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Old 06-01-2008, 04:58 PM   #1
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Options for Selling e-books Overseas (in this case, U.S. to Serbia)?

You'd like to think that, in an era when we an post e-books online, anyone on the face of the Earth could buy them. But that's not always the case.

Take an e-mail I just received, from a potential customer: He told me that he'd like to buy some of my books, but he is in Serbia, and he reports that where he is, Paypal is not an option. And sending a few dollars overseas for an e-book hardly seems feasible.

I chose Paypal because it was one of the few ways I could arrange credit card payments, and sell worldwide as much as possible... but if someone doesn't have a credit card or Paypal account, what can I do?
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Old 06-01-2008, 08:23 PM   #2
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There are a number of different paying systems similar to paypal - but I guess they would inflict the same problems...
Other services, e.g. Moneybookers, allow a bank transfer to a special fund, then sending that money to a person - very similar to Paypal, though some of them allow different kinds of payment.
What is his exact problem? In most cases bank transfers to a payment service should be possible from Serbia - and sending money from a payment service to e.g. you should be possible too...
Or what about services like "Western Union"? WU exists in Serbia and in the United States, and you dont even need a bank fund or similar. Your customer just walks to one of their stores (or uses their internet portal) pays them the money and they inform you about the incoming payment - which you can collect (AFAIK directly from a WU store or via internet)... At least if I understood their services correctly.
So he could actually pay cash - and you could recieve cash. I guess there are other, similar services - but I actually only remembered WU, so I hope that example is sufficient

One problem is, that Europe traditionally has a very different payment system from America - Credit Cards are rarely found - and you cant pay with them in most shops. Insted "bank cards" are used - a similar card, but instead of using a credit money is withdrawn from a bank fund.
Instead of sending checks (I dont know any bank that would hand out checks) bank transfers or debits are used, etc

Last edited by tirsales; 06-01-2008 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:24 AM   #3
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If it's only a few $, why doesn't he just send you the cash by mail? Lots of people used to do that to me back in the old days before the internet when I was a "shareware" author. I never lost a payment.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:11 AM   #4
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Have you checked with other checkout systems, like Google Checkout & Amazon something ? If he has a Visa or Mastercard, it should work.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:18 AM   #5
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If it's only a few $, why doesn't he just send you the cash by mail? Lots of people used to do that to me back in the old days before the internet when I was a "shareware" author. I never lost a payment.
I'm afraid this may be illegal in many countries.

The reasoning is that if people start sending cash in by mail (a tenner for the birthday of a nephew here, five bucks for an ebook there) then mail boxes on the street become an enticing target for thieves. It's not too hard to crack one open and look for cash, simply throwing the rest away.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:49 AM   #6
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Heavens - I never knew that! It's entirely normal here, and in fact, I do exactly as you describe; send my nephews a birthday card with money inside .
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:06 AM   #7
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Have you checked with other checkout systems, like Google Checkout & Amazon something ? If he has a Visa or Mastercard, it should work.
I think if he had a Visa or Mastercard, he'd be able to use Paypal, which accepts both.
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:10 AM   #8
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Or what about services like "Western Union"? WU exists in Serbia and in the United States, and you dont even need a bank fund or similar.
I'll have to look into that one... never occurred to me, but it would seem to make sense (provided, of course, he's reasonably close to a WU office).
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:15 AM   #9
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Well, he lives in Siberia. There is much to be said for the sympathy donation.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:02 AM   #10
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Ok, it's she and not he

[RANT]
Second, I have a card I use for online purchase... it's just that I cannot get an account with Paypal due to certain stupid laws. The same one that prevent me from using WU for sending monies out of the country, from making direct deposit on foreign currency account (even my husband's!)... [/RANT]

I'm not exactly keen on sending my CC number so we'll have to find some other way...
Oh, yes. I CAN wire the money - they ask only for a symbolic fee of 25 dollars + 0.5%.

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Old 06-02-2008, 11:07 AM   #11
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Which just points up my whole, (s)he lives in Siberia observation. 8?)
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:18 AM   #12
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Which just points up my whole, (s)he lives in Siberia observation. 8?)


*points pshrynk towards the nearest atlas*
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:26 AM   #13
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Who knew Siberia was in Asia?
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:45 AM   #14
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It appears that paypal has Payment Services that don't require a PayPal account. I think they work by taking a credit card number as an alternative to a paypal account number. I don't know if they are legal in Serbia, or if they are too expensive for low volume/margin businesses.

Last edited by wallcraft; 06-02-2008 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:28 PM   #15
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Ok, it's she and not he
Major apologies!

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Second, I have a card I use for online purchase... it's just that I cannot get an account with Paypal due to certain stupid laws. The same one that prevent me from using WU for sending monies out of the country, from making direct deposit on foreign currency account (even my husband's!)... [/RANT]

I'm not exactly keen on sending my CC number so we'll have to find some other way...
Oh, yes. I CAN wire the money - they ask only for a symbolic fee of 25 dollars + 0.5%.
Yeah... all that sucks in a big way. Especially the "symbolic fee + tax."
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