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Topic: offering deals and packaging

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Subject: offering deals and packaging
Date Posted: 6/26/2011 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2011
Posts: 357
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Hi! I have a couple quesitons about offering deals on my bookshelf, such as 3 for 1 deals.

I've only been on PBS for about 2 months, so I am still feeling my way around. I have almost 100 books posted, and soon I am going to be getting probably a hundred more (my grandmother passed away about a few weeks ago and has a decent sized amount of books that are going to be given to me. For those I'm not interested in reading  I will post here!).

My question in offering a 3 for 1 (or 4 or 5 for 1) deal mostly deals with packaging. Because if I am correct, all it takes to offer 3 for 1 is a post in the book bazaar forum, and to have members request a book from me, than list the other books either in the thread or the pm. My question pertains mostly to shipping.

How do I ship more than one book at a time? I've only ever shipped out one book at a time, wrapper in the two pages that print from PBS and LOTS of shiping tape. Would a box be the most sensible (where should I get them?) or wrap them together if they fit in a manilla folder or something?


Thanks for helping out a newbie :) I appreciate it :)

Date Posted: 6/26/2011 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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It depends on the sizes of the books.

If they are all about the same size, I wrap them in some sort of plastic tightly and then tape them together as a brick (the plastic is so that I won't be taping directly on the books.) I then wrap the brick with cut-up paper grocery bags.

If they are not the same size, I usually put them in a bubble envelope that I've save from previous trades, ideally in some way that they don't slide around.

The trick is lots of shipping tape.

Are 3 for 1 or 4 for 1 deals worth it? You might end up spending more than the Kiosk or Book Bazaar asking price to get one credit. People offer deals like 5 for 2 because they save on shipping and the recipient gets some free books.

I guess it depends on your objective.

Good luck.

Date Posted: 6/26/2011 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Whatever works.  A box, a bubble mailer. Or make a brick with them with plastic wrap of some kind and then cover in thick type paper. 

I agree with Sophia though-3 or 4 for 1 might not cover the postage. Unless they're think children's books or those little series romances.  Thick mmps or hardcovers will cost more to mail.  Unless you jsut want to move them out quickly and don't care about the postage costs.  I would probably offer 5 for 2.  The 2 credits will cover the postage and the requester still gets 3 books for free. 


Date Posted: 6/26/2011 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I package similar to Sophia. If all the books are the same size (and there's not too many of them) I just stack them, wrap them up, and mail them off. Books of different sizes and/or bindings will go into a tightly wrapped  padded mailer, or a box if there's too many to wrap safely in soft packaging.

Date Posted: 6/26/2011 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2011
Posts: 357
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thank you so much for all your help!


I can see how 5 for 2 deals makes more sense, postage wise. I hadn't thought of it that way before.


Thanks again :)

Date Posted: 6/26/2011 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 1,418
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Last Edited on: 7/30/11 2:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/26/2011 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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I've used the heavy plastic that LL Bean or JC Penney online orders come shipped in. I've also used heavy wallpaper I picked up in a thrift shop in the free bin. And I save any Amazon or other boxes I get.

Date Posted: 6/26/2011 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Many PBS members recycle wrapping materials Alysia.  Bubble envelopes, Amazon book boxes, old calenders, whatever we can find.

The basic single page (double layer) PBS shipping label works just fine, so long as two layers completely enclose the book(s).  For something like those thin series romances you might get three in a bundle, but the larger books (like the James Patterson mmpb on your bookshelf) might only hold two.  For multiples in a paper wrapper, I like to put the packing slip inside then wrap the books in plastic wrap.  Take a couple wraps around with packing tape to firm the books into a brick then apply the outer address label (since the 'invoice' is already inside I substitute a blank paper or scratch paper under the address sheet).  Tape firmly and ship.

If using bubble envelope you may want to consider folding down excess firm to the book(s).  This is especially important when using manilla (unpadded envelopes) and unpadded plastic envelopes ... both are very easily torn and damaged by USPS sorting equipment that catches on the loose corners and edges.

Recycled boxes are often your best option for larger multiple orders.  I save frozen food boxes, Schwan & Omaha Steak (thank you FIL) are often a good size for mailing a few books.  Amazon boxes are great to recycle too.  Many members report cutting down kitchen boxes such as cereal, granola bars, etc.  When using 'customized' kitchen boxes, consider using the plastic underwrap & tape 'brick' method.  It gives you a solid interior product to wrap around and can help protect the books.

Keep your eyes open at the grocery store too, if staff is stocking shelves watch for small boxes ... especially in the coffee, tea, and spice aisles.  Some of those boxes are good book packing sizes (I try to keep one or two of these around JIC).  Avoid alcohol/booze boxes, or any other product that is not allowed shipped through USPS as they can be refused or returned to you (if you must use them, cover completely with something like brown paper and tape firmly).

And a final thought.  PBS members love to recycle, but USPS Priority Mail boxes must not be re-used for other postal rates.  If re-used they must travel at the original Priority Mail rate...even if covered or inside other packaging.  If inspected, USPS can increase the shipping rate to Priority and the package will arrive postage due (not a happy surprise).

Last Edited on: 6/26/11 8:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/27/2011 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2011
Posts: 357
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Thanks to everyone,


and thanks to denise for such a detailed response. That helped me out greatly. I appreciate it! :)