Shipping to other nations has become more complicated and expensive than ever, and we often find ourselves unable to offer physical Kickstarter rewards to anyone outside of the United States. This frustrates many who live in other nations, and it frustrates us as well since we want our games to be available globally, but the difficulties are often far greater than the return. It is very, very easy to lose money on an international package, for a wide number of reasons that are outlined nicely in this blog post at Calamityware.
In that post, the author, Don Moyer, perfectly illustrates some of the reasons that Calamityware put an end to international shipping. A few of these include:
"As our package crosses borders, packaging tracking fails and the shipment disappears. Gone. That poor package is never heard from again. Even though we did nothing wrong, we must ship a replacement product and pay the shipping a second time. Ouch."
"Many countries impose sales taxes or value-added taxes (VAT). Calculating the appropriate tax for each jurisdiction is complex and wildly inconsistent. We are expected to pay those taxes on various schedules to various offices with various submission requirements. And the requirements can change at any moment. You can't count on being notified. Babysitting tax requirements never ends. Ouch."
"Even if we could calculate and collect the correct tax, there are places where we aren't permitted to submit the taxes directly. Instead, we must pay a certificated international tax accountant a retainer to pass the taxes through to the designated bureaucrats. Ouch."
These are by no means all of the stated reasons that Calamityware has stopped shipping to addresses outside of the U.S. and Canada. I recommend reading the blog post for more information. It's an educational and well-crafted read.
(How did I find this? I stumbled across a Kickstarter campaign for a sweet art print and as I read, I followed a link to the blog post. I'm glad I did, because it's good to know we're not alone in our frustrations with the current state of international sales and shipping.)
-- Phil Reed