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How to set up shipping and postage

by Vervante •

If you’re getting ready to launch a new book or product, setting up your shopping cart and shipping methods correctly are an essential part of the process. We’ve gathered up some tips here to help you make sure you – and your customer – get the best results.
Q: How do I know which shipping method to use?
A: We automatically ship all books and products using the least expensive shipping method based on the weight and zip/postal code used. However, you can always select a different shipping method that best fits your needs.

NOTE: We do not default automatically to Media Mail even if this is the least expensive option. If you’d like your orders shipped via Media Mail you need to select this as your default. (For more details about Media Mail, and why we don’t use this as our default, please refer to “The Pros and Cons of Using Media Mail” on our blog.

To designate a default shipping method for any of your products, click on the link for “Select Specific Shipping Methods” under the My Profile section on your Author Dashboard. There you will see a list of your products and a place to designate what shipping method you would like to use. If you make any changes, be sure to click on the "Update" button at the bottom of the page. 

Q: How do I calculate shipping costs?
A: We provide a postage calculator to help determine shipping costs. From your author dashboard click on the “Calculate Postage” link under the Support section. Your items and their weights are listed there for easy referral. All you need to do is use the official USPS calculator on that page to determine shipping costs.

Q: How do I know what my product weighs?
A: When we first set up a new item, we estimate the weight. That’s the number you’ll see in the “Est Ship Weight” column on the shipping methods page we referenced in the previous question. Once the item is in production, the final shipping weight can be viewed on the “Calculate Postage” page found on your Author Dashboard.

Q: How do I make sure I’m using the best shipping method?
A: Using the shipping calculator to find the best rates is usually the best way to do. However, for some of our customers who ship internationally, it’s good to review your accounts from time to time to verify the costs.

Q: Do I need to worry about shipping delays due to the COVID pandemic?
A: It's always a good idea to factor extended shipping times into your launch plans – especially this year with the disruption the pandemic is causing. Many shipping companies are struggling to maintain normal schedules during these uncertain times, so it’s a good idea to factor in the possibility of extended shipping times for product launches.

Q: How much time will it take for my products to print then ship when they are ordered?
A: Different products take different amounts of time for printing and production. Here are some examples of standard lead times for a variety of products we produce – and why it’s important to factor lead times into your holiday sales plans:

  • Paperback books: 5 days
  • Softcover spiral bound or saddle-stitched books: 5 days
  • Card decks: 5-10 days
  • Custom printed tuck boxes for card decks: 10-12 days
  • Hardcover books, planners, journals:  4-6 weeks
  • Custom printed corrugated boxes for VIP, membership and mailing: 10-15 days

For example, if you're thinking of a Black Friday launch for a hardcover planner, you would need to begin printing October 19 in order to ship orders on November 30.

Q: Does Vervante charge “handling” fees?
A: For print on demand products, we do not charge handling fees. Here’s how we calculate charges: “Cost of printing book + Cost of shipping/postage = what we charge.” There are no other hidden costs. For products printed or produced in bulk, there is an order fee plus a pick fee to pull the item from inventory, plus postage. Order and pick fees only apply to individual drop ship orders pulled from inventory and shipped on demand.
Q: Can packing slips be customized?
A: Every package we send includes a packing slip inside and you have the option of customizing it however you’d like. Think of this as valuable real estate perfect for sharing information like:

  • A greeting or message that makes a personal connection
  • Your logo for brand awareness
  • Return policies that eliminate confusion about timeframes or refunds
  • Business address and contact information
  • Special holiday messages

To add personalized content for your packing slip, click on “Customize My Packing Slip” on your Author Dashboard.  (If you’d like more information about using packing slips, handling returns, and suggested content you can adapt and use for your packing slip, click HERE to read more on our blog.)