Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Mailing books in printer paper

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Mailing books in printer paper
Date Posted: 6/27/2011 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
Back To Top

Up until recently, I have always mailed my books using heavyweight clasp envelopes from the dollar store. Whenever I considered mailing books wrapped in printer paper, I was always afraid the paper was too thin and would rip apart in the mailing process. I also imagined the paper getting wet and also coming apart easily.

However, a handful of my previously received books have mailed using printer paper. And they all made it through the mail process without any issues. And after doing the math, I have discovered it's A LOT cheaper to use printer paper than the heavyweight envelopes. I have now mailed about 10 of my books out to requesters using printer paper instead of the envelopes. I decided if I received any complaints I would go back to the envelopes. But it seems that all the books were received just fine. In fact, I was surprised to receive a PM that said "Great packaging!!!"

I'm just wondering who else uses printer paper to mail their books, and if they have had any problems with it. Using printer paper is certainly cheaper, but I also want my books to arrive without damage. Even though everything has been successful so far, I'm still a bit nervous about it.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 9:53 AM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2005
Posts: 37
Back To Top

The type of paper I use depends on the book I'm sending... either printer paper or manilla clasp envelopes (cut to the sie of the books).  For the "traditional" paperback books, I always use printer paper with the book encased in a plastic bag.  Using the printer paper has worked out just fine.  Actually... recently I've had two books damaged by the USPS.  Both of them were mailed in bubble wrappers which seemingly got caught in their processing equipment! 

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
Back To Top

I've been using the clasp envelopes for the larger books that are too big to wrap in printer paper.

And I also the plastic bag as water proofing. Much cheaper than buying cling wrap!

Good to know you haven't had any issues the printer paper.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 10:05 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 37,127
Back To Top

I only use printer paper when sending 1 mmpb. Anything larger and I wrap with whatever else I have available- recycled bubble envelopes, folders, calendar pages, old maps, etc.  But I always prewrap in plastic.

Last Edited on: 6/27/11 10:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/27/2011 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
Back To Top

I use printer paper almost exclusively for paperback books -- I have a printer that can print up to 11" x 17" paper for trade-size paperbacks -- and I have only had one book damaged en route vs. the multitudes of damaged (or missing because they fell out of a torn envelope) books I have received in clasp manila envelopes, especially if they are just put in the envelope and mailed, without taping the envelope closely around the book. I also use a layer of plastic underneath books wrapped in printer paper.

I have mailed about 3900 books in my 4+ years here so I think that I have a pretty strong argument for how effective the paper wrapper can be, especially using packaging tape to seal all the seams and then a layer of tape going competely around the book once in each direction, so even if the wrapper does get torn, it is virtually impossible to be separated from the book.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2010
Posts: 47
Back To Top

I use printer paper.


I do wrap in plastic and use a lot of tape. I have not had a problem yet.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

There are actually more problems with books getting damaged by floating around in a too big envelope than being wrapped in teh PBS wrapper.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
Back To Top

Clasp envelopes are much worse than printer paper to mail books in. The printer paper is much stronger and less likely to let a book tear through. None of the books wrapped in printer paper that I have received have been damaged, even those that have just used plain scotch tape. Out of all the damaged wrappers I have gotten, clasp envelopes made up more than 90% of those. The only time they make it OK is when they are well coated in tape and tight to the book.

When I use printer paper, I cover all corners, edges, and all but about 1 inch of the seam (leaving a gap for the recceiver to get in).

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
Back To Top

Here's a post I made with tips for making printer paper work best for your book: http://www.paperbackswap.com/Tips-Making-Paper-Mailers-Work/topic/224782/

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,087
Back To Top

I order a lot of books. About half come in printer paper.

So, my best guess is that about half the members use paper.

I use it myself. I have only has a single complaint of a PO book, in over 1000 mailed.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

For 1 or 2 mmpb, the PBS 2 sheet mailing label is more than adequate when used with packing tape (esp. when combined with plastic underwrap). Of the hundreds of books I've received wrapped in this manner I only remember two arriving with problems.  One had been very wet early in it's travels (leaky blue box?), and although the address was almost unreadable and dc was unusable the book inside was in pristine condition due to plastic underwrap.  The other damaged printer paper book arrived with visible tire tracks on it (and may have been sealed with scotch tape). 

So yes, for average size books printer paper can be surprisingly durable for mailing.  But if the Sampsonite gorilla is sorting Media Mail that day, he (or his relatives) can find a way to damage almost any package ... regardless of how carefully wrapped.

Regarding clasp/manilla envelopes, the one's I've received have been a mixed bag.  When folded down firm to the book and secured with packing tape (as recommended by PBS), they seem to arrive in excellent condition.  When the book(s) are placed inside with room to shift around and merely secured with the clasp or a single strip of tape on the flap, the USPS sorting equipment can be merciless.  These often arrived damaged, torn, and with missing contents.

I've become a firm believer in using plastic underwrap.  Nowdays plastic in our house rarely goes into the garbage unless it's been evauated as to it's potential usefulness as book protection!

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,988
Back To Top

I use the printer paper only when I send a single PB book. But I always put books in plastic first-- I recycle the plastic the daily paper comes in or for larger books I use a plastic shopping bag and form it to the shape of the books.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2011
Posts: 74
Back To Top

I use printer paper for most books. If the book is a larger format, I may tape another sheet alongside the "Info for Mailer/Receiver" sheet to make suer I have enough paper.

When my printer paper is fairly thin and I want to make sure my wrapping is strong enough, I use brown paper grocery bags cut to size.

Another good wrapping material is old manila file folders if you or your office/work place have any to discard. I worked out of my home for many years and have a lot of these. Cut in half along the fold, they are a good size for many books. The letter size size works well for smaller paperbacks and the legal size works for larger books. 

Last Edited on: 6/27/11 1:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/27/2011 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
Back To Top

Thanks for all the insight!

I just now recieved a book in printer paper. The package was nearly destroyed. But the sender didn't tape along the edges/corners where it's clear the package started ripping. The book is fine, though! :)

It amazes the number of books I've recieved without plastic wrap!

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2006
Posts: 22
Back To Top

I used to get brown paper grocery bags from the grocery store, but my local store hasn't had those lately, so I bought a roll of heavy brown paper (the same stuff brown paper grocery bags are made of) from Wal-Mart for about $4 and have mailed out 25+ books wrapped from that one roll so far and am not even halfway through the roll. I would rather have the heavy brown paper with plenty of clear packaging tape than anything else...I am too nervous that the wrappers are going to get torn up in the mail.  I haven't had one packaging/mailing complaint so far, thankfully. 

Last Edited on: 6/27/11 2:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/27/2011 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
Back To Top

I have mailed in almost any and everything. 

I think it matters more that you use tape correctly and that the wrapping always fits snugly around the book. 

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2010
Posts: 14
Back To Top

Always plastic wrap or bag.

What i do is

inner layer of paper (generally the Notes Page from the 2 Page Label)
Middle Layer is plastic wrap or plastic bag - shrink wrap will bond to inner paper layer instead of to book
Outer layer is electronic Postage page from the 2 Page Label

Suppliment with Blank sheets as needed.

Last Edited on: 6/27/11 5:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/27/2011 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2008
Posts: 12
Back To Top

I use printer paper all the time.  I wrap in stretch wrap, tape both ways then one sheet of printer paper followed by a second one and taped well.   I've had no clomplaints either.  I also use solid colr wrapping paper from Dollar Tree.  I do wrap hardbacks oin heavy brown shipping paper. 



Date Posted: 6/27/2011 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
Back To Top

I see what you mean about perhaps the main thing is having the wrapping close to the book and using lots of tape.

I have recieved a few packages without any kind of wrapping paper at all. The book is in a plastic bag all wrapped up, then the shipping label, then tape all around the package. It always surprises me when I get one of those. But they seem to work just fine. And no paper at all!

Subject: wrapping for the printer paper
Date Posted: 6/27/2011 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,457
Back To Top

I use printer paper when I print off the PBS sheets for the smaller paperbacks.  When I have anything larger I use the wrapping that the ream of printer paper comes in. This wrapping is not only slightly thicker and more durable, but also has some waterproofing properties. And it's free. I just reverse it and use the plain white inside as the outside.

Still I also use recycled plastic "air bags" to cover the books. These are the air filled bags that often come in boxes from Amazon or any online merchant. I get my friends to save them for me and just cut off one edge. You know that it is waterproof as it kept the air in. It's fun to be cheap.

Date Posted: 7/17/2011 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2010
Posts: 10
Back To Top

I went an bought a huge role of freezer paper and I'm using that wrap my books.  It looks like the printer paper, but i can use a larger piece so it fits better.  It's a whole lot cheaper than the envelops.  Oh and i always wrap in a plastic bag so I don't have to worry about it getting wet.  

Subject: Wrapping books
Date Posted: 7/17/2011 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,442
Back To Top

I also have a roll of freezer paper to wrap bigger books in. I can get it at Walmart. I also got some newsprint paper at a rummage sale. It kind of depends of what kind of mood i am in...but I do use alot of tape...and plastic.

Date Posted: 7/18/2011 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
Back To Top

Unless the book I am mailing out is a particularly large hardcover, all my books are sent out in this fashion:

Plastic bag (grocery/ziplock) wrapped around the book. Several sheets of printer paper taped over and to the plastic covering the book. All edges sealed in packaging tape.

When I do that, the book always feels very safe and secure, like I could throw it against the wall and it wouldn't take any harm from it.

The main problem I've seen with sending things in envelopes is that the corners of the books can tear through the fragile corners of the envelopes. I have seen that happen with almost every single book I've gotten in an envelope. Books wrapped in printer paper are usually in much better shape than those that come to me in envelopes.

hrooster - ,
Date Posted: 7/18/2011 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2010
Posts: 389
Back To Top

I have recieved a few packages without any kind of wrapping paper at all. The book is in a plastic bag all wrapped up, then the shipping label, then tape all around the package. It always surprises me when I get one of those. But they seem to work just fine. And no paper at all!

I have started sending books that way:  a plastic freezer bag, label and tape.  Since media mail is being inspected more frequently, I do so in the hope that the obvious content--books---may help keep the package moving toward its destination instead of in an inspection black hole.....

Date Posted: 7/18/2011 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
Back To Top

hrooster, you can do that? Put a book in only a plastic bag with the label and send it on its way?