Best option for getting a book to New Zealand
November 16, 2018 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I planned on shipping an inexpensive, out-of-print book to New Zealand, but a $4 book would cost $40 USD to send from the US to NZ. Is there a better way?

The book in question is The Happy Mutant Handbook, a soft-cover book of oddities and amusements from 1995. I checked with UPS on the shipping, which I was told would likely be cheaper if sent straight through USPS, but I imagine it's not too much cheaper. Are there any good NZ bookshop aggregators or search sites to see if I could buy it from a shop in New Zealand? Thanks!
posted by filthy light thief to Shopping (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bookstores in NZ at Biblio, but plugging your title into its search engine gets zero returns.

Is there a time frame? Thriftbooks in the US has a 'very good' used copy for $4, and ships older books worldwide for $4 - but service takes 15-20 business days.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:48 PM on November 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

It's worth checking USPS book rate.
posted by theora55 at 7:53 PM on November 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Unfortunately, book rate (aka media mail) isn't offered internationally; flat rate international starts at $24.99. If the book fits into a large envelope and weighs less than 4 pounds, you could try shipping first class int'l; calculator here. (Without a box or a big padded envelope I'd worry about damage to a soft-cover book, though.)

(Also, screwed up my initial answer - tried title/ISBNs for NZ and Australia at Biblio, only returns for here and other countries. Of those, only two offered even higher prices for book+shipping.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:01 PM on November 16, 2018

Shipping a book in a padded envelope international via USPS is well under $20 almost anywhere in the world. I do it all the time.
posted by fshgrl at 8:18 PM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

USPS First Class rate to NZ for a two pound package is $23.25
posted by soelo at 8:47 PM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Booko NZ is a bookshop aggregator that shows prices with shipping. Don't know which NZ bookshops (if any) it covers; the Australian version of the same site, which I am familiar with, does a range of Australian bookshops as well as international sites.

It says the best deal is through Better World Books with used copies for about US$8.50/NZ$10.50 and free international shipping.
posted by AnnaRat at 9:07 PM on November 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

If there is no affordable commercial option I would find someone who is well plugged into the NZ Twitter community *cough* which is a fairly nice and co-operative little backwater in Twitter and ask for a volunteer who's travelling soon to mule it for you. If you're lucky someone will deliver to the door.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:15 PM on November 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

If Booko NZ is half as good as Booko AU, you should head there.
posted by deadwax at 9:21 PM on November 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Sort of the other way round the world.. but I can see a copy here on the UK Amazon page for £0.70 and I'm heading to New Zealand in three weeks if you'd like a hand with this! PM me.
posted by teststrip at 10:27 PM on November 16, 2018 [6 favorites]

You could try emailing Hard to Find Books ( Whenever I go there (the Dunedin branch) they seem to have a vast backlog in a warehouse out back that they'e always in the process of cataloging for their website.

I did a search on Te Puna (NZ's national library database) and there are no holdings in nz, so it's quite a rare book here.
posted by unearthed at 10:52 PM on November 16, 2018

Which service/rate are the big discount houses (Thriftbooks, Better World, etc) using to offer such low shipping fees? Do they get a volume discount?
posted by fairmettle at 1:19 AM on November 17, 2018

Thanks to all for the ideas and suggestions, and HUGE THANKS to teststrip for offering to tote the book! It arrived, and just in time for the holidays! :)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:25 PM on December 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

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