deny it. Just like they wouldn't open a package of paper back books and point to the back saying, "Look, see this is an ad... sorry, you have to ship first class."

Unless of course my examples are all wrong and what I see in the back of WotC books isn't advertising.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Eryops wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
A major part of the issue is the fact that almost no RPG materials legally qualify for the media rate postage, as they all have advertisements included in them, this means that they have to go by 1st class or priority mail, which is more expensive.

This is an interesting point.

I don't have a plethora of RPG materials around me, but every one I looked at (All WotC, 3.5 & 4e) only had 'advertisements' for their own products. I went to my bookshelf and looked at a handfull of paperbacks as well - guess what? They all contained similar 'advertisements'. What exactly constitutes an ad? Do they have to have a price for a product/service shown?

I've never quite gotten what the USPS means by what constitutes Media Mail. I have been stuck on the magazine front, but I don't think that if the post office opened your package of RPG books they would deny it. Just like they wouldn't open a package of paper back books and point to the back saying, "Look, see this is an ad... sorry, you have to ship first class."

Unless of course my examples are all wrong and what I see in the back of WotC books isn't advertising.

Books shipped as media mail must meet the following restriction:

U.S. Postal Code (Section 373.2.2a) wrote:
Books, including books issued to supplement other books, of at least eight printed pages, consisting wholly of reading matter or scholarly bibliography, or reading matter with incidental blank spaces for notations and containing no advertising matter other than incidental announcements of books. Advertising includes paid advertising and the publishers' own advertising in display, classified, or editorial style.

"Announcements of books" is further defined as follows:

U.S. Postal Code (Section 373.2.4.4c) wrote:
Announcements of books may appear as book pages. These announcements must be incidental and exclusively devoted to books, without extraneous advertising of book-related or other materials or services. Announcements may fully describe the conditions and methods of ordering books and may contain ordering instructions for use with a separate order form. Up to three of these announcements may contain as part of their format a single order form, which may also serve as a postcard. The order forms permitted with these announcements are in addition to, and not in place of, order forms that may be enclosed under 2.4.4a or 2.4.4b.

Picking up the nearest book at hand, Pathfinder AP #21, there's some question of whether they'd count page 91 ("It's Your World Now"). It talks about books in general, but it doesn't specify a particular list of titles, so it's not immediately clear if that page would be classified as as "the publishers' own advertising in display style," which is disallowed, or as an announcement of books, which would be allowed. I think the Planet Stories ad on the following page pretty clearly serves as announcement of books, while the Yetisburg card game ad after that is clearly not allowed. Since the "Find Your Path" list on the following page mentions card decks and map products, it's also not allowed. I think that the "Golarion Needs Heroes" page after that would be ok, though.

The bottom line here, though, is that to offer Media Mail rates, every ad in every one of the many thousands of books we sell would have to be examined in detail and classified, and that's just not going to happen. (I think customers would probably also be confused that one Pathfinder AP Volume might cost more or less to ship than another.)

That said, Cpt_kirstov wasn't exactly correct—there is an option cheaper than First Class for books with ads, so long as the packaged book is less than 4 pounds; that's the Standard Mail option we offer, which usually involves Parcel Post.

As for why other companies might offer cheaper shipping, I can only conjecture. Certainly, some of the smaller guys just don't understand or follow the postal regulations. (Eventually, this will cause a giant problem for them.) Bigger companies, like Amazon, often charge you less than it costs them to ship because they're willing to take less profit on each sale to gain higher volume. We're not a big enough operation to be able to do that. Generally, our shipping costs include the cost of postage, the cost of the packaging materials, and a handling fee to help defray the cost of our warehouse, equipment, and associated staff.

We do work hard to keep all of those costs down.


golem101 wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Be lucky that you don't live on the wrong side of that big lake called Atlantic :)
Yup. When I tried to calculate how much it would cost for the PFRPG final to ship across the pond, my wallet screamed "ouch". :)

I feel your pain guys - August and September are going to be "stingy" months for us Europaizoians...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I'm also concerned about my mail carrier...

4 copies of the RPG is going to hurt his back almost as much as my wallet ;-)


I just cancelled an order I was about to make because of the high shipping. I'd like to order directly from Paizo to be more supportive and see more of the money going directly to a great developer but the shipping costs are a bit too high for my liking. I still buy Paizo products (because they rock) but I buy them through a shop and let them pick up the shipping costs with their bulk ordering. If you don't have a local hobby shop you can always try online vendors as well who quite often offer good shipping rates (quite possibly because they call everything media mail when it is not).

Qadira

Paizo Superscriber

Maybe the shipping rates are so high because my books don't come all dog eared and busted up from the USPS basketball team.

I will pay a few dollars more for their excellent packing team. My books are arriving with love and care.

No more dog ears. No more dog ears.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

The books, particularly the RPG hardcovers are definitely packed extremely well and the customer service is amazing.

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