International Shipping Update
I just want to warn you that this update is very frustrating for me to write. I have been holding off for better news but the more time that passes the more you guys are starting to get restless (myself included). So let me just back up and tell you exactly what is going on with the international orders to date.
So, as you probably know, I decided to use a BIG FANCY shipping company in the UK to deliver all the international orders for me. I was recommended these guys from a friend who used them and I even had a conference call with them about a year ago to make sure this would run smoothly. We have been communicating by email ever since and every step of the way I would check in to make sure I was doing everything right so that it could get handled quickly.
The problems started happening when I was trying to get my printer and this fulfillment company to communicate about splitting the order at the port so that they could take the amount needed for the international orders. For some reason they could not communicate (or would not communicate) and I had to force things along by playing the middle man between their emails. This was a little troubling. It caused probably 40 emails back and forth for no reason at all.
Anyway, my printer (who is awesome) had the order split up at the Hong Kong port and we sent all the information to the distributor who wanted to take it from there. (that was on October 3rd) The books were all printed and shipped I thought.
As you might remember, I received my 8 pallets of books on November 2nd and we shipped them out on November 3rd. I assumed that the books would have been delivered to the UK distributor way quicker than the books that had to float all the way across the ocean and then trucked to the Midwest of America. But apparently I was wrong. Because they were still nowhere to be seen.
Worse yet, another problem happening at the same time. For about a month (this was in September and October) I was trying to ship all my older books that were part of the international orders to the UK distributor (because they promised me they could handle it all for me) but they couldn't seem to set up the shipping company (DHL) to pick up the packages. They finally told me that they couldn't do it at all anymore, and that I should try to ship it to them myself. (10 heavy boxes of books to England) After pricing it out with other companies (all quoting double or triple the price they promised) I called up DHL myself and they said they could do it but I would have to drive the boxes to the next state (Utah). So I told the UK distributor and they finally sent me the shipping labels at the price they quoted me. I drove the books to Utah and they were finally in the mail on October 29th and they arrived at the UK distributor on the 31st. Good, I thought, that's done.
A few later I got an email from them saying that the pallet of books from the printer had been delayed for some reason and they are looking into it. What?
I email them back. Nothing. A week later I email again and hear no response. I email them again and no response. I log into their shipping system periodically to see what is the status of the orders but all that shows up is the list of books with a '0' next to each title saying that there is nothing in their warehouse. But that doesn't make sense because I have confirmation that the DHL boxes were delivered and signed for a month ago!
I keep emailing them and now I am expressing my concern and frustration with the whole experience.
So that is where we are at. I just sent another email right before writing this update and I am at a loss for what to do.
They have control over all my international books and so I can't just tell them to forget it and that I'll ship them myself. Because I would need to ship those books back to me or risk losing them completely.
Worse yet, I based the shipping price (that I charged backers) on what they quoted me and so the budget is very tight for what I can spend on shipping.
ANYWAY! So what does this mean?
With all this said, I want to give you a guarantee that I will not stop until these books are delivered to you. Even if I have to take a loss on all the international stock that is being held somewhere. Even if I have to eventually spend my own money to get these shipped to you from my garage. And trust me, I'd lose a bunch of money on this campaign if I did that.
The second thing I want to guarantee is that I will not launch a new kickstarter until I have shipped out (or the UK distributor has shipped out) your orders. My plan was to launch a new campaign in February for Books 5 and 6 but I will push back the launch date if this is still not resolved by then.
And finally, I don't think I'm going to be using another International distributor next time. They promise big savings but it has been the most stressful thing about this whole campaign to trust a company to handle this for me around the world. At this point, I would rather just eat some of the profits from international orders and do the shipping myself again. Yeah, it's more work but at least you will get your books at a reasonable time.
The only thing I ask is that you please be patient with me. Trust me when I say that this is really bothering me that it's taking this long and the last thing I wanted was for the international orders to be taking this long.
I will give you another update as soon and I know more.
Thank you so much for your support! Talk soon,