Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

import duties into EU on used books

Recommended Posts

This may not be the right forum to post this question in - moderators please feel free to move to more appropriate location - but felt perhaps others with an interest in discussing and collecting ballet books may know the answer.

I have recently moved to mainland Europe. There are a number of (long out of print) ballet books that I have finally located through online used book dealers. The only problem? The dealers are in the USA. I know that import duties can be frighteningly expensive (after an experiment with ordering ballet supplies not available here from a place in the US) so, my question is:

Has anyone here ordered used books from the US to a location in Europe (as far as I have been told all EU countries should have the same import duties)? Do you have any idea of the percentage of the item cost the import duties were?

Thanks for any help that can be provided. I have just recently joined the forum discussions after being a long-term 'lurker'. I hope I can contribute more in the future.

Link to comment

Welcome, garnet. It's a good question, and I think this is the best place to put it. Unfortunately, I can't answer you, except to say that there may well be used booksellers in Europe that will serve you just as well.

Also, I THINK that most countries have a cut-off for customs duties, that if a shipment is under a certain amount there is no Customs. Have you looked into that?

Where are you living? (Translation: what ballet companies can we expect to learn about from you? :()

Link to comment

As far as I know, you have to pay VAT on books with prices above 25 Euro ( 26 Usd now) but no import-costs.

Sometimes you're lucky and a parcel passes customs without notice and sometimes the mention 'secondhand book' is also a help !

Those 6% VAT is not much, but sadly they calculate also delivery-costs ! So I had to pay recently for a book of 31 Euro, 2,34 Euro Vat...and 8.68 delivery-costs :P

Alexandra, there is still not much going on concerning good secondhand book internetsites in Europe I'm afraid. Well- apart from some in UK- I don't know of many ! Suggestions always welcome !.

You can always try Dancebooks. (www.dancebooks.co.uk)

Link to comment


I don' t think you have to worry about customs duties, unless the parcel is really big. I'm a PhD student, I live in France. I need for my research to buy a lot of second hand books in the USA, and I have never been asked to pay custom dusties, but the parcels were not too big, I mean for ballet books it can be different. But shipping and handling from the USA to Europe is not cheap, $10 for air mail, $6 for surface mail (delivery : about 2 months but it works !).

You can try the following websites (a lot of choice, you can find books in English even on the German Websites, and they often are less expensive than in the English/ American ones) :

abebooks.com, sfb.at, zvab.com, chapitre.com, galaxidion.com (in french) or go to yahoo.com, search for second hand books, and you will get a lot of good websites !

Link to comment

Alexandra, I noticed the wealth of secondhand bookshops in Copenhagen last September ! It was frustrating that shops closed on Saturday-noon until Monday-noon...and so I had no possibility to visit them :P

Cygneblanc, lucky you that you have not to pay in France...in Belgium they seem more persistent :D

I'll try your recommendations ! Thank you !

Link to comment

Thanks to everyone for your help!

Thanks to cygneblanc for the additional websites. I knew about abebooks (also have used amazon.co.uk and amazon.de) but the others were new (just what I need... more places to spend money on books!). Although I didn't find a european bookseller that had the book I was looking for... I did find a place in the USA that had the book for a better price using sfb.at. Buying books online does not quite compare to the feeling of browsing through a charming real-life collectible/antiquarian book store and finding that unexpected gem... but it is amazing what you can find online now.

Ari - thanks for the link. I checked for import tariffs on books through that site and I think it says there are none - but I'm afraid a legal degree must be a prerequisite for understanding those pages!

I think I'm just going to go ahead and order the book. It sounds like the extra charges won't be as bad as when I ordered ballet supplies (order cost was ca. 100 USD, shipping was ca. 35 USD, import duties were ca. 45 EUR). Thanks again for the help. I will post details on what charges are incurred if anyone is interested.

P.S. Alexandra - I know that this site has a deal going with Amazon.com so I hesitate to ask... but perhaps it would be okay to start a new thread collecting the addresses of European online used book sellers and peoples' experiences with them? I promise to use the links on this site to access Amazon.com if I ever order a book through them. :P

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...