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Topic: how much tape?

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Subject: how much tape?
Date Posted: 11/13/2009 8:10 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 9,964
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I'd like to apologize to the first several recipients of books from me as I think I way over taped.  What is enough tape?  I have experienced some receipts with just scotch tape, some with very minimal tape and so with full coverage.  I will say one with very little and no corners protected didn't fair very well in the shipping. The book looked to be in excellent condition I believe the corner and spine damage came from lack of protect.

Are there any good suggestions as to how to best tape it up?

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 8:43 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Scotch tape should not be used as the only tape.  I do use scotch tape to tack everything down and then I use 3 inch packing tape for all seams.  I will tape until the edges are covered and everything is well sealed so the machines will not take take hold of it.  My books were mummy wrapped when I started with PBS, now there is a way to open the package without potentially damaging the book.  I think more tape is better (I know many members have arthritis or disabilities and it makes it difficult to open over taped books and I keep that in mind).  At least one side of the book has a little space to slip in a seam ripper or small knife. 

I think what is just as important is some type of plastic covering. This way if the package is opened the book still has some protection.

This is from the help docs and there is a new tutorial on how to wrap. 


  • It is always better to use too much tape than not enough! Clear 2" packing (NOT Scotch) tape should be used. Please do not tape directly to the book!!
  • Consider an innner layer of plastic (grocery bag, plastic wrap, etc.) to protect the book against moisture. A brand of plastic wrap called Press-N-Seal has glue that can leave a sticky residue on books; this brand is NOT recommended.
  • Make sure to tape all the corners and seams well.
  • If the book is large enough that the 2 sheets of printer paper will not enclose it completely, you can use an extra sheet of paper.
  • You can also use a variety of alternate materials to wrap your book, such as:
    • a padded or bubble mailer
    • a nonpadded manila envelope (be sure to tape the loose envelope material down tightly around the book if you choose this, so that no "flaps" stick out to get caught in postal machines)
    • a cut-down paper grocery sack.
    • Feel free to be creative! As long as your package is sturdy and protects the book(s) inside, it's all good!
    • You can tape page 1 onto your alternate packaging like an address label (tape it down securely), and tuck page 2 inside the package.
Date Posted: 11/13/2009 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I don't mummify books and I hate to get mummified books. I usually use Scotch tape to position the wrapper like a present. Then I use mailing tape to sercure all the seems and corners. I also run a piece of mailing tape along the long side of each book to protect the edge.  I don't think a book needs to be completely covered in tape.  I've damaged 3 books now trying to get them out of mummy wrappings.

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
Posts: 1,826
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I use packing tape to reinforce book edges and wrapper seams.  I try not to mummify the book though.

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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I mummify my books unless I use a bubble envelope to mail it.   I've seen what the PO can do and there is no way I'm taking a chance.  I've gotten mummified books and I've always been able to get my scissors under a piece of the tape to start opening it.  I even tape envelopes all the way around once, in both directions so if the envelope is torn those books are not going to fall out.  I believe it is my responsibility to make sure my books get there safe.

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 11:27 AM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2005
Posts: 390
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I'm from the school of 'You can never use too much tape' :)

Just call me Mummy

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I'm a heavy taper as well.  I make sure that I reinforce all the corners with tape and that all seams are taped.  I just don't trust the USPS and want to give my books as much protection as I can before delivering it to their hands!

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,797
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I make sure I cover all seams, and also wrap at least one piece of tape in all dimensions of the package (length and width always, and height if the book is fat enough to have a width of tape go around it).

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Mummies suck!  Lol   *a controversial topic Janice*  I've damaged a couple books attempting to free them from mummy wrap, rendering them unpostable.

I like to use the second sheet/insert inside the book with part showing...then wrap in plastic of some type and secure.  Over that I use envelope or mailing label (with blank or scrap 2nd sheet for durability) depending on size and number of books sending.  I cover barcode & address, ends and all openings with good quality packing tape.  Have mailed several hundred with no problems reported using this method, but leaves space for receiver to safely remove packaging. 

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I buy boxes of the Large Card envelopes. They're perfect size for most MMPB books, and end up costing me 10 cents each. Just trim the sides, open them up and wrap the book. It even has it's own sticky tab on one end so I don't need scotch tape there.

I don't use DC, so just print out the one-page lable and cut out the "to" and "from" address.

Once it's wrapped I use one piece of clear packing tape lengthwise around the bottom of the books, with the "To" Address underneath and all the way around until it just overlaps. Then another piece around the top, covering the 'From' address and lengthwise around the book and stopping just over the edge by the stamps. Then I leave the stamp area free.

This usually covers the seam in the back and the folds on the sides. I've sent out over 750 books this way, mostly all with the same packing, and so far they seem to make it really well. I've only had the P.O. tear apart maybe three or four that I can remember and only one of mine has gone lost.

So I don't think you need thicknesss so much as tape in the right places.

Last Edited on: 11/13/09 2:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 11/13/2009 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I'm also from the "mummify it" school of taping, but now instead of covering the entire package with packing tape, I keep in mind those that have problems opening these, and now I only tape-reinforce all edges and all seams, and cover the address and postage info to help water-proof it.  I also am a firm believer in also wrapping the book in plastic before placing the book in the wrapper and taping it up.

PS  I don't have problems opening any books, even mummified ones.  I use an inexpensive boxcutter, carefully, and don't have any problems.

Subject: too much tape!!
Date Posted: 11/13/2009 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2007
Posts: 9
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Hi everyone.....

I know this is the easy way out and they cost $$ but I use the envelopes with bubble wrap inside them. 

For me, it is so annoying to get a book in the mail and it takes me 5 minutes to just get it out of "mummy" bonds someone put it in.....and I'm betting all that tape costs almost as much as the envelopes do.......my time is worth more to me.....


just my 2 cents......


Date Posted: 11/13/2009 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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I like to receive books that are protected, but the ones that turn opening them into an actual job are a bit frustrating. Although I often select books for my mom, I would never have them sent to her because she's older and somewhat frail and she wouldn't be able to get into some of the packages I've received or would definitely damage the contents and instead of a pleasant experience, she'd be aggravated.  

Last Edited on: 11/13/09 5:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/13/2009 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
Posts: 1,103
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I'm in the camp that just wants a book that is reasonably well secured without being completely mummy wrapped. 

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I wrap the book inplastic (mostly) then wrap with the 2nd sheet of paper, tape the seems and ends with book tape. Then I fully cover the back of the book with tape, tape the ends and sides. A piece of tape over the address and DC number. Rest I leave open and have never had one hurt yet.

Mummy books are annoying and do not need that much tape, two layers is plenty if you use strong shipping tape. A few books I ahve gotten required alot of work to get them free, I have no hand issues but if you did then they'd have killed you.

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2009
Posts: 1,684
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I just recently recieved a package of two books wrapped in brown wrapping and it was torn open on one end.  I was just lucky none or both of the books were lost or marked or gotten wet.  So I don't mind all the tape.  I like to get my books.  Thank-you!  :)

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 9,964
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I really appreciated all your replies it has given me a better idea of how to tape.

Thanks Gobbles

Date Posted: 11/14/2009 2:19 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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It's a lively subject around here Janice!

Date Posted: 11/14/2009 7:35 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 1,194
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Please Please Please DO NOT mummify books. I have damaged books trying to get them out of the packaging and really there is no point to all the tape. If you want to protect them from water damage then just wrap in plastic. A reasonable amount of tape will protect them from USPS.

Date Posted: 11/14/2009 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2008
Posts: 4,470
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I also use a razor blade boxcutter. I have never had a problem getthng a book out, no matter how mummified it was. The boxcutters are only $1 at the dollar store. It should be a required tool in everyones arsenol.

Date Posted: 11/14/2009 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 10,280
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I don't usually mummify my books, but I do use plenty of tape - and I think the strategy of how a book is taped is probably more important than the amount of tape (does that echo someone above?)

The most common damage I have seen are packages where the corners are ripped.  A little packaging tape would have prevented that.  I use bubble mailer most of the time, but I try to tape strategically so that the corners (of the book, not necessarily the package) are protected.  I have received bubble mailers that have been puntured and ripped, so now I tape the middle flat sides of the package as well (front and back).

Having received some books with torn paper, I'll say I'd much prefer to routinely get mummified packages than the few that have been damaged.   And I consider tape pretty cheap.  Even if I pay a dollar for a roll of tape, that roll can mummify many, many pacakages.  


Date Posted: 11/15/2009 12:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2009
Posts: 4,581
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There is never too much tape. 

I like to get plastic bags and paper bags when I get my groceries.  Then I'm recycling them so they at least get another purpose.  I use the plastic to wrap them then I use the brow bag to wrap them.  I also put a bunch of tape on it so there isn't any of the bag showing.  If you cut where the person fold on the end of the book there should be no problem getting it out.  I alway over protect my books becuase i have had 3 ruined since i joined from opeing up when being processed through the mail.  Mostly because the person only uses three pieces of tape. 

I think if your hurting the books when opening mummified packages your not opening them from the right spot or you making to big of a deal on opening them.  You should alway open in the spot where they closed the package once you get one side open you just pull the book out.  I often recieve mummified books as well as send them.  I have never hurt a book opening it. 

I have also gotten many thanks and comments on how nicely my packages were wrapped.

Date Posted: 11/15/2009 2:01 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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IMO it shouldn't take special tools, magnifying glass, and a strategy session to open a book package without damaging the contents.  I've received books mummified to the point I literally cann't get scissors under the paper without cutting the book. 

Another member (Bernhard?) posted about receiving books so mummified he didn't even attempt to open them.  Merely re-ordered the book and used the mummy bricks for door stops.  Hope RL is looking up for you Bernhard, we miss you!!

Last Edited on: 11/15/09 2:02 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/15/2009 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,581
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I once cut myself trying to de-mummify a book

Date Posted: 11/15/2009 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2009
Posts: 273
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Personally, I relish the challenge a mummified book gives me and it makes me feel better about what's inside the package. My thought process is, if they spent time to mummify it, it must be in good condition and they wanted to perserve it through the mailing process. The more tape, the better!