Differences in Shipping Costs

One of the things I've started to notice a lot since I started blogging is the apparent differences in shipping costs. So many giveaways I see are US and Canada only and at first I thought that seemed pretty fair. I could only imagine how much it costs to ship a book from one side of the world to the other. I knew that when ordering from Amazon the shipping costs could be more than the book! So I never questioned why a giveaway would be limited to a specific region. I don't expect there's many millionaires who blog about books, and I can't imagine your average person being able to afford shipping to other countries regularly. So I had no problem missing out on these giveaways.

But then I discovered YA Book Exchange. I thought it was amazing and decided to take part. The first person I discussed exchanging books with lived in Japan. I thought "No way will I be able to afford shipping", but I decided to check how much it was anyway. To ship a paperback book from Ireland to anywhere outside of Europe it is €5. Only €5! That's only around $6.50. I couldn't believe it! I posted the book without a problem!

The next time I saw a giveaway that was only US and Canada due to shipping costs I felt an awful lot of jealousy. Why couldn't the blogger ship to Ireland? If it was so cheap, what was the problem? I couldn't imagine it was that much cheaper to ship within the US. But then  I saw a giveaway that was only US but the blogger was willing to send the book to an international winner if the winner would pay for shipping. In the post she mentioned it would cost around $20 per book to be shipped. $20!!! I couldn't believe how expensive that is!

So what I'm wondering now is why is it so expensive to ship internationally from the US? If it's only $6.50 to ship an average paperback from Ireland to anywhere in the US then why is it $20 to ship from the US to Ireland? Is the US postal system just crazy expensive or what?

Let me know in the comments if you've ever shipped a book internationally, and how much it cost (if you don't mind sharing). Do you think it's too expensive to ship from the US or is that just me?

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