The Perils of Createspace for Canadians

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I was glad to discover a ‘come and collect your parcel’ notification in the mail box yesterday but wondered why they hadn’t just left it for me. I discovered the reason when I got to the post office.

If I buy from amazon.com, they pre-collect any Canadian taxes. If I buy from Createspace, they don’t. So I owed a whole $1.24 in taxes.

But DHL charge a ‘fee’ of over $7 for collecting those taxes.

Now, in principle just about anything shipped to Canada is charged GST. So I’ve paid them to ship a parcel to Canada, but then I have to pay them again to pay the tax that will almost inevitably be charged? This is the same BS as airline ‘fuel surcharges’: “your ticket to fly across the Atlantic costs $500, then there’s a ‘surcharge’ of $500 for fuel.” As though I’m going to be flying there without fuel?

But it gets worse. To pay the $8.50 to DHL, Canada Post wanted a fee of $6.50 to accept my cash or credit card. That means, to recap, $1.24 in taxes on about $20 of books, plus $15 in ‘fees’ to collect that money.

Worse, there was nothing on it other than DHL stickers. Was it my books? Or had someone mailed me a box full of junk? Who can tell. I had to take the DHL number home and poke around on their web site to verify that it actually was my parcel from Createspace.

I eventually discovered that I could avoid the extra Canada Post fee if I paid by cheque, which bringing back my chequebook so I could pay them. What a pain in the ass.

In summary: if you’re Canadian and you published PoD books through Createspace, expect a thorough rogering with ‘import fees’. And find a bank that issues free chequebooks.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you, Edward! I am not ‘happy’ that you had to pay all that but I am now retinking my thoughts about publishing through the createspace venue. I have recently published a book and am considering ways of ‘getting it out there’. I do not have financial reserves!! And certainly do not want anyone interested in purchasing my book having to pay extra fees.

  2. Fred says:

    As true as what you are saying might very well be, Create Space stands as the lesser of all evils which beset the self publisher. Having tried another American self-publishing company, I am barely able to earn but pennies per copy. You effort to alert people is very much appreciated as it is disheartening. Keep standing watch so as to keep your readers informed.

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