How can I mail books cheaply in Canada?
May 22, 2007 6:05 PM   Subscribe

How can I mail books cheaply in Canada?

I've recently moved from Vermont to Edmonton and lugged quite a few books along with me since I didn't have time to sort through them before moving. Now that I'm here, I've decided which books to keep and which to sell, but I've discovered the rather annoying fact that Canada does not have an equivalent to the United States' media mail postal rate. I had been counting on using to sell the books that are newer and in better condition, while using BookMooch to trade off the older books. However, at $6-12 a pop for mailing costs alone, with no income on BookMooch and very low prices on Amazon's marketplace (usually $2-5 per book), I've been losing money with the first few books I've mailed out.

My question is thus: does anyone know of a cheap way to get my books to those who want them, or if not, what might I try instead of BookMooch or Amazon? I'd like to sell these books if possible, and at rates higher than what I'd get at a garage sale (although I'll resort to that if necessary).
posted by Trinkers to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you are going to find a way to send books cheaply in Canada. Canada Post parcel service is not cheap (especially in US dollars since the exchange rate has changed so much in the last few years).

You can probably get a little more than garage sale prices by bringing the books in to a used book store if they are the sort of books that have some resale value. Otherwise, maybe you can donate them to a book sale somewhere.
posted by ssg at 6:28 PM on May 22, 2007

Find a (decent) used book shop in Edmonton. They might pay less, but it'll save you the shipping costs. It should only cost as much as bus tickets do.

A quite google turns this up:

Wee Book Inn (10310 Whyte Ave, 10428 Jasper Ave, 8216 118 Ave, and 15103A Stony Plain Rd). The premiere used bookstore chain in Edmonton.
The Whyte Avenue location is the largest [...]
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:11 PM on May 22, 2007

I faced a very similar problem last summer -- tons of books to move from Toronna to Vancouver, little desire to pack (or pay for) their move. I, too, thought I'd be smart and sell them one-by-one on eBay or Craigslist or whatever.

Listen carefully to this next bit, it's a bit technical:

Do. Not. Do. It.

Quite simply, it is not worth your time.

Books are a buyer's market. You might, might make a couple more bucks selling them individually than if you just cart the whole lot down to a good used bookseller. Might. But you have better things to do than individually wrap, address and invoice every no-longer-wanted-book, right?
posted by docgonzo at 8:58 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you're used to the U.S. Postal Service, Canada Post must come as quite a shock: there's really no way to mail things that are bigger than letters cheaply. It kind of blows. I think the used bookstore advice is the best you're going to get.
posted by SoftRain at 9:33 PM on May 22, 2007

Mailing cheaply here is impossible. I used to mail large packages regularly, and it was cheaper to mail to the US than it was to Toronto (from Ottawa).
posted by Jairus at 1:13 AM on May 23, 2007

Yeah, mailing books within Canada sucks. (Which is why most of the sellers on are based in the US.)

However, I've had good results by posting all the books on craigslist. (For pick-up. I agree with docgonzo, shipping individual items is a huge time-suck.) They were all computer books in the $5-10 range. YMMV.
posted by kamelhoecker at 6:02 AM on May 23, 2007

Greyhound ships boxes around the country. Not very applicable to you, but to someone who moves around it can be a cheap alternative to using the mail.
posted by maxpower at 9:32 AM on May 23, 2007

In your local area, mailing large packages should be very reasonable. 10kg within the GTA is less than $10, for example.

Small packages are fairly expensive (I think this is because the small package rate is a flat rate for the whole country - the cost of Toronto to Vancouver is shared by Edmonton to Calgary), and when the distances get longer (>500km?) the large package price goes up fast.
posted by Chuckles at 12:16 PM on May 23, 2007

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