Precious Apothecary Release, Shipping, Brexit, Golden Hoard, and Witch Bottles

Gardback’s Trolldom, Great Pendragon Campaign, Sibly Clavis, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Cecil Williamson’s Book of Witchcraft

The temperature outside is freezing in upstate, so I hope you’re warmer where you are.

Avalonia, with whom I’ve published in the past, has released the latest book by Cyprianic specialist José Leitão, Precious Apothecary. A quick note:

Precious Apothecary is a translation of Botica Preciosa, a Catholic Grimoire compiled by Ângelo de Sequeira Ribeiro do Prado (1707-1776) who was perhaps the most important Brazilian missionary in history. The Botica Preciosa (1754) was his first book and is a collection of prayers, devotions and exercises to the Lady of the Rock and 120 other Saints. Suffused with the author’s missionary purpose the book also contains the consecrations and blessings for oils, flowers, statues and food, as well as exorcisms and prayers for many ailments intended for situations where no priests were available.

A few notes for collectors and book lovers: The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has led to some difficulties that you should be aware of. International shipping rates have gone up substantially in many cases, making it problematic to make small-scale orders – such as used books – without paying major markups. Most specifically for grimoire collectors, Stephen Skinner announced that Golden Hoard books – including the upcoming Volume 2 of the Ars Notoria – cannot be shipped from them directly and will need to be ordered from Llewellyn and Amazon instead. I hope this situation is only temporary for them.

And then, there’s Brexit. (Yay, more politics!) As part of the New Year’s Brexit decision-making, the UK government decided to require overseas businesses shipping to UK customers to collect Value Added Tax up front, requiring a business to create an account with their government to do so. (Full disclosure: apparently the EU is going to do the same thing in a year and a half, but they’re planning to exempt orders under a certain amount.) Thus, unless a small press or bookseller does a great deal of UK business, they will likely choose simply not to ship to customers there instead of navigating the logistical headaches of it.

(Note: Friend of the blog Steve points out that most printed materials are exempted from VAT, so we shouldn’t have a problem here for most book sales. I would still question how this might affect other products that might be offered alongside these. My message below still stands.)

My overall message: this is a time when both customers and booksellers should keep an eye on shipping rates and regulations, and – gasp! – advocate to their government for what works best for them. Unlike other goods, it is often hard to simply replace one book with another, so such restrictions can have long-term negative impacts on scholarship and the exchange of ideas.

I’m setting aside the Book of Four Wizards for a week or so to revise the witch bottle book released in Caduceus’ Bellhouse set. I’ve had people ask me about it, so I think it might be time to see if I can’t prep it for a wider audience. We’ll see how it goes.

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Published in: on January 31, 2021 at 3:52 pm  Comments (3)  

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  1. In New Zealand, following Australia, the foreign business has to do over $60,000/year in sales (or tax?) with our country before they are required to add tax, which will exempt all the esoteric publishers. It was interesting that for some books on Book Depository the price didn’t change when they supposedly added the tax. Some think people will shift from Amazon etc to more unscrupulous sites that don’t bother following the rules.

  2. The EU will introduce a new VAT scheme for non-EU sellers in july this year, which will require those who sign up to collect VAT at the point of sales. The good news for EU customers buying abroad is that they will no longer face surprise extra charges when their orders are delivered (VAT, often on top of foreign VAT already paid, and administrative charges for determining & collecting local VAT). For non-EU businesses, the advantage is that they do not have to register which every EU country they’re doing business with separately, which is currently the case if they don’t want to shift the costs to their customers (which makes them unattractive on price).

    For Europeans, I think it’ll be an improvement over what we currently have. I almost never order from the US anymore because of the significant extra costs, and I’ve stopped ordering from the UK post-Brexit because this has now become just as expensive. The new scheme (called IOSS) will at least eliminate the uncertainty and extra administrative charges. I understand it’s still an extra burden on British businesses, but it will also somewhat restore their lost EU sales. For those who don’t want to sign up nothing changes. They can still ship & expect customers to pick up the additional costs, or they could not ship at all, as is already for many years the case with many US businesses.

  3. To give an example of the Brexit impact on book prices from small publishers, The Precious Apothecary is listed for a very reasonable £29,99 (€34,03) on the Avalonia website. If you buy it via Amazon.nl, you’ll currently pay €76,99 for the paperback or €127,99 for the hardback. Without shipping.


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