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Topic: I'm new and I don't understand.

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Subject: I'm new and I don't understand.
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2009
Posts: 2
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Hello fellow PaperBackSwappers,

I just joined the site not to long ago after my boyfriend's mother told me all about it. I was so excited to join and now I'm here. I have a few things that I don't really understand though.

For one, how to I mail a book? I read what you are 'spose to do, but where would I buy a box to send my book and how do I know how many stamps to put on? I never mailed anything like a book before and I don't understand. Could someone give me a brief play-by-play on how sending a book works?



Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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Hi Molly!

 Of course feel free to ask any questions you want here about PBS but I thought I would also let you know you can get fast help by clicking on the grey help center botton at the top of all your pages. In that page you will see a box abut live help, along with who ever your tour guide is. They are specially able to help with questions and enjoy doing so!

 So this is my summery about mailing books.

1. Double check that your book meets PBS standards, not all books are in good enough condition and some new do not know this.

2. If you do not have a scale in your house that can weigh oz or grams then you should print out two page wrapper of the book as instructed and take it to the post office to be weighted and mailed by them. You need to wrap it, but those instructions are included when you get that far.


 Clear as mud?

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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Welcome Molly!

You don't have to buy a box to mail your books in. Many people here use bubble mailers to send their book in. With most regular sized paperback books, you can just use the 2 sheet mailer you get during the printing label process and packaging tape on all the seams and corners. Any marger Trade size paperbacks or hardcovers I usually wrap in brown postal paper and tape the single sheet label to it, or I recycle a bubble mailer i have received books in. Multiple books I will find a box around the house to pack in. Some people use cereals boxes and the like, as long as the box hasn't touched food it should work.

The keys to wrapping a book are to make sure the book is covered well and use good packaging tape, don't use regular tape, it won't hold up and make sure to cover the edges and corners so that postal machines can't get ahold of the book there and rip off the wrapping. If you can a plastic underlay on the book helps protect it from the weather.

The postage amount will show when you print the wrapper. Some of the weights are off in the system so having a scale to check them can be handy.  Books over 13oz bearing only stamps need to be taken to the post office and handed to a clerk, you cannot drop them in blueboxes or leave for your carrier.

If you haven't yet, take the tour How To Swap Books under the Help Center.  There is also a section in the Help Center about wrapping books that gives good instructions.

Happy Swapping!

Last Edited on: 7/26/09 2:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2009
Posts: 2
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Thanks Kim!

So let me see if I understand. I check to make sure the books I put up are in the proper condition to send. Now where can I find out if the book is in good condition? Is there a link somewhere around the site?

And then to wrap it you can print out paper to wrap it in? I do not need a box or anything? And when I go to the post office they will take the package and tell me how much it costs to send?

Also, I heard that you can get money added to your account so you have pre-paid labels or something like that. What does that mean and where can I find that?

Sorry if I'm asking too much, I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right and not messing up a users time.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2008
Posts: 364
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I send all my books in padded envelopes..I get them from the dollar store. If it's a large book I wrap it in plastic then brown craft paper. I take them to the post office and let them weigh it  and put the correct postage on it.  Feel free to PM me if you need any help..

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Welcome to PBS Molly.

I am fairly new myself and I am learning every time I swap a book.

Here is the  link to the help docs. http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/help_index.php

I agree with Kim - first make sure that you are meeting the postbility standards.

When someone requests a book - if there is an RC (requestors conditions) that adds to the postibility baseline.   Some members have the RC which will show up in a large window when you go to your account page and some members do not have any.  Just make sure that the book meets the PBS postibility standards and the RC (if you receive one).   Then if it meets the requirements of the RC and PBS click I can mail (choose 2 days or I can mail later and you will choose the date you can get the book in the mail.  PBS tacks on 2 days after your date just in case you run into problems. 

Then you want to print the wrapper. The wrapper provides you with the name and address of the requestor.  There are pictures in the help docs on how to wrap using the wrapper or you can use bubble or padded envelopes.   Make sure you wrap it in plastic wrap (NOT PRESS AND SEAL) before packaging in the envelope or wrapper.  There are alot of opinions on this step but this will get the book out.

You can either purchase PBS postage and DC (giving you  the credit instantly so if the book is lost you still get your credit)  However, for my first swap I went to the PO they weighed and I paid their postage.  I personally  felt more comfortable doing it this way until I had a comfort level.

Hope this helps. 

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Hi Molly - to add postage go to the kiosk and you can purchase postage.  Then when you are printing the wrapper you have the choice of using the PBS postage and DC (which there is an added fee of 43 cents) but still less expensive then the PO if you add DC it is 80 cents. Here is the link on how to send books http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/help_index.php. 


Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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Hi Molly,

Here are some helpful links:

FAQs about Printable Postage

Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS

All Help documents about bookwrapping

Those should answer most, if not all your questions.  But in a nutshell, you can wrap a book in anything that will keep it protected - recycle some paper grocery bags, use brown postal wrapping paper, bubble/padded envelopes (new or used), etc.  The small paperbacks (mass market size) can be wrapped in 2 pages of printer paper - print the address on one sheet and the book info on the other and wrap both sheets around the book and tape well.  Invest in some good packing tape!  Scotch tape won't hold.  Also, I always wrap my books in plastic in case they get wet - I've used the plastic that newspapers come in, plastic grocery sacks, saran wrap (NOT the sticky kind, though!). 

As for postage, I have a scale here, so I can print the postage I need directly from this site.  If you don't have a scale, I'd recommend heading to the post office for weighing and postage.  After a short while, you'll have a pretty good idea on the postage you need - a regular sized paperback is probably less than a pound.

Hope all this helps!

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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It's pretty easy Molly.  While some people do buy envelopes and other packaging to mail the books, there is no requirement that you incur the additional expense.  Most of the books I get are wrapped only in the paper wrapper, and that's how I send my own out.  Just make sure you use packing tape along all the seams - generally a book long strip along the back seam, and a strip on either end to cover the end seams.

If you do choose to use an envelope, you will need to make sure it is taped down so that the book doesn't slide around in the envelope.  I've gotten a number of books that were damaged in transit this way, or that came out of the envelope.

For trade size (still paperbacks, only larger), all you have to do is take an extra sheet of printer paper, tape it longwise to your second printed sheet, and wrap the book up.  The full size label page is the right size to wrap around that without cutting or folding.

There is no requirement that you wrap books in plastic to mail them.

You will occasionally get a request that includes a Requester Condition (RC).  These are things that that particular requester requires in addition to the regular PBS posting standards, like no books from smoking homes, must wrap in plastic before sending etc.  You can accept or reject these as you wish.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,631
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If you don't feel comfortable wrapping the book in the 2-sheet wrapper (printer paper), get some of that brown postal kraft wrap.  You can pick up a roll at the dollar store.  You can cut that to fit the book.

I bought some poly mailers.  They're not padded, just a strong plastic that I can put the book in and seal it.  If the poly mailer is a lot larger than the book, I just fold it over and tape it down good with packing tape.  I picked up 100 poly mailers in 2 sizes off of Bonanzle for $20, including shipping.  That was a couple of months ago and I still have a bunch left.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Molly I suggest you take some time to go over the Help section up top. It's next to the Community Tab.  All your questions can be answered there from how to wrap a book and what can and cannot be posted. 

If you are going to use the printed postage so you don't have to go to the post office-get a cheap kitchen scale to weigh the books. PBS does not always have the correct weight.

Subject: A new person on the block
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,441
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I highly recommend using the prepaid postage. That way you can just check the book in the blue box.....occasionally I have to find a blue box with a larger opening when I am mailing a larger sized hardbound book.

Date Posted: 7/28/2009 9:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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Keep asking questions! Folks here are great help! Read Read Read, but if something is not adding up for you, ask! =)

Date Posted: 7/29/2009 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Welcome, Molly!  You can also check the sticky thread at the top of this forum (it's red) and read the Hints for New Members which is written by experienced members.  There's good advice in there.