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Topic: Flat rate envelope vs. flat rate box

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Subject: Flat rate envelope vs. flat rate box
Date Posted: 7/21/2009 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 69
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Anyone know if fitting two mass market paperbacks into a flat rate envelope is out of the question?  They will fit, but I didn't know if the PO would reject them because the package was too bulky. 

Alternatively, has anyone used the new small flat rate box? It appears too small for more than one mass market paperback, but I wasn't quite sure.  My PO is always out of them, so I can never grab one to take it home and try it.

Any insight would be great! Thanks!

Date Posted: 7/21/2009 11:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2009
Posts: 1
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I believe you can get some of the flat rate boxes online for free. In any case, if they have anything posted about any of the flat rate stuff, there would be the place.

Date Posted: 7/21/2009 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Nicole,

I have the small flat rate box at home. It is about the size of a VHS tape in large plastic holder (think Disney VHS tape packaging). Tried just now, it will not fit 2 mmpb. It's too narrow to let two lay side-by-side and not thick enough to lay one on top of the other.

Actual dimensions are 8-5/8" x 5-3/8" x 1-5/8"

But I think it would be ok to mail using the flat rate envelope. I think there's a line on the envelope itself that says if you can seal the envelope with the original adhesive strip and without altering the envelope, and without reinforcement with tape it is ok. But I worry that the books will slide around and get ruined.

Perhaps this might work: Wrap the two mmpb spine to spine in some plastic (I would use a clean clear produce bag--I have them around). Tape it up so that the two books become like one big brick -- the plastic would work as a waterproofing layer and prevent the taping from damaging the books. The books should be spine to spine so that in case the books move around they wont slide into each other and cause creases. Consider stuffing the extra space in the envelope with crumpled up paper.

I've mailed a couple of really large books, about letter sized, one inch thick, in the flat rate envelopes. it works.

Btw: wouldn't it be cheaper to send two mmpb via media mail? PM me if you have any questions.

Date Posted: 7/22/2009 12:25 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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What you might want to look at is the actual price for Priority without the flat rate.  Depending on what zone you're sending to, the 2 lb. Priority rate might be the same as the flat rate.  Here's a link:

Priority Mail Prices

Date Posted: 7/22/2009 3:20 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Didn't check Bernhards link, but a flat rate box for one or even two mmpb would seem a rather expensive option...isn't it $4.95?  Media Mail should be less than $3, and even first class may be less than flat rate.  Unless the books are quite thick, I just lay one on top of the other with one spine each direction.  Wrap in plastic and use a single wrap of packing tape to secure the books together.  Wrap in the PBS paper (I sometimes print the label on legal size paper for this use) or recycle a brown paper bag. 



Last Edited on: 7/23/09 3:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/22/2009 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,135
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You can get the PO to deliver you free of charge bulk amounts of the boxes, envelopes, labels, etc. Just go to www.usps.com and click around, I'm not exactly sure - maybe "Order supplies." They ship in amounts of 10 and 25 and you can get the flat rate boxes, regular priority boxes, etc. No charge.

But why? Two MMPS will usually go the same rate as one, which is something like $2.38. A flat rate priority envelope will be WAY higher!

Date Posted: 7/22/2009 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
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Nicole,

Anyone know if fitting two mass market paperbacks into a flat rate envelope is out of the question?  They will fit, but I didn't know if the PO would reject them because the package was too bulky. 

To answer your original question, you can fit 2 MMPs into a flat rate envelope as long as the flap can fold over and stick where it normally would. It is okay if the envelope is "thick" it just cannot be totally misshappen or so wide that the flap does not come over the top and glue down where it normally would. Does that make sense? Bulky is ok, misshapen is not.

But, I agree with other posters, why spend the money for priority mail when media mail is much less?

Blessings,

Christina

Date Posted: 7/22/2009 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 69
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Thanks everyone - the flat rate box was just an idea to save me wasting my entire lunch hour at the PO.  Good to know that the envelope can be bulky - the PO website is a bit confusing in that it just suggests documents as suggested items to mail!

Thanks again all!

 

Nicole

Date Posted: 7/23/2009 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Nicole, those flat rate envelopes can hold quite a bit and still seal properly.  I used one to return two size 6X polo shirts once and they both fit in.  Snug, but they fit.

And no, I don't wear a 6X... it's a long story.