Bonus Material: How Overseas Remainder Buyers Can Save on Shipping

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka


Just as when you buy a book for a penny online, only to realize that shipping it to your home will cost $12.99 – the same goes for buying remainders: You may be able to buy 7,000 titles for 12.5 cents each, but getting them home to the UK, the Netherlands, or Korea is likely to cost a small fortune.

“The biggest expense by far for overseas buyers is shipping. It’s the most critical part of remainder buying” pointed out Larry May, who owns and runs Atlanta’s Spring Book Show and Boston’s Great American Bargain Book Show. ¬†“When you’re talking about freight for international shipping, the key is to really put some effort into it, not just on the overseas rate, but within the US. Most overseas customers just use a freight forwarder to get them door-to-door. While that may be convenient, it’s not always the best way and you may be paying a premium to ship books from the remainder warehouses to ports in New York or L.A.”

May advocates¬† that overseas remainder buyers purchase enough to fill a shipping container. Or, if that’s not an option, he suggests three or four book buyers consolidate their purchases to fill a container. “International container rates are so competitive now, I bet they are probably down 30-35% from a year or two ago,” he said. “There’s no reason you can’t get a decent rate.”

If you are going to use a freight forwarder, May suggests you proceed deliberately: “Don’t take a freight forwarder’s word for it that you’re getting the best rate in the US,” he said, “get it down on paper then compare what it cost elsewhere. Have them breakdown the costs of warehouse to port, port to port, port to door. Then negotiate.”

EXPRESS BOOK FREIGHT: is one reputable company that ships overseas from the East Coast.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.