We get asked on an almost-daily basis why we don’t ship things overseas. The answer is: We do. We ship our books to our international vendors so they can sell them to customers with a reasonable shipping cost.
But what about T-shirts, bandanas, chore coats and the like? That’s where it gets complicated.
Shipping directly to Europe is a tax nightmare for us (thank you, EU). And on advice of our attorney and accountant, we have decided to sell only through our international vendors so that we don’t end up doing a lot of paperwork.
Shipping to Canada, Australia and other countries is a different kind of problem. It’s insanely expensive. Even with a fully automated, high-tech warehouse with accounts with all the international carriers, we can’t get shipping rates that are even close to reasonable. The cost of shipping a book is usually more than the retail price of the book or bandana or sweatshirt.
We have tried many schemes (too many to list here) to sell shirts and the like outside of the U.S., but they all failed or were too complicated to maintain.
Lost Art Press might look like a big company at times, but are only two guys who run the thing. There are physical limits to what we can do – and publishing books will always be at the top of the list.
I offer a couple solutions for those outside the U.S. who want some of our specialty products:
- Use a parcel forwarding service. Many LAP customers have had great success with these services. Here is a list of five recommended by Huffington Post. I wish we could get rates as reasonable as they get. It must be magic.
- Print your own shirts and sweatshirts. You can download our logo file here. There are thousands of services all over the world that will let you print your own shirt, jacket or (shudder) thong with the logo.
I wish at times we were a big company that could have a person dedicated to shipping. And that we shipped a million parcels a year so we could qualify for the dirt-cheap rates. And that I had to attend marketing meetings three times a week to get harangued to sell more of the things that suck. And then I had to meet with the executive types above me to explain why we needed a $500 digital camera to continue making books. And that I had to fill out performance reviews and attend classes on how to harass your employees legally. And then I wake up from the bad dream.
— Christopher Schwarz