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Old 06.09.2009, 23:39
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Where to order English books online

Hello,

I have been using Amazon for ordering English books, but recently have been hit with a CHF20 customs/Poste surcharge when they are delivered. As Amazon have been less then helpful in letting me know why this change has occured (I used to get the deliveries with no surcharge), I'm now looking for a new online store I can use - most of the books I order are quite specialist business books, and so not available at smaller stores.

Does anyone have a recommendation of a good Internet book retailer with a Swiss distribution arm so I can avoid the customs/Poste surcharge? Or any other ideas?

Thanks

Patrious
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Old 07.09.2009, 00:37
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Re: Where to order English books online

Nothing to do with Amazon, ask the Post Office. Recently they have been attaching an explanatory sheet with every taxed parcel.

Also, don't select express delivery as it will be delivered by courier and will incur higher customs fees.

Here is the internet version.

"The maximum values for VAT-exempt imports are:
* 7.6% VAT (the majority of items sent) => CHF 66
* 2.4% VAT (e.g. books) => CHF 209.- "

The applicable fees.
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Old 07.09.2009, 00:39
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Re: Where to order English books online

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Nothing to do with Amazon, ask the Post Office. Recently they have been attaching an explanatory sheet with every taxed parcel.

Here is the internet version.

"The maximum values for VAT-exempt imports are:
* 7.6% VAT (the majority of items sent) => CHF 66
* 2.4% VAT (e.g. books) => CHF 209.- "
Any idea why the limit for 7.6% VAT is only CHF 66, when we all have a CHF300 per person per day tax-free allowance? Just curious.
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Old 07.09.2009, 00:38
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Re: Where to order English books online

Try www.bookdepository.co.uk - I use them all the time, they seem to have pretty much the same stock as Amazon and the price you see on the screen per title includes worldwide postage.

This will get round the tax problem you've been having - Book Depository send all their titles separately, regardless of whether you order one or ten, so each parcel almost certainly comes through under the 200 chfs limit (duty is charged on imports where the VAT-thingie would be more than 5 chfs, which is around 65 chfs for regular stuff and 200 chfs for books due to their lower rate of VAT).

kodokan
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Old 07.09.2009, 00:43
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Re: Where to order English books online

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Try www.bookdepository.co.uk - I use them all the time, they seem to have pretty much the same stock as Amazon and the price you see on the screen per title includes worldwide postage.

This will get round the tax problem you've been having - Book Depository send all their titles separately, regardless of whether you order one or ten, so each parcel almost certainly comes through under the 200 chfs limit (duty is charged on imports where the VAT-thingie would be more than 5 chfs, which is around 65 chfs for regular stuff and 200 chfs for books due to their lower rate of VAT).

kodokan
Seriously great info, thanks very much. I had been desperate to get some English language reading and ended up buying some paperbacks in Barcelona on a recent trip for around 13 euros each. Just checked at The Book Depository and the prices are around half this! Ta much!
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Old 07.09.2009, 08:19
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Re: Where to order English books online

Was that amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or amazon.de I've had stuff quite regularly recently from amazon.de, and had no surprise charges. Of course, as amazon.de have free delivery, that reduces the overall cost.
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Old 07.09.2009, 08:23
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Was that amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or amazon.de I've had stuff quite regularly recently from amazon.de, and had no surprise charges. Of course, as amazon.de have free delivery, that reduces the overall cost.
Watch out because if the overall value of the books goes over a certain amount you will be hit for tax.
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Old 07.09.2009, 08:47
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Re: Where to order English books online

Or you could try the Swiss website at www.wellread.ch which sells used, hard to find and out of print books.
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Old 07.09.2009, 08:52
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Re: Where to order English books online

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Try www.bookdepository.co.uk - I use them all the time, they seem to have pretty much the same stock as Amazon and the price you see on the screen per title includes worldwide postage.

kodokan
Thanks this site looks amazing and I was having such a hard time finding English books in Lugano that weren't way overpriced!
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Old 07.09.2009, 09:18
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Re: Where to order English books online

Thanks everyone for the replies. NotAllThere - I ordered from amazon.co.uk, but its good to know that Amazon.de have no delivery charge.

Also, the thing to note with the customs tax is that there is a minimum fee payable of CHF20 - which means if you're just over the minimum limit you can be stung for much more than you expect!

Patrious
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Old 07.09.2009, 22:34
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Re: Where to order English books online

offtheshelf.ch
If you're looking for something special (like in my case) they will find it for you (even 2nd hand if necessary) order it and then send it to you when it reachs their shop in Geneva.
Great service
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Old 07.09.2009, 23:01
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Re: Where to order English books online

My latest tip is www.buch.ch
I needed a textbook for the course I am taking and checked around online:
At the University of Victoria (BC) book store it was $124 CAD plus an extra $60 CAD in shipping fees. Plus I would then get a 60 CHF customs taxes bill after the book arrived.
Amazon.co.uk did not have the latest (2005) version
Amazon.ca it was $81 CAD not including the delivery fee (and customs taxes)
Amazon.de it was 81,99 EURO not including the delivery fee (and customs taxes)
At exlibris.ch and books.ch (orel füssli) they did not have it.
At buch.ch it was 77,90 CHF with delivery included! I ordered it there and it arrived in 4 days and as the site is SWISS there are no customs taxes.
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Old 08.09.2009, 11:41
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Re: Where to order English books online

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Thanks everyone for the replies. NotAllThere - I ordered from amazon.co.uk, but its good to know that Amazon.de have no delivery charge.
Amazon.fr is now doing free delivery to Switzerland too, for people that want to top up their French books along with English titles.

kodokan
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Old 08.09.2009, 19:10
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Re: Where to order English books online

Just keep in mind that www.amazon.fr takes longer to ship orders...I think there's some law that requires them to wait a certain amount of time before they send it out...so I usually order from www.amazon.de (I live in France...no customs taxes) unless I'm looking for a book in French...

But their selection of English books is nice.
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Old 08.09.2009, 21:08
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Re: Where to order English books online

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Thanks everyone for the replies. NotAllThere - I ordered from amazon.co.uk, but its good to know that Amazon.de have no delivery charge.

Also, the thing to note with the customs tax is that there is a minimum fee payable of CHF20 - which means if you're just over the minimum limit you can be stung for much more than you expect!

Patrious
The Book Depository sends out my orders one by one or at the most two books in a blister envelope, so there's never any tax levied.
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Old 16.02.2011, 19:59
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Re: Where to order English books online

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Hello,

I have been using Amazon for ordering English books, but recently have been hit with a CHF20 customs/Poste surcharge when they are delivered. As Amazon have been less then helpful in letting me know why this change has occured (I used to get the deliveries with no surcharge), I'm now looking for a new online store I can use - most of the books I order are quite specialist business books, and so not available at smaller stores.

Does anyone have a recommendation of a good Internet book retailer with a Swiss distribution arm so I can avoid the customs/Poste surcharge? Or any other ideas?

Thanks

Patrious
How about getting a Kindle? Your books will arrive via the 3G phone network, immediately, with no delivery costs.
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Old 09.01.2012, 20:40
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Re: Where to order English books online

Following the positive comments about The Book Depository, I placed an email order with them on 16th December. The book was despatched on 21st December, and was delivered this morning 9th January! Whilst I appreciate that one can expect postal delays during Christmas/New Year, I consider that this company's delivery service leaves a lot to be desired, which sentiments I have passed on to the company!
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Old 09.01.2012, 20:47
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Re: Where to order English books online

I have always been happy with the service and delivery of The Book Depository. I use them and Amazon.co.uk for book purchases - as I often finid Amazon has a better choice, particular for non fiction..
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Old 09.01.2012, 21:04
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Re: Where to order English books online

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Following the positive comments about The Book Depository, I placed an email order with them on 16th December. The book was despatched on 21st December, and was delivered this morning 9th January! Whilst I appreciate that one can expect postal delays during Christmas/New Year, I consider that this company's delivery service leaves a lot to be desired, which sentiments I have passed on to the company!
At the busiest time of the year they took at least 4 days to dispatch your order. The rest of the delay was not their responsibility, and with free postage they are not going to pay for the fastest tariff. I don't see any reason to complain.
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Old 10.01.2012, 08:12
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Re: Where to order English books online

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At the busiest time of the year they took at least 4 days to dispatch your order. The rest of the delay was not their responsibility, and with free postage they are not going to pay for the fastest tariff. I don't see any reason to complain.
May I suggest you read the "About Us" section on The Book Depository website, wherein they state not once, but twice, that books are available for despatch within 48 hours - mine took five days! They also state "we have a reputation for extremely high service levels" - regrettably, this did not apply to my order. As far as transporting the book is concerned, The Book Depository has an obligation to its clients to ensure that reputable carriers are used in order that orders arrive at their destination within a reasonable time limit. Thus, in view of the foregoing and the fact that my order took almost a month to arrive, I feel I have every reason to complain!
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