2 April 2013
This guide was originally started in 2009, when eBay introduced fixed prices for postage charges (see below for details). These charges have since been amended and are now more favourable to sellers.
The guide is now updated periodically, and records the current postage charges allowed by eBay. As at 14 March 2013, the maximum charges in the Books category are as follows:
Antiquarian & Collectable = £7.00
Audio Books = £4.50
Children's Books = £7.00
Collections & Lots = £8.75
Comics = £7.00
Fiction Books = £7.00
Magazines = £11.00
Non-Fiction Books = £8.50
11 April 2012
The Post Office increased postage charges on 30 April 2012, and eBay has followed suit for books, allowing sellers to charge the following maximum amounts for postage:
Antiquarian & Collectable = £6.00
Audio Books = £4.00
Children's Books = £4.00
Collections & Lots = £8.75
Comics = £4.00
Fiction Books = £4.00
Magazines = £4.00
Non-Fiction Books = £4.00
5 April 2011
The Post Office increased postage costs on 4 April 2011, and eBay has followed suit for books, allowing sellers to charge the following maximum amounts for postage:
Antiquarian & Collectable = £5.00
Audio Books = £3.25
Children's Books = £3.25
Collections & Lots = £7.75
Comics = £3.25
Fiction Books = £3.25
Magazines = £3.25
Non-Fiction Books = £3.25
8 February 2010
Never thought you'd see eBay make a U-turn? That's just what happened on 8 February 2010, when the enforced FREE P&P on books came to an end. This was always going to be a contentious action by eBay, and after just 112 days the policy was amended "in response to sellers' feedback" (see eBay Announcements, 1 February 2010).
To translate the announcement into plain English: eBay got it wrong; sellers added P&P into the price of their books; book prices went up; sellers deserted eBay and moved to other outlets, such as amazon.
The U-turn takes the P&P policy back to the position as of 27 January 2009, when maximum limits were set.
19 October 2009
The following 'memo' was written in response to eBay setting limits on P&P charges for books (from January 2009). With effect from 19 October 2009, eBay is taking it a step further by enforcing a FREE P&P policy for all books, on the grounds that "Excessive P&P costs are often mentioned as a major reason for buyers spending less on eBay" and "Media items are often impulse purchases and buyers perceive free P&P as a great deal" (see eBay Announcements, 28 July 2009).
A great deal for whom?
A great deal for eBay who will receive increased final value fees.
A bad deal for whom?
A bad deal for sellers who will be forced into a restrictive practice.
A bad deal for buyers who will see book prices rise as sellers include P&P within their prices.
The likely outcome?
Ebay will lose small booksellers who will migrate to other online outlets, such as amazon (who allow sellers to charge a flat £2.75 P&P on all books).
Ebay will become the home of mega-booksellers who can afford to absorb P&P charges.
1. The Post Office does not deliver the mail for free.
2. Someone will have to pay the P&P costs.
3. Nothing is really free.
27 January 2009
To: Mark Lewis, Managing Director, eBay UK
Subject: Why You Have Dropped A Brick
I have books to sell on eBay, Mark. Lots of books, in all shapes, sizes and weights. Some are very big, some are very little. Here's a picture, Mark, of two books and a ruler. Can you see how one book is BIG, and the other book is LITTLE. If you're not sure which is which, Mark, the scale ruler is a clue
Now, Mark, you've just told me that there's a maximum amount I can charge for P&P on books. You brought this rule into force on 27 January 2009. This is what you tell me I can charge as a maximum to my customers for P&P:
Annuals = £2.75
Antiquarian & Collectable = £4.50
Audio Books = £2.75
Children's Books = £2.75
Collections & Lots = £7.00
Comics = £2.75
Educational/ Textbooks = £2.75
Fiction Books = £2.75
Magazines = £2.75
Modern Maps & Atlases = £2.75
Non-Fiction Books = £2.75
You know something Mark, I think you don't want my business anymore. Let me tell you why. Mark, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are two pictures for you to look at:
The book (Mark, that's the one on the left), weighs 3.365kg. It's a brick of a book, isn't it Mark? The real brick, in case you're wondering, is on the right. It's so much lighter, weighing a modest 2.205kg. If I list the book in the Antiquarian Books section, then the maximum postage I can charge is now capped at £4.50. Do you know, Mark, that book will actually cost £6.85 to post. Someone, somewhere seems to have dropped a brick, don't they Mark, because do you know what that means? Yes, of course you do, you're the MD of eBay UK, so it's your job to know. It means I give my customer free postage to the value of £2.35!
Tell you what, Mark, the real brick costs the same to post as the book -- £6.85 -- and I can charge all of that to my customer, so I don't lose out!
Mark, do you want me to list my books in the Home & Garden / Bricks category? I could, couldn't I? An honest error, guv'nor.
I'm an honest eBayer, Mark. Look at my feedback -- it's the sort of profile you tell me you want more of. But, do you know what Mark? I think you're being unfair towards me, and all others who choose to sell new and used books on eBay. Book prices will go up, and sales will fall. You lose there, Mark.
Postage should be set by the Post Office, not by eBay, Mark. You've introduced a back-door purchase tax based on weight, and you're expecting sellers to absorb it where it exceeds your stated limits. Mark, I really wish I had your power. It would be wonderful to tell the Post Office how much I wanted to pay for postage. What do you think the PO would say to that, Mark?
Mark, I won't be the only seller who lists books on eBay to tell you this. Cast your eyes over the Books Board and you'll see how many sellers are angered by eBay's unfair imposition.
Come on, Mark, show us you care about eBay's booksellers. Revert the P&P charges to the way they used to be or, at the very least, give sellers the option of saying if P&P is charged at actual cost.
If you have found this guide of help/interest, please click the YES button now. Mark, you can vote, too, of course.