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Subject: mailing books
Date Posted: 6/21/2010 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2010
Posts: 56
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ok- just mailed three books- cost me 18 bucks :(  is this normal, did I do something wrong?  I printed out the wrappers but they were not big enough for two of the three books, had to put in the .99 envelopes (which was fine).  Educate me, please :)

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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$18 is very high for mailing off 3 books.  What books were they? Did you mail them media mail?  A 3lb  book is only around $3 or $4 to mail media mail and that's a large book.  Most books cost $2.00-$3.00 to mail.  You have to ask for media mail.  They will automatically choose a higher cost rate unless you ask them even if it says media mail on the wrapper. Buying DC through the post office is more expensive and a waste of money as PBS will not honor it. 

Did you use PBS postage?  I don't see the postage icon there but I don't know how often you have to use it for it to show up.  If you are using online postage you need a scale to weigh books.  You can't always trust the weight that PBS or Amazon has for a book.



Last Edited on: 6/21/10 1:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/21/2010 1:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2010
Posts: 56
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I told them to send it the cheapest way.  Should I wrap them instead of the .99 cent envelopes?  One book was paperback but larger, over a pound, and so was the hardback.  The small paperback was only about two dollars

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Amy- most PO do not use media mail unless you ask for it.. I have asked for cheapest rate and was handed one of those flat rate boxes!  I find it alot easier to get the PBS postage.

$18 seems to me you might have paid first class rather then media mail.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2005
Posts: 37
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Amy, were those paperback books?  Typically I pay $2.38 (in postage) per paperback book... unless the book weighs over a pound.  Then it's a bit more, but nothing close to $6.00 per book.

I use the PBS wrappers when I'm mailing the "traditional" sized paperbacks (6.9 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches)... most of them fit fine with the wrappers.  Most of the other books I use a variety of things to wrap them in.  Most frequently either a bubble mailer (that I buy in bulk, or recycle from a previous book I've received) or a manila folder that I cut to fit.  Since I typically have the bubble mailers and/or manila envelopes I don't do this, but I have received books that have been wrapped in a "cut to size" grocery bag.  For all of my books I wrap them in a plastic sleeve before wrapping to protect them from the elements.  Unless the book weighs over a pound, all of the paperbacks wrapped in the ways I have described will mail for $2.38 per book.

I have to assume that you over-paid by purchasing and using the postal services wrapping envelopes.  You don't need to purchase wrapping materials from them, rather use things you already have or purchase some manila envelopes or bubble wrappers.  Even with the cost of going out and purchasing those things, it still won't cost you anything close to $6.00 to mail a book.

 



Last Edited on: 6/21/10 1:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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Asking for the cheapest way doesn't always get you that. I found that you have to be specific in what you ask for. However, my PO now knows me and they know to use what it says on the package. And if it doesn't say (I handwrite the addresses), the clerk will ask, "Think it might go First Class?" because he knows most I send go media.

Before I came to PBS I sold a few things on Ebay, and I swear when I asked for the cheapest way I was paying for First Class or Priority even when Media mail would have been right (I didn't know much about postage and the different rates so I never questioned it until coming here). They didn't know what I had in the package was books or movies and I didn't know to tell them. So they had me paying the higher rate.

ETA: I mailed out 3 different packages a month or two ago with two-three books in each. I think those three combined was under $10 total. $18 for just 3 books is too much. Definitely tell the clerk next time you want to send media mail.



Last Edited on: 6/21/10 2:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2005
Posts: 37
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To wrap them yourself using the other wrapping materials... when printing the wrapper, choose the one-page wrapper.  There are 3 options to choose from when printing the wrappers... the option on the far right is a one-page wrapper.  This wrapper works perfectly for sending books in wrapping materials other than the PBS wrappers.  You cut the printed wrapper in half, and include the bottom of the sheet inside the book, and the upper part of the sheet for addressing the package.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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As others have said, that is WAY too much! Even with the extras like the PBS printable postage and delivery confirmation, for 3 books that are pretty heavy, I wouldn't be paying more than $9 total. They don't know it's a book you're sending unless it is marked MEDIA MAIL on it, so be sure any hand-addressed books are marked as such. They are going to choose the cheapest "non-media" way to send it otherwise.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2010
Posts: 56
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okay- so everything should be "media mail" and I should wrap the book (if bigger than the reg. sized paperbacks) in something (brown bag, etc.) and tape the wrapper to the front?

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Yes, all the books you send should be Media Mail (or First Class - but only if it is cheaper).    And you need to TELL them that the packages contain only BOOK(s).  

If you didn't tell the clerk that the packages only contained books, my guess is that they DID give you the cheapest rate for a normal package - which as you found out can be expensive.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2005
Posts: 1,592
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I learned a lesson the hard and expensive way. I had to sit at the Doctor's office waiting for a test result and sent my husband across the street to mail a very small box......I was returning a defective garlic press, weighed about 8 ounces, and had found a small box for it. It was addressed and ready to go. Told him to send as cheap as possible. The postal clerk had my husband put that package in a flat rate priority box so it was almost $5 to send.

Of course I thanked my husband for the errand but next time I will be more specific or just do it myself.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Amy -- Here's a link to the current media mail and first class postal rates. As you can see, sending first class is cheaper for only small paperbacks, weighing less than 7 oz. Sounds like you may have ended up paying priority -- regardless, you certainly paid more than you should have. Sorry you had to learn the hard way. But here's hoping you enjoy PBS!

Current postal rates

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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I should add too, Amy, I don't think yours is the record for expensive postage. I have received books that were sent Priority Mail for a big heavy hardcover, and also a couple via UPS that were really expensive! I have no idea why the person sent them that way, just assuming that like you they were new and didn't realize there were cheaper options.

Welcome to PBS by the way. :)

Cheryl

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Welcome to PBS Amy!  Your choice of wrapping material should have little or no impact on mailing cost (unless using Priority or Flat Rate packaging).  Insist on Media Mail rate, otherwise some postal clerks will attempt to utilize a more expensive rate.



Last Edited on: 6/21/10 4:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/21/2010 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Sometimes a bubble mailer can add to the postage but it's never more than maybe bumping it from beingcheaper to go 1st class over media mail.  The onlly time I've had packaging really increase my postage by any significant amount is if I use a box to mail an audiobook-but even then it's not usually more than .25 that gets added to the postage. 

I mailed a box today with 5 good sized mmps in it (all over 400 pages) and it was only 3.16 w the PBS DC.  It was 2lb 13oz..  I think they probably charged you priority or 1st class. 

You have to specifically say media mail.   

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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If you are going to be sending a lot of books, you might want to invest in some plastic mailers.  I get on E-bay through this seller:

costxpress

 

I print my postage through PayPal and haven't had to pay more than $3.00 for most books.  Paperbacks are usually in the $2.50 range since I use DC. 

 

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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okay- so everything should be "media mail" and I should wrap the book....

Not necessarily.  If the weight of the book is 9 ounces or less, it costs the same or less to send a book First Class.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 11:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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They over charged you.  We need to ask for media mail when at the PO.

If you are going to be using the APC (Automated Postal Center?) machines, you need to print out the media mail rates.  The media mail rates are not included in the APC selections, but we can legally choose the option for a different value stamp to mail media rate.  The post office does not make money on media rate.  So they do not mention the option. 

PBS chart of postal rates

Date Posted: 6/22/2010 8:38 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I don't know that the postal workers know to send books Media Mail.  Thay might not get that much call to use it.  But I do know that the USPS is hurting for $$ and that would prompt most USPS personnel to try to sell the more expensive rate options.  It's a business like other businesses and will try to make as much as they can on a transaction.  Nothing mean about it... just good (for them) business.

Welcome to PBS!!  I hope you love it here as much as I do.

Ruth

Date Posted: 6/22/2010 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2010
Posts: 56
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everyone is so helpful!!! so glad I joined this site :)

So I mailed two more books today- wrapped them in an old brown paper bag from the grocery store (cut to fit, of course) and taped the PBS wrapper on the front- $5 for both books :)

 

THANKS AGAIN, EVERYONE!!

Date Posted: 6/22/2010 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Yay Amy!