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Topic: marking a book mailed

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Subject: marking a book mailed
Date Posted: 1/4/2011 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2008
Posts: 550
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I just wanted to get a feel for when people mark their books mailed, and when they actually mail them. I usually use online postage and DC, so I mail from home. I've always been very good about at least putting the book into the mailbox before I mark it mailed, but once in awhile I don't want to go outside until I get dressed, but some days getting dressed can get sidelined by other distractions. How evil is it to mark a book mailed and leave it sitting on the table for an hour?

I understand that things can happen- for instance, one time I marked a book mailed and went to put it out in the mailbox, only as I looked at it (apparently for the first time) I realized I hadn't bought postage, but had simply printed the basic label. I was glad I caught that before it went out and came back! I fixed it and had it out in the box before the mailman came. I was lucky that time. I wonder if marking it mailed one day and mailing the next would have been so bad?

I'm not looking to upend the order of the PBS world, or break rules. I want to know what the rules are and what wiggle room I might have for those times when I'm juggling lots of things in one day. Or, oops, two days.

I also want to comment that I really like online postage because many books in the last two months did not get marked received, but I already had my book credit. That may be why some didn't bother, I don't know. But it feels like I'm covering my bases.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 12:42 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2009
Posts: 96
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I always mark my books mailed after they are in the mailbox. Even if I print a wrapper and go straight to my mailbox, I wait until I have physically put it in there. My husband mails most of my requests on his way to work, and I always mark them after he calls or texts me that he dropped them off.  I don't think it's wise to mark it mailed when printing cause I get too many distractions or delays that can happen.


Last Edited on: 1/4/11 8:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2011 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I usually mark mailed after I print the wrapper.  There have been endless debates about the subject, though.  TPTB have decreed as long as you mail 48 hours after marking it, you're fine.  I've never had a problem doing so, but basically, whatever works best for your covenience, and is within site rules, is fine.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2010
Posts: 47
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I only mark the book mailed after it is physically in the mailbox.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/28/2008
Posts: 3,529
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I never, never, never mark a book mailed until I get home from the post office.  I do not print postage only tracking.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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I mark em mailed after I drop em off at the PO.


Date Posted: 1/4/2011 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2010
Posts: 350
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I mark mailed once I have placed it in the mail bin at work (in the morning) so I am positive it will go out that day. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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A controversial topic Lora.  PBS members tend to be individual in our mailing routines.  Under a couple very specific conditions, PBS guidelines allow a 48 hour window for mailing after marking.  Since PBS doesn't really enforce the mailing rule so long as the book arrives before the 'lost' date, this guideline is widely abused.   To be fair tho, the huge majority of books are mailed timely regardless of when the 'mailed' button is clicked.

About 95% of the time I mark books mailed after returning from the PO.  The rare exceptions are when the deadline falls on a day the PO is closed or my schedule doesn't allow me to get to the PO on time.  For these, I mark when the book is safely wrapped and in my car for the next errand run (as safe and sure as I can arrange).

From the HELP documents:

A book must be mailed within 48 hours of marking it mailed

  • It is okay to mark your book mailed before you have mailed it if:

    • The deadline date falls on a postal holiday
    • Your computer/Internet access is unreliable
    • You plan to mail the book on your way out of town

Last Edited on: 1/4/11 2:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:13 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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I mark mailed once I have placed it in the mail bin at work (in the morning) so I am positive it will go out that day.

Exactly the same for me, Meghan.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,130
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Someone asked PBS about those rules and they said that those are not the only reasons for mailing books after they are marked mailed. Those are just some examples of reasons people might do that. They expect people to treat each other courteously was their basic answer.

It is perfectly OK to mark books mailed before you go to the post office.

I wrap and mark all my books mailed the night before I take them to the Post Office. Not just because I find it way easier to keep track of what books I already wrapped up, but because there has been several times when PBS itself was down and not accessible for logging in. Since they never publicize when they are doing site updates in advance, I find it less problematic to mark books mailed as I wrap them, because I can never know when the site will be inaccessible.

In any case, if you mark a book mailed and then it doesn't get actually mailed for some reason. the system takes care of all issues automatically and nobody is out anything except a little time waiting for the book.

It's the people who mail the books out and then forget to go back and mark them mailed that cause all kinds of issues!


Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:30 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,726
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I mark my books mailed the day I intend to mail them when I get to work. We have a blue bin outside our store that I use most of the time now. However I have noticed that it doesn't seem to get emptied every day like it is supposed to...it's almost like they have a part time person who doesn't realize the blue box at the mall exists. But having it in the blue bin is good enough for me, since it's out of my hands at that point.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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IIRC, there used to be something where if the PO downloaded the DC information before the member marked the book mailed you didn't get your credit until the next scan.  Not sure if the PBS system still works this way, but if I'm going to be away from home for an extended time after buying counter postage - I will mark mailed before I leave for the post office. 

True Sara, TPTB allow members to develop our own method of timely mailing vs. attempting to enforce rigid rules.

IMO most of us would agree, the real problem is members mailing (weeks) late without conforming to the late mailing rules.  Often another book has been ordered/received and the entire situation becomes a headyache.

From the HELP documents:

If you marked the book mailed but did not mail it and you want to mail it late (more than 4 days after the date you marked it as mailed),  you MUST contact the requestor using the PM button on the transaction, to be sure that the requestor still wants the book.  (If the book has already been declared "lost", the PM button is on the "lost in mail" transaction in your Transaction Archive.)

  • If she replies that she does still want it you can mail it to her.  She can mark it received and you will get credit at that time.
    • If the book has already been declared "lost" she can mark it received from her Transaction Archive and you will get credit at that time.
  • If she replies that she does NOT want it (she may have gotten a copy from someone else in the meantime), you should NOT MAIL - you should ask us to cancel the "en route" transaction and you can repost the book for someone else to request.
  • If she does not respond to your PM, you should repost the book.  It will be offered to her automatically if she still wants a copy.
  • You should not mail a "lost" book to the original requestor unless she has confirmed that she still wants it in a Personal Message.  If you mail it and she has already gotten another copy, she will NOT be obligated to mark the book received, or to return it to you.

Last Edited on: 1/4/11 2:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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I usually mark mine mailed before heading out to the PO if I'm using the PBS DC, and as soon as I get home if I use just the basic label. This is because usually when I go to the PO, I'm actually going to do several other things at the same time that'll have me gone for several hours, and I want to make sure if the system updates while I'm out I get the credit then, rather than having to wait until the DC is scanned again somewhere else. But, in any case, it typically gets put in the mail at the actual PO within a few hours of me marking it as such, at the most.

Sometimes, in rare cases, books actually get mailed a day or two after I mark them as such. This is when I'm having computer or internet issues and want to mark them mailed when I have the chance since I may not be able to do it later, going out of town (mark it mailed my last time on the computer, and mail it as I leave), and exceptional circumstances like that, which are still within the rules here.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I mark mine mailed after I print out the wrapper. the out going mail box is right next to my desk at work so its around ten steps to get it in the box.  I never print a wrapper until I am 100% sure there is mail pick up that day and that I can actually mail it (books been checked over). So from wrapping to mail box it takes around 3minutes.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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Denise - Yep, the PBS system does still seem to work that way. About a month ago, I failed to mark a book mailed before going to the PO, and the system updated while I was gone. So, when I marked it mailed after getting home, I ended up having to wait an extra four days until the book was scanned again somewhere enroute in order to get my credit. That's why I always follow the procedure I do now. If I'm paying more for the DC, I prefer getting the credit from it ASAP.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 284
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I mail mine from work. I wrap the book, print the label, put it on the book and drop it in the mail bin at work. Somewhere in there I mark it mailed. I mark it mailed even if the mail has already gone out for the day. Afterall if I took it the PO and they didn't put out in today's mail it would still be mailed. Once it's in the mail bin, my mailbox, the blue box or at the PO, I consider it mailed.


Date Posted: 1/4/2011 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I do not mark them mailed until either I have taken them to the post office or dropped them in a big blue box or placed it in my mailbox for pickup. In other words, not until it has left my hands.

I've had too many books coming to me "go lost" and then get a PM from the sender that they thought they had mailed it, but just found it in their briefcase, under car seat, in husband's trunk, or in their kid's car and NOW it is in the mail. That also taught me not to ask others to mail my books!

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2010
Posts: 388
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I mark the books mailed first and then go to the post office.  Never had a problem but I won't wait until the next day or even a few hours.  I like to get it done right away.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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This is why it's important to know yourself. Like me, I'm very careful with my books. I always know exactly how many are being mailed, and count them when they're mailed to make sure I didn't miss any, and so I know there's absolutely no risk of me missing one or having one get lost or anything. I also know I don't drive, so I know the routine that works best for me for making sure books get marked mailed and get mailed in a way that works is different for me. Since I do need to rely on others to drive me to mail them, I have a bit different routine and plan I follow than some others would, and so on.

If someone has a history of losing track of books, giving them to others to mail that don't mail them, or whatever, then they probably need to find a different mailing routine, since theirs clearly doesn't work.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 4:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,320
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I always wait until I have the books at the PO. (I don't have a printer or I'd mail from home probably!)

I take all my books to the post office & then come home & mark them mailed.  I don't think I've ever marked anything mailed unless I've already taken it to the PO.  That goes for things I list on ebay also.  I never mark anything mailed on there until AFTER I've been to the PO.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2010
Posts: 148
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I mark my books mailed after they have been delivered to the PO.  Monday my husband was going to mail a book for me on his way to work.  I went to put it in his car when I left but the car was locked so I put the book on his windshield as he would be leaving 5 minutes after me.  Well, he didn't see it.  GRRRR! (How could one miss it, but I won't go there!) Anyway, the book fell off and he ran over the package. Our gravel drive punctured the bubble wrap, book jacket and book cover on a like-new book for a wish-lister.  He did not realize that I had left the book package on his car. That morning I was tempted to mark it mailed but something made me change my mind.  .  .which is a good thing since I had to cancel the order instead.  In the cancellation, I simply said my husband ran over the book and damaged it.  I bet the person thought "yeah, right" =)  Note to self: don't ever mark the book mailed until it is actually in the post office.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2008
Posts: 550
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There are so many great points in here! Thanks for the rules and other explanations. I usually mark mailed only after the book is in the mail box or at the PO. I think for those few occassions when I mark mailed before I actually mail, I will be extra vigilant. If that sentence makes sense.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I used to wait until I had come home from teh post office.  Until I lost power for 4 days one time and had to print labels and mark books mailed from the post office (after days w/o running water).  I missed having 5 requests time out on me by only a few hours. Now I mark them mailed as soon as I wrap them up.  Usually they get stamps and get put right into the mail box. Sometimes I bring them to work and put them in the outgoing mail bag.  I consider a book mailed if I wrap it up and put it in my own mail box after Saturday pickup with a Monday Holiday knowing it won't actually be picked up until Tues.  Because it's technically mailed.  Although in that case, I would most likely drop it in the blue box if I went anywhere.

I wouldn't worry about it unless you consistantly mail books more than 2 days after you actually mail them. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 8:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I've discovered that I am far more likely to forget to click "send" after mailing the books then I am to forget to mail the book after clicking.  That's where the danger lies for me.

Last Edited on: 1/4/11 8:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/6/2011 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2010
Posts: 301
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I typically mark the books mailed after they've left my hands, such as dropped in a blue box or handed to the postman if I see him at work that day. 

I will mark it mailed on my way to drop it off if it's a weekend.  I work two jobs and weekends are especially rough.  I'm afraid I'll forget to mark it mailed after working a 14 hour day and then getting up and working another 8 hours.