Today my copy of “Beautiful evidence” arrived in the mail. Actually a Belgian Post employee came to drop it off, because I had to pay 10 euro douane/customs. For a book of $52, that is an unpleasant extra 25%.
The legislation that was printed on the back of the receipt states that any item from outside the EU, with a value higher than 22 euro, or not conform to ‘small letter mail of non-commercial kind’ (up to 45 euro), or containing goods from outside the EU should be presented to customs. Standard fee: 10 euro. I have just ordered a t-shirt from SomaFM ($50), I wonder what customs will think of that.
This means that there is still a big hurdle for purchasing stuff in between continents. For the Tufte book, I already payed $5 shipping fee (surface mail), and now an extra $13 in customs. So, in this case I pay more than 33% extra as a ‘punishment’ for not living in the USA. It may be a global market for buying stuff, but not for getting stuff.
I don’t think Edward Tufte is focused on huge turnover (it’s kind of a niche topic, let’s be honest), but for US vendors that are, they should investigate ways to not punish their non-US customers that hard.
- for a book publisher: either sell through Amazon.co.uk (or .fr, .de) or set up a deal with an EU printer/shipment firm to fulfill orders from within the EU. For Tufte books: the only one you can get on Amazon UK is The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.
- for custom t-shirts e.g. SomaFM): instead of shipping them from the US, create a European Spreadshirt store. As they correctly state: “Note: Yes, if you’d like to sell to both markets, you’ll need to register two different shops!”