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Date Posted: 11/14/2010 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2009
Posts: 326
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Last Edited on: 2/12/15 1:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/14/2010 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Yes, if it is something they can change, I would politely let the sender know -- I've used something along the lines of "just a heads up, the wrapping didn't fare so well with the book-eating machines at the post office.  You might want to use more tape on the edges blah blah blah".

The key is be casual, constructive and blame it on the evil paper-eating machines, not the sender. 

Date Posted: 11/14/2010 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 1,996
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You might also want to mention when you RWAP the book that it was a problem with USPS.  But also try to let the sender know (politely) that his or her wrapper didn't hold up very well during shipping, so that they can try something sturdier with the next book.

Date Posted: 11/14/2010 9:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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Becky, since the books weren't damaged she wouldn't RWAP.

When marking the books received I'd say something like..."I'm excited the books made it but, boy were we lucky they weren't damaged because the wrapper was torn to shreds...If you don't mind my suggesting a bit more tape would be good and with heavy hardbacks like this some sort of protection for the books would be good as those sharp corners really break through the paper easy. Just an FYI"

Date Posted: 11/14/2010 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,673
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Yes, I'd mention it when I mark the books received.  If no one ever tells them how the books arrive, how do they know to change the way they're packing heavier items?  Sounds like it's lucky the books made it at all.

Date Posted: 11/14/2010 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 962
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According to the help docs, multiple books should be wrapped differently.  But according to your post regarding the packaging, the brown paper is acceptable packaging for multiple or larger books.  So even though you can't comment on the actual wrapping, you could possibly suggest more tape.  But then you have people on here that complain that some people put too much tape on the package.  So unfortunately, either way you can't please everyone.

Here is what I found:

Wrapping Larger/Multiple Book Shipments

The 2-page PBS wrapper works well for single paperbacks, or even two small books packaged together, but if you have a larger or heavy book, or a multiple-book shipment to send, the 2-page PBS Wrapper alone will not provide sturdy enough packaging on its own to protect your book(s) en route.  You will need to use alternate packaging methods.  You can use the 1-page PBS Label (the choice on the far right on the Wrapper Settings page) as an address label.

Suggestions for alternate packaging materials:

  • Heavy brown paper (from a cut-down grocery sack)
  • Manila envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
  • Bubble or padded mailer
  • Tyvek or similar large envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
    • taping tightly around the book(s) also prevents the contents from sliding around inside
  • Box
    • prevent your books from sliding around inside with crumpled paper (NOT newspaper--the ink can mark the books!) or (clean) plastic shopping bags, balled up.
    • we recommend putting tape around the entire box in both directions - this will help keep the box together as it travels to its destination.  Strapping tape (the one with fibers in it) is great, but packing tape applied tightly around the box will also help with this.
Date Posted: 11/14/2010 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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I've gotten some poorly wrapped books that fortunatly survived.  I did drop a friendly note to the sender to let them know they should work on their wrapping skills.


Date Posted: 11/15/2010 3:01 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I'm also agreeing with the above comments.  Constructive & polite comments on this subject are usually well received.  Unfortunately, a single layer of paper just isn't adequate to protect two hardcover books...especially if they encounter the Sampsonite Gorilla enroute (don't 'cha know he works in the media mail sorting room).

Glad your books arrived in good condition Zina!

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 5:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 694
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It's amazing what survives the P.O. sometimes.  I received 15 hardback Nancy Drews wrapped in 2 separate bundles of just one layer of  copier paper attached together wth a few pieces of tapes. The paper was pretty ripped up but only one of the books got mauled.  I did send her a note to let her know.

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 5:34 AM ET
Member Since: 10/20/2007
Posts: 1,680
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I always let the sender know (in the most tactful way possible) if the wrapping they used got destroyed by USPS.   One really heavy hardcover I received came to me with only a label attached by a rubber band.  I was so surprised to see that the book had very little damage.  The sender responded that she "should have used a different method of wrapping the book and she appreciated hearing from me'.  It was a shame because I could tell the book was in great condition prior to her sending it.

Last Edited on: 11/15/10 5:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/15/2010 7:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
Posts: 1,619
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Saturday I got two of the larger paperbacks in just a manila envelope with one end completely ripped open.  I still don't know how they didn't fall out along the way!  A strip of packing tape along the end of the envelope would have prevented that.  I don't mummify but I do believe in using enough tape to do the job.

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 9:52 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
Posts: 1,207
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I would love to get feedback on how my wrapping traveled, good or bad.

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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I've told senders who have sent me books if I thought their wrapping was insufficient for the book they sent and I have never been told off from doing it; in fact, at least one member said they were grateful I had warned them about the packaging. So I'd say go for it! Just be sure you're polite and not sounding accusatory; just like you're giving them some helpful advice, which is exactly what you're doing. 

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
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I have sent many books out and often with several in one package.  I usually, especially with more than one book, wrap the whole batch in one of the plastic bags from the grocery store, folded to conform to the books and taped on the seams, and then wrapped in a salvaged heavy brown paper grocery sack.  ALMOST ALWAYS they make it through in good condition.  Just today, though, i got a note from somebody that I had sent 6 books in one package wrapped like that.  The brown paper, they said, was torn up fairly badly, but the plstic sack inside saved the whole batch from damage or loss.   I don't overuse tape because I HATE having to unwrap Tutankhamen's mummy to get to the book, but the two layers, especially in the winter/rainy times with plastic inside helps a lot.  I think that two or more layers, or actually two packages, one inside the other, is FAR more important than more tape.

Date Posted: 11/15/2010 11:06 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2009
Posts: 1,796
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Some book wrappers have arrived so shredded because of not enough packaging tape, I have wanted to take a photograph and send it off to the sender to give them some feedback.  Haven't done it yet, but have thought of doing it a few times!

Date Posted: 11/16/2010 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I really do wish that people would think twice about wrapping books in paper bags or other brown paper.  This kind of paper is very porous and absorbs moisture like a sponge.  This can result in 1) the tape letting loose and 2) the paper ripping. 

I wrap my books in poly bags I buy on E-bay for pennies.  My last order was for 100 poly bags that fit one paperback book.  The final cost for the bags was 8 cents each.  I consider that 8 cents well spent because I am confident that the book will arrive undamaged. 

Date Posted: 11/16/2010 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 460
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That's one of my personal pet peeves - putting one or two books in an envelope that is too big, and then not securing the envelope around the books with enough tape to keep them from shuffling around - GRRR!!!

that being said, *I* would want to know if I was doing something wrong, as long as the explanation I got was calm and constructive.

MaryF in KY

Date Posted: 11/17/2010 12:25 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,087
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How did packages ever arrive unscathed in the days when everything was wrapped in thin brown paper and tied with string?????