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 Valhalla Fine and Collectible Books

Valhalla Fine and Collectible Books

 Maintained by:
 Used & rare books including modern first editions in fiction, mystery, science fiction, poetry, childrens, and select nonfiction, many signed. All books accurately described with regard to both edition and condition. Images are of the actual book being sold. 20+ years of experience as a dealer.

On Shipping

Recent Shipping News and Updates

As of January, 2013, USPS rates for Priority and Express Mail increased again. Worse, the rates for First Class International packages were increased significantly. I've sketched out a chart for international rates and posted it on eBay. This chart approximates the current discounted rates I receive (though the USPS has complicated an already messy system with new 'zones' for 7 individual countries. If you have any questions, concerns of comments about shipping issues, please feel free to email me.

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Domestic Shipping

Media Mail

My default shipping for US shipments will continue to be Media Mail and includes delivery confirmation. The cost of domestic Media Mail shipping for the majority of my books will remain unchanged at $3.50. Each additional book to the same address will cost $1.00. If the total package weight is 13 ounces or less, I may be able to upgrade you to the First Class Parcel rate at no additional charge. Be advised, I am flexible with regard to shipping costs, especially as the quantity of books you order from me increases... If you purchase 3 or more books, I encourage you to wait for me to invoice you through eBay for additional savings.

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Priority Mail

The priority option will now be available on request at cost based on the weight of the package and the zip code that the book will be shipped to as calculated at the USPS rate calculator site Books will be shipped from San Francisco (94110).

Shipping in the Flat Rate Priority Envelope is available upon request for $5.00 iff the book will fit into the envelope and the purchaser understands that the book will not be shipped within the protection of a box.

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Domestic Delivery Times

Please note, Media Mail packages can arrive as quickly as 2 days and can, less often, take as long as 1+ month to arrive. The three parts of the delivery equation I have control over, quality packing, clear labeling using the USPS 'Click-N-Ship for Business' Software with delivery confirmation included, and promptly getting the packages into the delivery stream, I work very hard at providing for each and every order I process. But once the books leave my hands, Media Mail packages are almost always shipped via truck rather than air and, each step of the way, from receiving Post Office to delivering Post Office, are not treated with the same sense of urgency as Priority and First Class packages. During most of the year, you can conservatively expect a Media Mail package to arrive within 1-2 weeks, USPS permitting, depending, of course, on how far the package will be traveling. So, for example, West Coast customers should generally receive the book within a week. Packages to the Northeast tend toward the 1-2 week time frame.

FYI, certain 'Bulk Mail Centers' seem to consistently perform worse than most. I personally have had a lot of problems in terms of slower than usual delivery with packages shipped through the BMCs at Springfield, MA, Jersey City, NJ and Allen Park, MI.

All buyers are cautioned, not just for my shipments but for any order you may place using the Media Mail shipping option, that during the December holiday season, delivery times can quickly double or triple and, if time is a factor, Media Mail is NOT recommended DURING THE HOLIDAYS!

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International Shipping

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International First Class Mail

NOTE, as of May, 2007, the old discount International options of Economy [Surface] Letter Post and Economy [Surface] Parcel Post ARE NO LONGER BEING OFFERED BY THE POST OFFICE. The closest service offered as a 'cheap' option is International First Class Mail. The default shipping for most books shipped internationally will now be First Class International mail. This is only available for parcels up to four pounds and is priced by zone, that is to say, the cost will depend on the weight of the package and the country it is being shipped to. International buyers are encouraged to contact me before making the purchase to get a quote for shipping to their country using this method. For the average hardcover book, prices can run anywhere from US$10-$35. To get some idea of the range, see the table of International Rates (links above).

International Flat-Rate Envelope Priority Mail

For packages that will weigh in at over 2 pounds 4 ounces, I will use the Priority International Flat-Rate envelope if the book will fit. FYI, using the flimsy Envelope provided by the Post Office, the book can be prone to a few more bumps and bruises than a book shipped within the protection of a box. I pack the book well, in bag, some sort of protective envelope (either cardboard or stiff paper) and bubble wrap and have had no reports of any problems to date, having shipped well over 1,000 books this way, but it is something all buyers should be aware of.

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Boxed Priority Mail International

Boxed Priority Mail International will be priced by weight and zone. For the average book, prices appear to range from US$28.00-US$50.00. There is a flat-rate box option (of up to 20 pounds, as long as it can fit into the Flat-Rate Box provided by the Post office) for US$60.00 (US$41.00 for Canada). Once again, international buyers are encouraged to contact me and/or consult my table of (discounted) International Rates before making the purchase to get a quote for shipping via Priority Mail International.

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International Delivery Times

The Post Office is estimating a delivery time of 6-10 days for Priority Mail International Service. No official Post Office delivery time estimates are given for the International First Class Mail. For the most part, it seems to be running only slightly longer than the Priority.

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International Discounts

Due to peculiarities in the pricing structure for International shipping, specifically the discounted Priority Mail International Flat-Rate envelope, shipping discounts for shipping 2-4 books internationally are very small and sometimes non-existent. It is only after the package weight exceeds about 5 pounds that we may be able take advantage of either the Flat-Rate Priority box or the bulk shipping option that is still available, 'Airmail M-bags.'

In rare cases, I may be able to fit two books into one Flat-Rate envelope but this requires relatively thin books and inevitably increases the chances of damage during shipment.

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Customs Forms

Finally, International buyers, do not ask me to lie about value on a Customs Form. I understand how onerous the fees can be for some countries, especially Canada. I promise I will never over-value your item and will never include the price of shipping in my customs declaration. However as a regular mailer of many international packages, I am uncomfortable declaring a lower value on a Customs Form. My Customs Forms are printed out to expedite handling and a zero value or 'NCV' declaration would stick out like a sore thumb. If avoiding paying your country's Customs Fee is that important to you, you should make your purchase with a different seller (though I encourage you to check with that seller first, many people are as uncomfortable as I am with the idea of lying on a signed government form).

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About Packing

All dust jackets will be protected in archival quality dust jacket protectors. Books will be carefully layer packed in plastic bag and bubble wrap, then shipped in a sturdy box with ample packing material to ensure it arrives to you as described. The one exception to this will be books shipped via Flat-Rate envelope (both domestic and international). Books shipped using this option will be bagged and bubble wrapped in such a way as to maximize protection but this shipping choice precludes the use of boxes.

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About Insurance

I'm not a big fan of the insurance offered by the Post Office. You are more than welcome to purchase it if you so desire but it is unnecessary when dealing with me... As a businessperson, I have a responsibility to get the package into your hands. In the extremely unlikely event that the book does not arrive, I will refund the entire amount of your purchase, including shipping. In essence, I 'self-insure,' making the purchase of the relatively expensive Postal insurance unnecessary. I look at it this way... if I bought an item from a large corporation and it did not arrive, I would expect them to make good on my purchase, either by shipping me another (similar or better) item or refunding my purchase. Just because I operate a small business does not, in my opinion, change that buyer/seller dynamic...

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