help bring my books home!
April 3, 2008 3:01 AM   Subscribe

how can I ship my books from the UK to North America without spending a fortune?

I am a PhD student in Manchester UK. I will be moving back to North America at the end of the year. I have about 500 pounds of books that I need to get back to North America. What's the cheapest way to do it? It doesn't have to be fast, just secure and as cheap as possible.
posted by arcadia to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
You could try to ship a 'less than container load' and ship a pallet or two. Google 'less than container load' and call around.

This worked for my shipping stuff from the US to Oz.
posted by sien at 3:06 AM on April 3, 2008

I had the same problem when I moved back to the UK from Japan. In the end I simply chose the longest haul possible, which basically means by boat. Make sure the boxes are packed with every single space taken up. Wait 3 months or so.
posted by 0bvious at 3:25 AM on April 3, 2008

Alternatively of course you could sell all the mass-produced / readily available books you have. Take home a much smaller shipment of books you can't find cheap back home or that mean something to you. When you get back simply do a mass buy of books from cheap online retailers. In the long run the difference probably makes it a cheaper option than paying shipment costs.
posted by 0bvious at 3:27 AM on April 3, 2008

Many countries have a special "book rate" for sending books or magazines by mail. It takes a couple months since it's definitely on the slow boat, but it might be worth it for you.
posted by meadowlands at 5:32 AM on April 3, 2008

This is precisely what M-bags were made for. You ask Royal Mail for one (or more), fill it up, and send it on its way. Prepare to wait a long time on the receiving end.
posted by zsazsa at 7:13 AM on April 3, 2008

When I move out (pending visa), I'm planning on using, which comes recommended by the VisaJourney forums. But I'm going to keep an eye on the answers here if something better is available
posted by saturnine at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2008

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