May 7, 2011

Pajama Musings - The Postage Rant

Who isn't aware of ridiculously high postage rates no matter which country you might live in. This quite often, and understandably, translates into giveaways only being open in certain areas, eg US only. With all the giveaways I had on my blog so far, I had prizes which I sent out personally. The rates were expensive, but more or less affordable. But these times are over now, because the Austrian Postal Service did not only raise national and international postage rates, they did so in a devious way which almost made me fly into a homicidal rage when I sent of a letter this week.

Devious? Well, on first glance things look deceivingly comprehensible with only five different types of rates for letters up to 2kg (anything above will be parcel mail due to the weight). Things do get a bit complicated though, because you need to be very careful about the measurements of the letter you want to send.

Homicidal? If you had to suddenly pay €3,80 instead of €2,50 you wouldn't be amused either.

To give you a better idea of just how bad it is, let's assume I'd want to send a paperback to the US. Let's say the book weighs about 300g or 10,5 oz ... let's also say the book itself is about 2,5cm or 1in thick and with a padded envelope it'd be maybe 3cm or 1,5in thick.

Sending such a book by economy mail would have cost me €5,45 last week (that would be about $7,60 with the current exchange rate). This week such an economy letter would cost - and you should seriously sit down now - €21,80 (which would be $30,50).

I am so NOT making this up!!!

And admittedly you could pack a whole lot more into that letter for the same price (up to the aforementioned 2kg), but the point is that if you only wanted to send this one book, you'd still pay as much.

This big jump in rates doesn't make sense to you? To me neither. Basically you have to pay the Maxi-Letter rate for everything that's thicker than 2,5cm, which equals an inch. So while it used to be a matter of how heavy something was, it's now a matter of ... well, I don't know ... insanity?

With postage rates like that it would, quite frankly, be crazy to even think about sending things overseas. So thank you for all the other wonderful options for giveaways, such as Amazon GCs or The Book Depository.

'Nuff said.


  1. Eeek! That's quite a difference in price! What a bad idea.

    Here in the Netherlands, we have a similar thing, with packages that fit through the letterbox (up to 2 kg) count as letters, and they are much cheaper than "parcels". So, I'm happy to send thin to normal books around the world, but not the bigger ones.

    We have a 0-2kg rate for parcels, and 0-250, 250-500 and 500-2kg rates for letters. So, letters can be affordable.

    Can you send books as "letters"?

  2. Actually those are the prices for "letters" and I don't even want to think about prices for parcels ... as far as sending parcels in the EU is concerned Hermes is the best alternative right now.
    BTW in Germany the postal services offer "book shipments" with reduced rates. I really wish we had the same here in Austria too.

  3. That IS outrageous! The German post has recently adjusted their rates and , believe it or not, a "letter" with max 90cm length+width+height (that is quite a big parcel) up to 500g costs 3.45€ international. No matter where! Shippng to the US has become extremely cheap now. If you live close to the German border you could come over here just to send mail and save a lot of money.

  4. Waaaaahnsinn!!!
    Our national rates are close to your international ones *grumbles* and I live near Vienna, so your suggestion is unfortunately no option.

  5. my full appreciation for going nuts on this - i switch to hermes, but it's still ridiculous to raise shipping prices in times of globalization, somehow paradox.