Frustration with USA shipping

I have on various occasions wanted to purchase products from the USA but have found that either New Zealand is not on the list of shipping destinations, or the price of shipping is simply out of this world. Today I came across another such case.

Here is a small booklet titled Who’sAfraid of the Multiverse? by Jeff Zweerink (68 pages; $4USD to buy). I added two of these to the cart and went to the checkout … only to find:

United States Postal Service
Priority Mail International – $ 27.25
Express Mail International (EMS) – $ 32.25

Federal Express
International Priority – $ 66.61

Wow, that’s about $50 NZD minimum shipping charge. Ouch :-( !

I don’t want to bash Christian ministries that are often overworked and understaffed, but I really do think that USA Christians (generally) need to be more globally focussed and a little less focussed on the US market as if it is the only one that exists.

In fact, many non-US Christians are desperate for materials but cannot acess them easily or at reasonable price. Is this really helpful in the big picture?

Even a pay-for PDF download option for non-US customers could be useful at times.

14 replies
  1. Ross
    Ross says:

    I heard there was a place in the USA you could get things posted to, and they would sent it to NZ at a cheaper postage rate. I don’t recall what site it was, but ‘googling’ gives as one option (haven’t signed up to check costings)

  2. Bnonn
    Bnonn says:

    Even a pay-for PDF download option for non-US customers could be useful at times.

    Indeed. Fortunately, some ministries are becoming more globally and electronically aware; it’s just a slow process. Even more fortunately, some ministries are becoming aware that charging for these sorts of resources is rather a difficult position to maintain biblically; or, at least, not charging for them is being recognized as the far better option. Vincent Cheung, hyper-Calvinist though he is, has been putting out a lot of excellent apologetics literature and commentaries which are available for very cheap purchase as hardcopy (but still with expensive shipping since it’s third party); but also for free PDF download. Desiring God has also started to make a lot of their works available online, which is very encouraging as John Piper is recognized as a world leader in producing top Christian literature; so hopefully others will seriously consider his example.

  3. Rob
    Rob says:

    Thanks 4 the info Ross. Useful especially if a family or group of people pay part of the costs between them.

    Bnonn, I think John MacArthur has also released all his thousands of messages now for free on the web.

    Regarding it being free — I don’t think so. These people have to pay the bills too and the bandwidth that we use for free. Most people can afford REASONABLY priced materials. I think eventually we will have to start paying for some materials that are free now. James White ( for example charges for his lecture and debate MP3s.

  4. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    that charging for these sorts of resources is rather a difficult position to maintain biblically;

    That’s an interesting position to hold. How is it supported? Biblically that is?

  5. Keith
    Keith says:

    Hi Rob,

    Those charges…

    United States Postal Service
    Priority Mail International – $ 27.25
    Express Mail International (EMS) – $ 32.25

    …are exactly what the USPS charges for a package between 1 and 2 pounds to New Zealand (see this page). So I don’t think Reasons to Believe is trying to gouge you; they’re just trying to pass the costs along.

    Having said that, they really should offer a First Class Mail option, which would be much cheaper. You might want to suggest that to them.

    Also, I think it’s pretty clear that two copies of a 68-page booklet don’t weigh more than a pound, but again, I don’t think they’re trying to gouge you. They probably just don’t want to have to put the weight of every title into their online database for purposes of calculating shipping charges, so I suspect that they use an average figure, which ends up being way too high in your case.


  6. Rob
    Rob says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the info. I am certainly not bashing RTB — they are, as you say, covering their costs. It would be good for us in NZ if they were to offer a cheaper option which can take longer to get here, but often not much more.

    In New Zealand we have low wages and a terrible dollar compared to the US dollar. This often translates into very expensive goods :-(

    MP3s are a huge blessing as even pay-for downloads have no postage!



  7. Keith
    Keith says:

    How high did petrol prices go last year in NZ? In California, where I live, they peaked above $4.50 US per gallon, which at the current exchange rate equals about $2.00 NZ per liter.

  8. Rob
    Rob says:

    I think we hit about $2 NZD per litre. When are MIT going to invent a solar based hydrogen producing apparatus and rid us of the oil-based economy???

    Over here many people detest the supposed American SUV mentality (not that we are any better).

  9. Julia
    Julia says:

    I really like the pay-for-PDF download idea.
    I hope someone is tech-saavy enough to get that concept underway in the near future.

    $30 is definitely way too much shipping to spend on a $4 item.
    In the future however, if there is a must-have item I would pass along the name of a company I have used to deliver goods to NZ and AU – their name is

    Most US e-tailers will only ship to a US Address, so if you can get free domestic shipping, then you only pay the international portion. For something that doesn’t weigh much it wouldn’t be too bad. Also it gets to its destination very quickly! My sister said her Christmas gifts arrived 3 days after it left Bongo’s warehouse.

    Good luck finding your copy of Jeff Zweerink’s book…

  10. Kevin Burke
    Kevin Burke says:

    Regarding postage from the US, The postal service has it’s own website Checking this, one can send up to 8 oz. (1/4 Kilo) for about
    $6.65us. Suggest you request 1st class from the shipper.

  11. Eliz
    Eliz says:

    Hi, I noticed this and had to respond – have lived here for awhile in NZ and often get things from the U.S. and apparently they STOPPED the surface mail service and now only mail air. So that good shipping rate by boat is not available anymore. For those of us without a whole lot of money who were willing to “wait for our stuff” the option’s just not there anymore. :(
    Best thing might be to have a friend in the U.S. send it after saving some things up for awhile and stuff them all in a box and see if combining items like that will save you some money – I agree it’s ridiculous.

  12. Jeff Zweerink
    Jeff Zweerink says:

    This whole issue is a concern here at Reasons to Believe. Within the next month, we are scheduled to roll out a completely revamped website. The new site will include a new store that offers a way to pay and download a PDF item.

    For the more immediate future, the folks in customer service said that there was a significantly cheaper shipping method. If you contact them (using the link at the bottom of the web store page), they can arrange to have two copies shipped to New Zealand for just over $10. You must contact them, however, because they cannot connect this shipping method with the web store currently.

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