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Topic: How often are books lost in the mail?

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Subject: How often are books lost in the mail?
Date Posted: 7/8/2009 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2008
Posts: 169
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I've requested 22 books from other members so far, and out of those 22 I've already had 2 that were lost in the mail. Isn't that a bit much?

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2005
Posts: 390
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How far away are the senders? If they are in Hawaii, Alaska, or PR I'd say they may not be lost, they just take extra time from some locations. If they come from a few states away I'd say that 2 out of 22 is a bit high.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 12:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/12/2009
Posts: 27
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I've sent over 1,000 packages by USPS (not just on this site) and out of those none were ever lost (although 2 of them were returned to me for various reasons). So I would say 2/22 is very high.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I've 4/392 on the receiving end and 0/514 on the sending end as far as lost books go.  1 of the lost books showed up about a week after. 

I suspect 1 was never mailed-they used PBS DC but it has never said anything more than "electronic shipping info received" which means the DC# was issued but never scanned. 

1 says scanned delivered 1/8/2009 but I have never seen this book.

I don't know what happened to the other.

Ellie (EllieW) - ,
Date Posted: 7/8/2009 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2007
Posts: 1,479
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I've sent 213 with none lost. But received 140 with 2 lost. I have no idea if they were really mailed, neither used PBS DC. One was even from the same state. But with the mail as wacky as it sometimes is I suspect someone somewhere is reading those books. LOL

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2008
Posts: 1,050
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I've been here for over a year and have only had one go missing. There were a few that I worried about, but they showed up just in time.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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I think poor packaging can contribute to lost books. I've received a few packages that I can't believe arrived with the book still inside. I've also received at least one empty envelope and once received a small portion of the packaging with my name and address and a note from the USPS saying the packaging was damaged and the contents lost.  

On those I've sent, I think I've lost 3 in almost 4 years. 2 were to APO addresses. I try to package APO shipments even more securely than others and I always use custom forms, even when my post office says I don't need them but for some reason these still ended up lost. 

Last Edited on: 7/8/09 8:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2009 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I have only sent 27 books - 0 loss and received 5 with 0 lost (so far- I have a few that are enroute to me and to requestors.  I hope my batting average holds!

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2008
Posts: 1,673
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I have been here over a year now, and only 1 book that I have sent out went missing.  I have had 3 or 4 not make it to my house.  But, I have ordered a lot of books, too!  So, not sure what the percentage of lost books would be.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I've had two go lost, though I did receive the shredded wrapper for one of them.  I believe I'm working on my third lost book since it was mailed on June 16th and it has not yet arrived.  Three out of 150+ received isn't too bad.  Your percentage is much higher.  Bummer.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2007
Posts: 112
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I think a lot more books get lost in the mail from this site because they are wrapped in paper. I never had problems until I started getting books from here.

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 9:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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That does sound like a lot. But when you haven't received or sent many, even a couple makes for a high percentage. Hopefully that will even out for you as time passes.I do think that a fair portion of "lost" books are books that were never mailed. People join, are excited, list a bunch of books without really understanding how it all works, get a dozen requests and then balk when they realize they have to pay to mail all those books out. Rather than do the right thing, they just "go away" (after, of course, they use their own free credits to request a couple of books.) I've sent out hundreds of my books wrapped in just the PBS wrapper (but well-taped) and only had a couple of those 'go lost.' For convenience sake I now use the poly mailers, but if done properly, the PBS wrapper works just fine.

My stats (almost 4 years here now)

1,310 books received, 18 lost along the way to me. Of those 18, two were from the same person, and only 4 of those transactions involve members who are still active at PBS. The rest all say, "Account suspended or closed" so I suspect they might never have mailed the book in the first place.

1,339 books sent, 6 lost on the way to other members. Two of those had DC on them and were scanned, so I got credit but the member never marked it received. 2 of those 4 were, again, to people whose account is now closed or suspended.

Losing a book is pretty rare thing in my experience. It does happen, though--I had one book stay lost for 7 months and then turn up out of the blue, packaging perfect (just a paper PBS wrapper) with a metered sticker stating that the person sent it just when they said they had--no idea where it was vacationing. LOL


Date Posted: 7/9/2009 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 4,412
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In my short time here I've sent 155 books with 0 lost (knock wood!) & received 97 with 1 lost.

The loss happened in my first few weeks as a member & was one of 2 books ordered from one member.  The sender mailed the 2 books in a brown paper sack (the very thin kind) with little tape that I could see. It arrived as a literal scrap of paper, with one of the books and a note from the post office. Honestly, only because the scrap had my address on it was the post office able to get it to me - don't know how they knew the book went with it. This was definitely a packaging issue. If I'd considered my "stats" at that point, the loss ratio would have been dismal, too. So buck up, maybe all your losses occurred up front & you'll enjoy many loss-free swaps in the coming years!

I also had one book that wasn't lost, but came chewed up by postable machinery so badly that the paperback was nearly cut in half! But it wasn't lost :)

Last Edited on: 7/9/09 12:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome Jesse!  My archive shows almost 800 book transactions, with 6 'lost' books.  4 were in 2007, 1 in 2008, and 1 in Jan of 2009.  Only one was a book I mailed (the '09), which went missing in that big mail sorting center in NY.  It was anonymously (and mysteriously) returned to me from a member in one of the southern states.  I then remailed the book to original requester and it was finally received :-) 

The other five 'lost' transactions were requested by me, none of them shipped with DC (so one sometimes wonders if they were actually shipped).  According to the sender, one was marked 'mailed' early as it went out the door with her son - who's car was stolen before the book could be mailed.  Unfortunately, the book was missing when their car was recovered.  With no way to cancel the transaction, it timed out as lost in the mail. 

Good choice on the Customs label Linda, another area in which some postal employees appear to be under educated.  Mailed APO recently, and was told all APO packages need Customs labels.  The green one IIRC is for under a pound and a size (like 34 or 36 combined inches), over that requires the white label.  Check the regs tho, I've only done it once so far and flying by sketchy memory :-)

So Kristina, where do you receive used books from, and how are they wrapped?  I'm not aware of any other used book swap sites that require more secure packaging.

Last Edited on: 7/9/09 12:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2008
Posts: 169
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With my first lost book the sender told me she had mailed it, and then weeks later she messaged me to say that it had never been mailed - it had been lost underneath the front seat of their car the whole time. She said she'd mail it off again, but it never arrived. I think she never tried mailing it the second time.

The second lost book was actually mailed to me and neither one of us know what happened. Who knows, it's only been a month and it may still turn up!

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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Well, you've been on here for over a year so I'm thinking if this spanned an entire year plus it's not as bad as if you just joined and had already lost two in a couple month period. 

Either way, it's higher than average. I've sent and received over 1500 books and I've had one go lost coming to me and one that I sent out go lost (although I have my doubts it actually went lost since it was sent first class and the circumstances were "odd.")  

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Out of 345 books sent to me - 8 have been declared lost.  2 weren't sent because the new member lost her job and left PBS but PM-ed me to tell me they weren't coming because she couldn't afford the postage.   2 were lost during the hurricane in '08 that hit TX.  1 just went lost and the sender PM-ed me to say that the USPS had returned the wrapper with no book.   3 went lost with no explanation, they weren't DC, either.  All of those members are still members.

Out of 169 books  (I buy a lot of credits) I've sent out only one has gone lost.  It was in Jan. of this year.  It did have DC because of my PO I always buy PBS postage and DC.  But the book was never scanned in the system.  But then books I've sent out sometimes never do get scanned and all but this one have made it.