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Does anyone have experience shipping books to themselves in France? We would like to have some of our books with us for the first year we live in France, but don't want to weigh down our baggage with them. We've gotten wildly different information about how much it costs and how to do it, so any tips (to make it as inexpensive and easy as possible) would be appreciated.
 

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Does anyone have experience shipping books to themselves in France? We would like to have some of our books with us for the first year we live in France, but don't want to weigh down our baggage with them. We've gotten wildly different information about how much it costs and how to do it, so any tips (to make it as inexpensive and easy as possible) would be appreciated.
Are you a bibliophile? How much do you value your books? not in dollars but would you miss them? I made the serious mistake of getting rid of a lot of mine and now when I want to read something in one I can't find it. Some of mine were nearly 200 years old and included the bound volumes of Punch magazine from back in the 1840s; I even had a copy of The Times newspaper announcing the death of Nelson. All gone to new owners.

For shipping we recommend Bekins, they are good, reliable and don't cost the earth.
 

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Unfortunately, if you're shipping them from the US, there doesn't seem to be a "book rate" available these days from the post office. In many countries, that's the cheap way to go for shipping books - but not for the US.

I'd suggest you talk to one of those "we ship it" type stores. (The Package Store is the one I'm familiar with, but there are others - usually national chains.) They deal with all the various transport services and can very often recommend the best alternative for shipping this sort of stuff overseas.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Bev, what other companies are an example of that "we ship it" thing you mention? Like FedEx, Parcel Plus? Do you mean just something other than the post office?
 

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Bev, what other companies are an example of that "we ship it" thing you mention? Like FedEx, Parcel Plus? Do you mean just something other than the post office?
Basically you may have to google to find something in your area - but if you google "package mailing store" there are a number of names that pop up with specific towns. Maybe try something like "package shipping store" plus your town.

There are shops that indicate that they deal with the post office, FedEx, UPS, DHL and all the usual suspects in this area - and they should be able to help you decide among them. That's what The Package Store I used was - that's the name of the chain "The Package Store."
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Avoid DHL - my experience is that they do nothing re customs and you are likely to end up (eventually) with a re-packaged delivery that requires you to pay a hefty fee for customs duty.
 

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Avoid DHL - my experience is that they do nothing re customs and you are likely to end up (eventually) with a re-packaged delivery that requires you to pay a hefty fee for customs duty.
Re DHL, I’ll second that. The custom’s duty was calculated on the goods and the shipping.

I have found GLS pretty good.
 

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Avoid DHL - my experience is that they do nothing re customs and you are likely to end up (eventually) with a re-packaged delivery that requires you to pay a hefty fee for customs duty.
Actually, I have a package consolidation and shipping service where DHL seems to be the better deal. The other main choice for shipment adds rather hefty administrative fees to the customs charges. Maybe, like the administrative offices here in France, it depends which office you're working with.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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If applicable, the least expensive amount may be to pay for extra bag(s) with your air carrier.

In my case, I left everything in the U.S. and repurchased some favs via abebooks.com using Great Britain as a bookseller country to minimize shipping fees.

I have ordered used books from the U.S. via abebooks and the shipping rates were surprisingly low, much lower than when I shipped stuff via USPS to France.

You may or may not find what you want, and it takes forever to receive your order, but this may be a consideration. There are a few small English language bookstores (used) in the latin quarter of Paris.

But in the end, nothing like having your personal books with you.
 

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wsf...thanks for your advice. The thing with the suitcases is I am traveling alone and don't necessarily want to lug 4 pieces of luggage. But I'll think about adding more books to my luggage since, as you said, it probably is cheaper.

I was looking at shipping companies and they seemed very expensive. I was beginning to think "I can just buy all these books again instead of paying that cost!" Like your suggestion!

But oddly I still have about three boxes worth that I want to have. :/ I am going to try to get them down to 20 lbs each and do it through the postal service.

Thanks for the tip about where to order books in English too...
 

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wsf...thanks for your advice. The thing with the suitcases is I am traveling alone and don't necessarily want to lug 4 pieces of luggage. But I'll think about adding more books to my luggage since, as you said, it probably is cheaper...
Soleil

We brought some books when we moved (about 80% were cook books). The movers handled it, there were no customs fees, and they were delivered to the house. Now that we're here, we purchase electronic books and magazines...no page turning, alas, and that is a real loss...but we simply don't have the space.

We found excess baggage fees can be reasonable, depending upon the size and weight of what we are bringing. And because there are no customs fees for what's in your baggage (at least normally), it's attractive..which only leaves the issue of schlepping several potentially large suitcases full of books...not an inviting prospect when traveling alone.

If I were doing it, I'd consider one of the two following approaches:

  • If I lived outside Paris: I seem to remember that SNCF has emailed me about a baggage service that they offer. They will take your bags at your departure point and deliver them to your destination. Check with SNCF if this approach sounds interesting.
  • If I lived in Paris: I'd take a taxi. This does leave the issue of how to get large, heavy suitcases to the curb outside by oneself. One can only push one luggage cart.
Best of luck.

Ray
 
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