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Topic: New Instructions for Wrapping Books?

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Subject: New Instructions for Wrapping Books?
Date Posted: 7/17/2013 11:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2012
Posts: 46
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A substantial percentage of the books I receive now are wrapped in obviously inexpensive brown paper, and that's of course fine. I'd like to do it myself. However, I'd appreciate someone letting me know where the best but least expensive rolls of such brown paper can be bought (Office Depot? Staples? Michael's? Ebay?) and then telling us all the best way to wrap books using such brown paper. Should one buy the cheapest paper or does the cheapest paper present post office machinery problems? Are there better and worse ways to actually wrap the books? Thanks in advance for your help, whoever you may be.

Date Posted: 7/17/2013 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2011
Posts: 218
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I use paper bags sometimes- you can do this if your grocery store still hands them out.  Otherwise, just get a roll of brown paper.  They sell them in lots of places.  I've bought them at K-mart, the grocery store, the campus store ...  In the long run, the cheapest way is to recycle the packaging (envelopes) you get from other people.  If you get anything from PBS, ebay, other stores in bubble envelopes, save the envelopes.  I use the paper when I'm out of envelopes.



Last Edited on: 7/17/13 3:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/17/2013 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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When buying brown paper, be careful of the thickness. Thick paper like on the older grocery bags works well. Some places I've gotten paper sacks are thin like sacks for school lunches, isn't so good. I've gotten a roll of brown paper I couldn't use from a store (think it was a Dollar Store) because it was so thin it was only good for wrapping presents.

You just have to look at it and decide if you think it looks thick enough to handle a really rough day at the P.O. Then take it home and test it out.

As to wrapping, I always wrap the same way, no matter what the wrapping. First, making sure the edges are well sealed so that no wrapping edge sticks out to catch on machinery. Packing tape, and no scotch tape. One loop of clear packing tape across the front and back covering the back seam and the address, while also covering the edges.

In the past, I've switched to using large card envelopes. They're the perfect size for most MMPB's, just slit open the sides and unfold. They usually have a pre-gummed flap, and the paper is nice and thick enough for shipping. Getting them in bulk means it costs me about 10 cents an envelope with little waste. I find them a lot easier to use than to cut the right size out of a paper roll.

 

Date Posted: 7/17/2013 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 534
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I haven't had the best luck with grocery bags - the paper is plenty thick but it tears too easily at the corners unless I mummify the package, and then I'm using so much tape I'm not saving much money. Something that's thinner grained, like copy paper or those rolls of shipping paper they sell, work better and has better shear strength. PBS is the place that introduced me to the idea of using printer paper for packaging books (with the mailers) and now I keep my scrap paper that's printed on one side and reuse it to construct packages for books (among other things).

Date Posted: 7/17/2013 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,670
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I recommend against re-using brown grocery bags. That paper is not the same as brown kraft paper, which is what people more typically use as brown paper wrapping.

Brown grocery bags are very fibrous, and packing tape peels very easily right off it, and doesn't stick very well to it in the first place. Also, if it gets damp at all, it rips and tears very easily, and the tape also peels right off.

When I am forced to use grocery bags as my mailing wrapper ... I make sure to always wrap strips of tape completely around the whole package, so the tape ends up sticking to itself. Also, I wrap tape  in all three directions around (completely around) the package. I also completely seal the ends of the package with tape.

Based on damaged packages that I have received, recycled brown grocery bags are the most easily damaged. I've received empty brown paper wrappers with books missing, and even if they arrive with contents, the packaging is almost always ripped and the book is exposed. That has never happened with a white printer paper wrapper.

Now, brown kraft paper is different. It acts more like normal paper and is way better for mailing. I don't know of any particulary cheap place to buy it, though.

Date Posted: 7/17/2013 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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As already mentioned, not all brown wrapping paper is created equal (although I've used it successfully myself).   Be sure to tape all the edges of the package, I've received have been split there where the book inside flexes.  Some brown paper is brittle (like gift wrap) and tears instead of flexing with the package contents (or just rough PO handling).



Last Edited on: 7/17/13 4:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/17/2013 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,314
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I've used all different kinds of things to wrap books in, including brown paper.  I got some from the dollar store which worked okay, but I always put a LOT of tape around it.  I received a book the other day from someone who had used brown paper & the paper got wet, which leaked through to the book.  no

So if you use any kind of paper like that to wrap them, ask yourself what could happen if it got wet.  If it seems like water could get through it (or that the paper might rip), then put more tape.  That's what I do anyway.  I usually don't use the brown paper though, but for the few times I have used it, I'm sure it took some time to get all the tape off.

Date Posted: 7/17/2013 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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If you are going to buy brown paper, I recomment buying Postal Paper. It is made to be a little more durable going through the mail. I bought it at Walmart I think and some of the office supply stores. Then I found a box of it on clearance at the grocery store for 25cents a roll and haven't run out in years.

Any paper will be as good as its wrapping. Tape all corners and edges. If you use a cheaper brown paper, put a waterproof underlay of some kind because some of them will disintigrate when wet.

Date Posted: 7/17/2013 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,387
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I use old maps. Thin but sturdy paper. I've received books wrapped in old wallpaper. Sturdy and made to hold up to the wet wallpaper paste.
Date Posted: 7/17/2013 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 2,943
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I'll use anything, but mostly I use the envelopes, especially the padded ones, that people send me.  However, I also send out bigger books wrapped in the shiny and brown paper I get when cutting up the big bags my dog's food comes in.

Date Posted: 7/17/2013 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 1,391
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Last Edited on: 11/24/13 7:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/17/2013 9:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,387
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I always reuse what I can but when I need a bigger piece of paper I cut open the large 9x14 size gold Kraft envelopes (sometimes they have clasps, which should be removed or covered over). DH gets these at work and mostly tosses them so I grab a stack now and then. I cut them apart at the bottom and on the back seam and end up with a good sized piece of paper to wrap with.
Date Posted: 7/17/2013 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 613
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I opt for using freezer paper rather than brown paper.  It's relatively inexpensive, sturdy, and is plastic-lined, so the book stays nice and dry in transit.  I've never had a receiver report a problem with it upon receipt.

Date Posted: 7/18/2013 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,377
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I often use the wrapper from around a ream of paper - it's thick and has a sort of coating that makes it more durable than regular paper.  And because I work in an office, it's easy to pull those out of the recycling to use.  I recognize that's not possible for everyone, though.  As many people have said, the tape is the real key.

Date Posted: 7/20/2013 8:16 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 2,943
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I often use the wrapper from around a ream of paper - it's thick and has a sort of coating that makes it more durable than regular paper.

I used to collect these by the score. They make wonderful wrappers. Then I retired and I no longer have a source.

Date Posted: 7/20/2013 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 534
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Julie, just curious - how do you use the calendar paper - doesn't it have printing on both sides? Or do you print out an additional label and put it on top?

I hadn't thought of using the paper ream wrappers - that's a great idea. Thomas, I used to work at a place where we all shared a printer, and it printed out a 'cover sheet' with each print out with the person's name on it. I kept mine and took them home and used them for years as scrap paper and for printing drafts of stuff on the other side. Finally ran out about 5 years after I left that job!

Date Posted: 7/20/2013 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 2,943
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I used to work at a place where we all shared a printer, and it printed out a 'cover sheet' with each print out with the person's name on it.

I do this all the time too. It could be business junk mail I receive, trash mail from my homeowners association, or even my 33 years worth of annual evaluations that I'm going through (I'm up to 1997 as of tonight). As long as they do not have secure information (SSN, medicare info, bank accounts, etc.) I use the blank side to print the one or two-page address labels on PBS.

Date Posted: 7/20/2013 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 1,391
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Last Edited on: 11/24/13 7:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/20/2013 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,387
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The post office cares about bar codes and strings of numbers.  They are fine with maps and pictures.  I have found that you really want printed paper that is pretty colorfast.  Maps and calendars work great.  Red holiday wrapping paper bleeds all over the books. 

Although I do wrap my books in plastic first.

Date Posted: 7/20/2013 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 534
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I see, Julie, thanks. The one charm that grocery sacks had for me was that I didn't have to print out the label, I could just hand-write the address on in Sharpie. I haven't tried whether that works OK with kraft paper.

Date Posted: 7/21/2013 1:15 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 1,252
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All these methods are great for a single book or matching sized paperbacks, but when it comes to hardcovered book(s) or multiples of different sized books, I re-use cardboard boxes.  And I just don't mean regular cardboard - I save any box from my pantry (as long as the original food product was in a bag inside the box so that it didn't touch the cardboard: example - cereal boxes) and any other small product box that comes into my house.

You don't have to use tons of tape to protect the edges/corners of the books like when you use paper, the box does that.  The box usually doesn't even change the shipping weight when using Media mail.  And as was mentioned, the picture on the outside of the box doesn't matter; just make sure to cross out any bar codes on the box.

I do stuff the box with newspaper, etc. if there is any room inside, to keep the books from sliding around  and damaging any book edges.

All in all, I've found this to be a great way to save on shipping materials, feel good about recycling and causing the member at the other end a smile (as was reported back to me in a PM) like when I sent a male member multiple paperbacks in a saved 'Ahh Bra' box. :)

 

Subject: I also use old calendars and magazine covers & gift bags.
Date Posted: 7/21/2013 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,456
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Bruce -
Date Posted: 7/22/2013 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2008
Posts: 3,412
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I buy my brown roll of wrapping paper from Walmart. It works well, it's durable, and I've never received a complaint but many compliments. For the inner wrapper, I asked my paper boy if he had any surplus plastic bags and he gave me a big bundle. So I wrap the book in these paper bags to prevent against moisture and then wrap in brown shipping paper. It's cheaper than buying envelopes and apparently my books always arrive in great condition.

Date Posted: 7/23/2013 2:44 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 346
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I get my brown paper rolls from the Dollar Store. They are a little thin, but I think the thinner paper is easier to fold up tight, which is the key. Wrap like you would a present, make sure tape covers all creases. I also wrap it around the middle of the book, and lengthwise, just in case a tear happens. I have never had a problem.