So here are the changes we've made, in a nut shell:
Super Saver (economy) - In exchange for slightly higher Priority Mail rates, we have LOWERED the threshold for our Super Saver free shipping option in half DOWN TO ONLY $49 shippable total, and we have made economy shipping our DEFAULT shipping method. It's what 63% of you already choose anyway, so I think this just makes sense. Super Saver orders will ship either standard mail or ground service (at our discretion). We are getting an average delivery time of 4.3 days for standard mail anyway vs. 2.8 day for priority mail, so again, this just makes sense.
Priority Mail - This is the biggest change. Priority Mail will remain available but will no longer be our standard shipping option - meaning you'll have to select it now at checkout. Our Pri Mail shipping rates have been increased, especially for larger orders, to reflect the reality of the Postal Service's recent rate hikes (again). The post office has increased transportation costs across the board, has now added the zoning of all weight classes all the way down to 1 lb, and has implemented even stricter dimensional size restrictions with extra charges for even what we consider small packages. A regular 2 lb parcel (that's 3 manga, for instance) to the west coast is now costing us $9.55 in postage alone for Pri Mail, and it's clear the post office is trying to discourage people from using the service as their Pri Mail rates are now comparable or higher for us than 2nd day air with a commercial carrier. Please keep in mind we have not changed our Priority Mail rates through 4 years of rate increases, and these adjustments are really way overdue.
FedEx - Our FedEx Air and FedEx Ground rates have stayed the same. FedEx 2nd Day day air is still flat rate $16.98 any order. FedEx ground (home delivery) is still flat rate $12.98 any order. All FedEx parcels ship fully insured, are fully trackable, and FedEx ground still delivers ground parcels on Saturday at no extra charge.
UPS - Our primary ground carrier is FedEx, but we know some of you like UPS. UPS ground service is still available but is no longer flat rate. The new cost now $9.95 + $1 per lb anywhere in the continental US. This change helps us deal with their new dimensional weight requirements for all parcels larger than, well, basically a snuff box. All UPS parcels ship fully insured and are fully trackable. UPS air freight service is not available, but wasn't before either. All RACS air parcels still ship FedEx.
Overseas - For international shipments, our Canadian rates have been increased slightly but are still very competitive. We haven't raised those rates for 4 years either, so we really needed to bring them in line with reality. I'm looking into a free shipping threshold for Canada also, so we're looking into a few different shipping options we might be able to use to make that possible. EMS and FedEx International rates are unchanged except to Australia, where they have increased about 4 1/2% to offset the additional remote zone delivery fees we are now incurring to that zone. Most of that increase effects smaller parcels under 5lbs, and rates for over 5lbs to that zone have hardly changed at all.
That's about everything. We've done a lot of testing prior to making these new rates live, but if you experience any 'glitches' while trying to place an order, please let us know. :-)