Shipping is always a consideration when you buy and sell used books via online platforms such as Amazon, Ebay, and Chegg; you want to make sure shipping payment responsibilities are clearly defined between the buyer and seller in order to ensure a fair price for your books. Fortunately, most carriers make shipping to U.S.-based buyers simple and straight-forward – but what about shipping to our friends up north? Are there duty fees? Exchange rates? Can all stores ship to Canada? The following examines major vendors' policies and associated fees for shipping from the United States to Canada.
Amazon's International Shipping Page indicates that the company estimates import fee deposits at checkout and provides customs clearance for its buyers and sellers. According to Amazon's Shipping Rates to Canada Page, books shipped to Canada via “Standard Shipping” rates are charged $4.99 per shipment plus $2.49 per item. Particularly heavy or bulky book shipments can additionally incur a $0.49 per pound surcharge. Additional rates are provided on the page for “Expedited” and “Priority Courier” shipping rates. You can learn more about shipping internationally with Amazon here.
All of this references Amazon's shipping procedure, but the company's About Customs, Duties and Taxes Page clearly notes that shipment recipients may still be responsible for additional fees mandated by law. In the case of Canada, it appears as though Amazon has done the legwork to make shipping as seamless as possible; however, individual provinces can have their own rules regarding imports that could ultimately affect the total price.
Ebay's Global Shipping Program allows U.S.-based sellers to first ship to an Ebay shipping center, which then handles the rest of the shipping process to Canada. Most sellers in good standing qualify for the free program, and though there are some product restrictions books are not among them. Like Amazon, Ebay estimates import fees, which include taxes, customs, and duties, to streamline the process and provide upfront shipping costs.
Shipping via other service providers, such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx can incur additional import fees; check with your shipping provider if you're not going to use Ebay's Global Shipping Program. For more information on exporting to Canada, check out this guide.
Despite being owned by Ebay, Half.com does not ship books (or any other merchandise) to Canada.
AbeBooks offers free shipping to Canada for many titles; however, buyers can still be responsible for taxes and duties. The AbeBooks Free Shipping Page allows you to search exclusively for books that are eligible for free shipping to Canada, while the Shipping Rates and Speeds Page offers additional clarification on how shipping rates are set and when Canadian taxes and duties are charged.
According to its QnA Forum, Chegg ships to U.S. addresses only – so Canada is out.
According to its Shipping Page, BookRenter only ships to U.S. addresses. Again, no Canadian deliveries.
Canada Duties and Taxes
The Canada Border Services Agency provides comprehensive information regarding duties and taxes charged to products imported by mail. Typically, products valued at under $20 (Canadian dollars) are exempt from duties; however, some product types, including books, are not exempt. In addition, a $9.95 handling fee may be applied. The buyer, or recipient, is typically responsible for these fees unless otherwise negotiated.
The actual total amount of duties and taxes are dependent on the value of the books, whether or not the books are gifts, and whether costs are impacted by additional legislation. The North American Free Trade Agreement, for example, reduces import fees between the U.S. and Canada. Tax rates also vary by Canada province. The best way to determine Canadian duties and taxes for U.S. shipments is to use the Canada Border Service Agency's Duty and Tax Estimator.
Even with these services, international shipments to Canada can be delayed by as much as 7 to 10 days more than your original shipping estimate. For example, if you choose standard ground shipping with an estimated arrival time of 4 to 8 days, books will arrive at their Canadian destinations anywhere between 4 and 18 days.
It's also important to understand the U.S./Canadian dollar exchange rate, which is in constant flux. At the time of this writing, one Canadian dollar was worth $0.92 USD. This is important because equally-valued rates may appear different on statements, depending on which end of the transaction you're on and the originally-quoted price. A $20 USD book, for example, would sell for $21.73 CAN, while a book sole for $50 USD will require a payment of $54.33 CAN. Understand these rates to avoid surprise fees when shipping books from the United States to Canada.
If you're shipping books to Canada from the United States on your own, figuring out duty fees and taxes can be math-intensive. Services that automatically calculate such fees and add them to shipping costs streamline the process and make buying, selling, and shipping books to Canada much simpler.
Aug 29, 2014 Comments