The Cheapest Way to Ship Books Internationally

Cover Image for The Cheapest Way to Ship Books Internationally

In today's digital age, the love for physical books continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many. Bill Gates famously continues to read exclusively on physical books.

Whether you're a bookseller expanding your international clientele or a book lover looking to move your personal library overseas, shipping books across borders can be a costly affair.

But despair not, dear reader!

With this blog post, we'll deep dive into cost-effective strategies that can help you ship books internationally without emptying your wallet.

books lover gif

How Much Does It Cost to Ship Books Internationally via Air Freight

When it comes to determining the cost of shipping books internationally, one of the critical factors is the weight of the package.

Although volumetric weight is a common parameter in air shipping for most items, books are an exception due to their typical heaviness. They are more often charged based on their actual weight.

However, if your box full of books is larger than necessary but light, you might end up paying more due to its size.

Therefore, using an appropriately sized box is crucial when shipping books internationally.

Another common question people ask is, "Will I get taxed for shipping books?"

The answer depends on the country you're shipping to.

Some countries may impose taxes or duties on imported goods, including books.

At JustShip, we offer prepaid taxes option to save you from unexpected charges.

To get a cost estimate, utilise JustShip’s rate calculator! Simply select “Pre-pay taxes” option and you will get a comprehensive estimate that includes potential additional charges.

justship rate calculator

Cost-Effective Shipping with JustShip

At JustShip, we understand that shipping books can be expensive. That's why we're committed to offering affordable, value-for-money air shipping services.

Our competitive rates ensure that you receive superior service without straining your budget.

Importantly, we offer better deals for larger shipments. Put simply, the more you ship, the less you pay per kilogram.

To illustrate the savings with JustShip, let's look at the costs of shipping from Singapore to the USA. Here's a pricing table for shipments of 1kg, 2kg, 10kg, 20kg, and 30kg:

Shipment Weight


Price per KG

1 KG



2 KG



10 KG



20 KG



30 KG



Packing Tips to Ensure Safety and Lower Costs

packing books gif

Now that we've addressed the cost aspect, let's look at how proper packing can play a crucial role in reducing those shipping costs.

Proper packing not only minimises the dimensional weight (and therefore the shipping cost), but also protects your books from potential damage during transit.

Damaged books might need to be replaced or repaired, adding extra costs.

Ensuring your books are well-protected with suitable packing materials can help prevent these additional expenses.

How to Pack Books for International Shipping

The packing approach will also vary based on the quantity of the books.

For small volume shipments (e.g. 1 or 2 books), you can likely pack your books into a polymailer or padded envelope.

However, for larger shipments, you might need to spread the books across multiple boxes to manage weight and prevent damage.

Packing Thin & Similar Size Books

If you are shipping thinner and similar size books for sale or distribution, these can often be grouped together.

For example, you might wrap together up to 15 or 20 thinner books in light, magazine-like paper.

This method provides efficient and compact packing, regardless of specific stacking and wrapping arrangements.

Packing Used Books with Variety Size and Thickness

Used books often come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. These books won't be grouped and wrapped together.

Instead, they should be organised neatly within the box, like a game of Tetris, to avoid any space or movement within the box.

Regardless of the type of books you're shipping, it's crucial to remember these essential packing considerations due to their weight:

1. Split the Books: For larger shipments, such as those with 100 books, consider splitting them into multiple boxes (e.g., four boxes). This practice prevents damage that could occur if a box can't support the weight of the books.

2. Use Double Corrugated Boxes: Always opt for double corrugated boxes, which can better withstand the weight of the books and hold up under the stresses of transit.

types of boxes

3. Fill Extra Space: If there's any extra space within the box, fill it with robust and thick packing materials, like styrofoam panels, or ample amounts of bubble wrap or packing peanuts. These materials prevent books from moving and strengthen the box if it's flipped during transit.

4. Shrink Wrap the Package: When shipping hardcover or particularly heavy books, consider shrink wrapping the entire box after packing. This measure provides additional support to the box and protects against water damage during deliveries on bad weather days.

Do not have the packing materials or are unsure about how to pack?

Don't worry, we've got you covered.

At JustShip, we offer packing services for all sorts of items!

Opt for our packing services and we will assess and pack your items in a suitable packaging (e.g. polymailer, envelope, standard sized carton box, customised carton box).

Simply hand over your books to us in a disposable bag or container, and we will take care of the packing for you.


We hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the process smoothly.

At JustShip, we understand the intricacies involved in international book shipping, and we're here to support you every step of the way and simplify the shipping experience for you.

Should you have any questions or require assistance in shipping books overseas, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Our dedicated team is always ready to help!

Moreover, if you are considering sending documents along with your books, our guide on “Sending Documents Overseas” can provide you with further useful information.

Ready to ship your books overseas? Create a shipment with us now!

September 7, 2023

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