Questions about ordering Mokuhankan prints ...
Q: What payment methods can you accept?
A: When you move to the 'Confirm Order' stage of the checkout process, you are shown a total for the order (including shipping), along with a number of options for making payment:
- Use your Paypal account. Quite honestly, we don't see how we could possibly manage without them. We've never had anything but the best service: quick and efficient.
- Pay by credit card. Japanese banks don't give merchant accounts to 'little guys' like us, so we use the Paypal interface for accepting card payments. Note that you do NOT need to have a Paypal account for this; they just act as a substitute 'merchant account' for us, and the transaction is processed just as though we had accepted your card directly.
- Pay with Bitcoin. The Checkout section of our shopping cart will give you the option to pay with Bitcoin, at current exchange rates ...
- You may also make manual payment. We have a $US account in North America, to which you can send either a cheque or transfer. And of course, there is always the old standby of International Postal Money Order, which although slow, is efficient. Within Japan, transfer via post office or bank is of course very easy.
Q: How much will shipping cost?
A: Without a very sophisticated shopping cart program, one that can calculate the exact rate based on the number of prints you order and the details of the address you type in, we have to use an averaged-out shipping rate calculation. Woodblock prints are very light of course, so the shipping cost is mostly determined by the packaging. (This means that multiple prints can be shipped for the same shipping cost.)
We have three levels of speed/expense available for shipping overseas (in addition to shipping for orders within Japan); the exact price depends also on the size of the prints selected. Print sizes are shown as [S] [M] or [L] in the catalogue, and if any one of the prints in the order is the larger [L] size, a heavier package becomes necessary:
In addition to those standard rates, the Gift Prints in the catalogue go at a standard price of $3.50 US, regardless of your location.
- Small Packet, via Regular Air Mail: The packages travel all the way to their destination (nearest airport, of course) by air mail.
Typical journey times are 6~ days to Europe, and 7~ days to the US/Canada, but can sometimes take several weeks.
- EMS (Express Air): The international post offices' response to FedEx-type services. Very fast; package tracking; insured. The service starts at a minimum price of $20.00, and goes up with the weight involved.
The Shopping Cart always shows what postage is being applied to your order, based on the shipping method selected with the radio buttons on the cart. You can try each option to see exactly what your costs will be.
Q: Do you sell wholesale also? Do you give discounts?
A: Managing both wholesale and retail on handmade products is a very tough act to pull off. For most manufactured products, economies of scale make a sliding price system possible; the larger the order, the cheaper per-unit cost the manufacturer has. Common sense.
But with handmade woodblock prints, where are the economies of scale? It takes x minutes per colour for a ten impression print, for a total of 10x minutes. To make five copies of the print takes 5 * 10x ... five times more time, five times more paper, five times more of everything ... The only economy involved is at the shipping desk - one package/label/invoice instead of five of each.
Now over there in the 'fine art prints' world (don't get me started on that stuff!) such things don't come into play - each 'print' is priced so high that there is plenty of room for both the dealer and the maker to have a good piece of the pie.
Mokuhankan prints though - in great contrast to that - are not priced based on some mythical 'art value'. They are priced on a simple calculation of what it costs to make them - just the same as any other honest product on the market. We build it, add up what it cost, put on our margin, and there is the price.
But we would really like to get these prints into nice shops all over the planet, and to do that, we are willing to take a bite out of our margin. If you have a shop or place where you think these prints could be displayed to sell successfully, we can offer a wholesale discount. This will not be a single flat percentage, but will vary depending on the price level of the item. Please write for details. (Please note that this wholesale discount can only be applied to the hand-made woodblock prints in the Mokuhankan catalogue, and not to the books and print cases.)
We ship all the prints in individual packages, 'ready-to-display' in your shop. We should also mention that the print packaging shows no 'list' price; if you feel that you are adding value by investing/importing/displaying them in your market, then you are of course free to set your own selling price. (Remember though, that the packaging is marked with our website URL, and anybody is free to browse this catalogue ...)
If it turns out that all our sales are done at wholesale rates, then we're perhaps going to dig ourselves into a bit of a hole, but on the other hand, if we're selling that many prints, then perhaps we'll start to see some economies of scale somewhere! :-)
Q: I would like to search the catalogue. Why don't you have a search?
A: The quick 'n dirty answer is that with such a small catalogue, a search facility is hardly needed, and won't be for quite some time yet! But not having a search box is actually a matter of policy, not expediency.
Our ideal - which won't really be possible in actual practice - is that as you flip through the catalogue, you will never come across an image you have seen before! We want to make Mokuhankan into a place to which you will return purely for the pleasure of browsing through our catalogue. As the number of our designs increases, we are going to 'randomize' the thumbnail pages so that you never quite know what will come up. The proprietor of Mokuhankan is a very selfish person ... he makes only prints that he would buy himself, and for this experiment in publishing, he is going to build the 'store' at which he himself would like to shop!