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Topic: Book Shipping - How To Minimize & Save On Costs?

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Subject: Book Shipping - How To Minimize & Save On Costs?
Date Posted: 5/7/2014 3:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2014
Posts: 1
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Hey everyone!

I am new to the PBS Community! Yes, I know - As a reader, how did I not come across this way earlier? I have no idea! blush

Anyways, I already have a handful of requests from users who want some of my posted books. My question is: What is the best method and/or route to take in shipping these books to them, in order to save as much on shipping cost as possible? 

I have browsed the forums and come across varying ideas as to what to do shipping-wise, but I still came out a little unsure as to which direction to take. As a member of various other book sites, selling sites, etc, I have come to know that you should become vary clear of the shipping terms and best methods, otherwise you can find yourself losing out. So that is why I wanted to check!

I also noticed that another user had mentioned about pricing your books for 2+ credit in order to cover shipping.. Could someone provide some incite on this or my whole shipping misconception in general?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank You, 

Kelly P. 

Date Posted: 5/7/2014 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,404
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Welcome to PBS!   You've joined a great place to trade out your old books shelf and find new (to you) books to keep or re-swap out.

The easiest and least expensive way to ship books is using media mail.  When you print the label and make sure the weight of the book is accurate the site will suggest the amount of postage to use. Most paperback and many trade size books are under one pound so they would be $2.69. Media mail rates are incremental, they are per pound so anything up to 15 ounces would be the first rate; over 1 pound and up to 1 pound 15 ounces would be the next level. Only a small, very light weight book would cost less to send and would likely be first class; the suggested postage should reflect that if the weight is that low.

As far as offering book deals, you can use the Book Bazaar forum to offer deals from your regular FIFO (first in first out) shelf to get things to move faster and to get people to look it over. If you peruse the various messages on BB you will see a variety of deals at different increments. Senders offer deals because it does save on postage. For example, three small MMP books wrapped together may still weigh less than 1 pound and cost you only $2.69 to send. It depends on what is on your shelf and your desire to rid of books as to what kind of deal you offer. The way deals work generally is someone orders a book from your shelf and you use 'send to a friend' to combine their other choices into one package/label.

On the other hand, there is a thread in the BB for wish list multiples. If you have many of these to offer, you can list them there. You will get a full credit for each book, but since you are mailing more than one at once, the example above of three books would only cost you the same $2.69 to earn three credits. These deals are done by the person contacting you and having the book on their WL. You would post the book(s) directly to them, instead of posting normally, which would put it into the general WL where it would be offered to the person who has had it WL the longest.



Last Edited on: 5/7/14 5:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/7/2014 5:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,722
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Hi, Welcome to PBS!

I also noticed that another user had mentioned about pricing your books for 2+ credit in order to cover shipping..

You don't have any control over pricing your books, books cost 1 credit and audio books are 2 credits on the site. Asking for more credits than what the site sets is a violation that can cause your membership to be closed. But I think I know what you might be talking about, which is addressed in #4 below.

As far as how to minimize shipping costs, here is what I do:

1. for mass-market paperbacks, I wrap them in plastic wrap (for waterproofing), then I use the printer paper wrapper (1 sheet only) and wrap the book like a present. I tape all the seams of the wrapper, plus I make sure that I have packing tape going both lengthwise and widthwise around the book.

I buy plastic wrap at the dollar store (100 feet for $1, you can waterproof about 75 books for that $1.)

I also buy my packing tape at the dollar store. One roll will do about 15-20ish books.

2. for larger books, I re-use wrappers that I've received my books in. I usually cut open used bubble wrappers and then wrap the book(s) tightly like a present.

3. I don't use PBS postage, or PBS-DC on most packages. (These are services that allow you to purchase postage and/or Tracking from the site, but there is a cost associated with it. The site will guarantee your credit if you use those services and the book never arrives at it's destination. However, I don't use them myself because I've mailed 1500 books and only 2 never arrived. So, in my eyes, the risk of losing a credit from packages not arriving  is very minimal, and what I would have paid in the interim to use those services would have been several hundred dollars. Easier and far, far cheaper to just buy 2 credits to replace the 2 I lost, if I wanted to do that)

4. I think what you might have been confused about reading in a different thread is how to increase your book orders, so as to get the most bang for your mailing buck. The reason it costs less to mail more books is because Media Mail is priced by the pound, and the first pound is $2.69, but pounds after that are only a 45-ish cent increase per pound. So, mailing out 1 book might cost you $2.69 and you get 1 credit for that.. Mailing out a 3 book package might cost you $3.18 (or whatever the exact price is) but if you get 2 or 3 credits for those books, your price per credit has decreased.

So, many of us offer people "deals" on our bookshelves, where if they order 2 maybe they can get 1 or 2 free. That way, you might be mailing a 4 book package, and only getting 2 credits for it, but those 2 credits still cost less than mailing out 2 separate book packages.

Date Posted: 5/7/2014 5:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I also noticed that another user had mentioned about pricing your books for 2+ credit in order to cover shipping

I think you misunderstood something there. You cannot ask for more than 1 credit to mail a book out even if it's heavy.  People have suggested on a couple of recent threads to offer book deals for multiple books starting at 2 credits like 5 books for 2 credits or 4 for 2 or something.  (the cost per book goes down if you mail in multiples but you cannot require people to only order multiples from you when posting to your bookshelf). 

I put books onto my TBR list  before I post them.  If it's Wish List there will be a W and the book will likely be requested very quickly.  You can see how many copies of a book are in the system by putting it on your reminder list but it's not always a good indicator of how quickly it'll be requested. The main key is not to post anything to your bookshelf that you are not prepared to mail quickly or to put your bookshelf on hold when you have reached your postage budget and autorequest wish list books.

Scott (scalta) - ,
Date Posted: 5/7/2014 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2010
Posts: 723
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There is NO "pricing" of books on PBS.  This is a place to swap books, not sell books.

1 book = 1 credit

1 audio = 2 credits

You are allowed to offer deals for more books for less credits, but NEVER more credits for less books.

This can be a good place to get books if you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the site and rules.  The "Help Topics" are quite extensive and will answer nearly any question that may come up.

Good Luck!!


 

Date Posted: 5/7/2014 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,378
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I'm sure she gets it after having it explained 4 times over.  Kelly, please let us know if you have other questions.  Welcome to PBS! 
The only other thing I can suggest to save money here is not to buy anything for shipping except shipping tape (which I also get at Dollar Tree).  I reuse all the plastic that naturally comes into the house.  Everything is wrapped in plastic these days, and most of it can be reused.  I also hand write my labels to save my printer ink.

 

Date Posted: 5/8/2014 12:44 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Questions appear to be answered, but welcome to PBS Kelly!

Date Posted: 5/8/2014 1:55 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,314
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Welcome to PBS!!  I have been addicted to this site since the day I joined.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

mistie -
Date Posted: 5/8/2014 3:43 AM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,017
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Welcome,

It has been touched on by others, but, i just wanted to stress it is not necessary to buy bubble mailers or any other type of packaging. Recycled packaging is perfectly acceptable.

Date Posted: 5/8/2014 8:59 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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I also want to stress how easy it is to save on packaging by recycling the packaging you get in the mail from books you order from other people, things you buy off Amazon, medicine orders, etc. You can even wrap small books in paper. I haven't bought mailers in years.

Date Posted: 5/8/2014 9:25 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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I want to emphasize that First Class is cheaper than Media Mail for lightweight books, and buying postage on-line saves you money and gets you free tracking as well.  (However, the 55-cent postage fee eats into this a bit.  I'm not sure what the cut-off weights are with that, but on PayPal, anything less than 8 ounces is cheaper First Class than Media Mail, and anything less than 10 ounces is cheaper First Class than Media Mail with tracking.)

It also affects your wrapping.  If you weigh everything before sealing it up and you're a smidge over a cut-off, you can always trim the margins off your packing slip to save weight.  (A full sheet of paper weighs 0.2 ounces.  A #0 bubble envelope weighs 0.4 ounces, a #1 weighs 0.6 ounces, and a 9x12 manila envelope weights 0.7 oz.  So you're better off reusing bubble-pak than manila envelopes.)

 

Date Posted: 5/12/2014 8:11 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2010
Posts: 6,431
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Hey everyone!

I am new to the PBS Community! Yes, I know - As a reader, how did I not come across this way earlier? I have no idea! blush

I felt the same way when I found this place.  It really does boggle the mind, huh.  lol

Anyways, I already have a handful of requests from users who want some of my posted books. My question is: What is the best method and/or route to take in shipping these books to them, in order to save as much on shipping cost as possible? 

I have browsed the forums and come across varying ideas as to what to do shipping-wise, but I still came out a little unsure as to which direction to take. As a member of various other book sites, selling sites, etc, I have come to know that you should become vary clear of the shipping terms and best methods, otherwise you can find yourself losing out. So that is why I wanted to check!

I also noticed that another user had mentioned about pricing your books for 2+ credit in order to cover shipping.. Could someone provide some incite on this or my whole shipping misconception in general?

Media Mail is way to go most of the time, but some books are light enough that they'll go a little cheaper first class.  USPS.COM has a postage calculator that will tell ya what ya need to know to pick the cheapest rate and you can either buy your postage there and print it out, or use the appropriate amount of stamps. 

I re-use nearly every bubble mailer that comes my way.  Even the ones that have seen better days are fine with a little duck tape, and If I'm without one, I use a manila envelope if the approximate size, sometimes folded to fit, covered in one layer of duck tape, so that it's water tight and wrap the book inside in a grocery sack for cushion. There's no gettin' into it without cuttin' it with scissors, but if you snip just along the edge, I bet it'll go another 2 or 3 mailings 'fore it gets too short to use for a paperback. 

I'm a heavy taper.  I've seen some people complain or tease about it in the forums in the past, but I've never had a book arrive to a requester in any other condition than the one in which I sent it, nor has anybody complained of my wrappin' personally. so I figure, if it ain't broke...  I also waller my packages around a little bit, all over it's surface onto some smooth surface to make sure all the tape on the package is smooth and not gonna snag in the postal sortin' machines.

Reckon I am mildly OCD about though...  Plus I just LOVE the funky new duck tape.

I've got these...

I think I'll get these next...

Any package under 13 ounces, which most paperbacks are, can be wrapped up and dropped in any mailbox, but any heavier and you have to either present it, stamped, to your mail carrier or take the package yourself to the post office or buy the postage online with a credit card and then it can go in the mailbox too.

The Book Bazaar allows members to make negotiated deals among ourselves.  There's a thread stuck to the top of the forum that explains it better than I could possibly, and people who know more than I do about all the features post there.  You can get great deals there. 

Basically, it's like this.  Media mail starts at $2.69 up to a pound, so your basic cost of a credit is $2.69.  If you then offer up a deal in the Book Bazaar of say, 5 books for 2 credits or 7 books for 3 credits, which'd cost around $3.75 & $4.50 respectively to mail, you'll reduce the cost of your credits to under $2 a piece. You can generally mail 7, and sometimes even 8, paperback books 'fore ya top $5 postage dependin' on the size of your books. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank You, 

Kelly P. 

You are more than welcome.  Hope to see ya postin' in CMT, (Club Members' Thoughts) CAAP, (Current Affairs and Politics) and any of the other forums that take your fancy.  We've got all kinds here and love meet more. 



Last Edited on: 5/12/14 8:11 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2014 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,378
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Duct tape is heavy.  I don't recommend it.  Shipping tape is lighter and gets the job done.

Date Posted: 5/12/2014 5:34 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2010
Posts: 6,431
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I hadn't thought of that.  Good point, but I only use it for single book packages and the initial $2.69 always covers it.



Last Edited on: 5/12/14 5:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2014 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,378
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I love all the new pretty prints though!  wink

Date Posted: 5/13/2014 12:21 AM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2011
Posts: 708
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The local place where I mail prohibits duct tape. They wouldn't take a book I had used it on. Was that their rule or USPS, because I would love to use that cute stuff!

Date Posted: 5/13/2014 2:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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Even though it costs more to use PBS printable postage, I use it because it saves me a trip to the Post Office, eliminates waiting in line, and also gives me Instant Credit which can be used immediately to request books from other members without having to wait for snail mail delivery and for the requesting member to mark a book received. For me this is worth the additional cost, even though it is not the least expensive option.

Book packages under 13 oz. should be mailed 1st Class, and book packages of 13 oz. and over should be sent Media Mail. I have a postal scale that I use for checking book/package weights because sometimes these may be off in the PBS database, and I always weigh the wrapped package rather than the book(s) alone because packaging materials may push the total weight to the next weight class.

I recommend wrapping books in plastic to waterproof them, reusing packaging materials and using bubble wrap, padded envelopes, or other lightweight padding for heavier books. If using only the PBS printed wrapper to send books, it is best to use clear packing tape along all four edges because Post Office sorting equipment and handling can easily tear the wrapper, exposing books to damage and also risking loss of a book if it slips out of its wrapper. While it is not uncommon to receive books with torn wrappers if they are not taped along the edges, a book  slipping out of its wrapper and getting lost is rare.

 



Last Edited on: 5/13/14 3:02 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/13/2014 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Book packages under 13 oz. should be mailed 1st Class

Not true. A 5 oz book is only .01 cheaper 1st class over media mail.  Then it goes up a little more for each oz making a 12 oz book 3.94 to mail.  So not the cheapest option for books over 6 oz. 

I don't pay for DC or PBS postage. I slap on stamps and stick them in my mail box.  But I mostly mail books under 13oz.  If I mailed a lot of heavier books then I'd probably use Paypal because there is no extra fee.

If you are looking to mail cheap then the PBS instant credits is not the way to go. It quickly adds up to more than the cost of the rare lost book.  It's .55 per book (well per label) so that's 5.50 for every 10 books sent. Not worth it to me but I don't fret about credits and never need them instantly.  I've only had 1 book (and audio) that I sent go lost and if I'd use the credit guarantee on everything I'd sent, I'd have spent over $400 to cover those 2 lost credits. 



Last Edited on: 5/13/14 9:23 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/13/2014 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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PayPal is what I use, because you get the on-line discount for First Class, making anything under 9 ounces cheaper with First Class (and you get free tracking), and there is no per-item charge.

When you say, "A 5 oz book is only .01 cheaper 1st class over media mail," that is because you are paying full counter rates.

Date Posted: 5/13/2014 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Ah ok.  Maybe I'll start using Paypal for everything. I went to the UPS website to calculate the postage. I just find it more convenient to slap some stamps on (I have them in various denominations) than to log into paypal, type all the info in, print out the label etc.., 



Last Edited on: 5/13/14 1:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/13/2014 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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Many people probably don't know that First Class online postage costs less than stamps/counter postage.  

The rate is discounted on electronic postage.  

The big saver is on tracking

Free tracking on first class VS. 95¢ tracking at the post office. 

Online tracking rate for media mail is 21¢.  Still a good deal! 

 

Date Posted: 5/13/2014 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2010
Posts: 6,431
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The local place where I mail prohibits duct tape. They wouldn't take a book I had used it on. Was that their rule or USPS, because I would love to use that cute stuff!

Reckon it's your local place that has the problem with it, 'cause if it's a USPS thing, my post office sure doesn't know anything about it.  I've mailed book after book that way.  I wonder why they would prohibit a particular tape.

PayPal is what I use, because you get the on-line discount for First Class, making anything under 9 ounces cheaper with First Class (and you get free tracking), and there is no per-item charge.

When you say, "A 5 oz book is only .01 cheaper 1st class over media mail," that is because you are paying full counter rates.

Good to know.

 

Date Posted: 5/13/2014 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,567
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Duct tape is NOT an accepted form of tape based on USPS rules, but don't know why since it seems to me it's just as reliable as packing tape. They disallow scotch tape and masking tape too.

Date Posted: 5/13/2014 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2010
Posts: 6,431
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Duct tape is NOT an accepted form of tape based on USPS rules, but don't know why since it seems to me it's just as reliable as packing tape. They disallow scotch tape and masking tape too.

Huh.  Reckon they don't know it's duck tape 'cause of the patterns on it?  I sure had no idea and they've never said anything at the post office.  Damn.  I'll have to find somethin' else.  I've seen patterned tape that's not duck tape, just decorative.  I dunno if I'd trust that stuff to hold up though.

Date Posted: 5/13/2014 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 11/21/2007
Posts: 7,352
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I pack books to be sent in bubble wrap envelopes. The best (cheapest) place to get them is Sam's club.  No other place even comes close.

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