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Topic: opinions on printable postage

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Subject: opinions on printable postage
Date Posted: 2/22/2009 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2008
Posts: 142
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Hello all!

I was looking for some opinions from those of you who use the printable postage, either here or through PayPal.  I've been considering doing it, just to eliminate the need to stop by the PO and stand in line on busy days when I have a lot of errands to run, but I don't know which way to go.

PayPal is a little cheaper, since you only have to pay the actual postage plus 18cents, but if you use PBS postage, you pay the 18cents plus some more fees, in addition to the fee to get $$ into your PBS account.  (Sure you can put more money in and only pay that fee once, but then you've got $$ sitting in PBS that you can't use anywhere else.)  I can't imagine that the service is that much different, since you get delivery confirmation both ways.  The only benefit to using PBS is getting the instant credit, but it ends up being more expensive.  Not that I'm trying to take fee money away from PBS (I'm sure they can use the funds), but if you send out a lot of books, the extra transaction fees can add up. Is it worth it to get instant credit for the book?  I don't need the credits right away, so the only benefit I can see for me is that I'd still get the credit if the book gets lost.  Does that happen to you all very often?  Is it worth the extra money for "insurance"?  I've sent out about a dozen books so far and had no problems with that . . . yet.

What do you all think?  What printable postage do you use?



Date Posted: 2/22/2009 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,647
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I use postage stamps most of the time.  If your package is 13oz or under, you can just stick stamps on it and send it on its way.  I just keep a variety of denominations on hand and can do just about any postage amount.  Sometimes I end up paying a penny or two more but usually I can get it just right.

If my package is over 13oz or I need to have DC on the package, I use Paypal postage.

Even with Paypal's 18 cents for the DC, that can add up as well.  I use it because it's next to impossible for me to get to the PO counter.

I've never needed the instant credit, never had a problem with my books being received and marked as such.  Even if you do have one or two go lost and lose your credit, overall that's still going to be cheaper than using PBS postage for everything if you send out a lot of books.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2005
Posts: 1,592
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I use the printable postage and Delivery Confirmation because if there is a problem with it, I can have it resolved here. It does cost a bit more but when you click mailed.....you get instant credit.  Even if I don't need the credit right away, it's something I don't have to worry about.

But the best part is no more trips to the Post Office. Even if the book weighs more than 13 ounces, you can mail from home. I asked a postal clerk about that and she said it's because the package is traceable through the DC......I guess that means in case you are trying to send something illegal or suspicious.

Just invest in a good digital kitchen scale (got mine at WalMart for under $25) so you can get an accurate weight on the wrapped book. When you go to print out the label you enter that weight and it's calculated.

It's the best thing I have pampered myself with.........give it a try!

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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I use printable postage for many orders.  I'm more likely to use it for multiple book orders or (like now) when I need credits.  I use paypal postage for games and box o' books.  I almost never have stamps on hand, or if I do, I would have to spend more money because I don't have the correct denominations, and getting to the post office is nearly impossible most weeks. If you are happy with what you're doing, I'd say stick to it.  I use it because it's convienent for me right now.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 547
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I use PBS printable postage.  Mostly because it is so easy to use and I'm lazy.  But I also want to give back to PBS and this is a good way to do that. 

The big downfall of using Paypal postage is if your book goes lost.  If this happens, you don't get your credit back.  The only way to get your credit back if the book goes lost is if you use PBS postage, and then you get your credit within hours of marking the book mailed.

I don't mind the extra fees, but that is because I've been here long enough and mailed out enough books (way before printable postage) that I can sell credits to fund my mailing habits.  I will admit that I might go back to mailing from the PO is money gets tight, but I also pass 3 post offices with the APC machine during my week and 2 blue boxes on a daily basis, so I can go back to regular ways of mailing without putting too much strain on my daily life.


Date Posted: 2/22/2009 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I use the PBS postage for the convenience--I have had so few books go lost in either direction that I don't think the "delivery confirmation" is a big plus, nor do I need the instant credit. But I do like the convenience because I print, wrap and drop in the blue box in front of my work. Since I send a fair amount of hardcovers and trade paperbacks that I would normally need to hand over the counter at a PO because they're over 13 oz, the printable postage works for me--I can only get to a regular PO once a week.

I use PBS printable postage over PayPal or some other online postage simply because it DOES support PBS. This is a great, totally free site to use and it must cost a lot for Richard and the powers that be to run the place. I don't use any of the other paid for things like Box o Books, Book Journal, etc. so I figure this is my way of supporting PBS. The .50 fee they charge to put money into the PBS account is negligible and certainly no more than a lot of places charge for a credit card transaction...I have a PayPal business account and they deduct a percentage of every transaction I do there, and it's usually a lot more than .50! I usually put $50 at a time in the PBS money account to minimize that amount. But yeah, if you add it in in $5 increments or something, those fees are more significant then.

The extra .27 per transaction to use their postage is the 'credit guarantee.' Again, I don't really feel I need a guarantee, but if you use PayPal postage or the DC from the post office and the book doesn't get marked received, you are NOT guaranteed your credit even if the DC says it was delivered. For some people that's a big deal, the assurance that you won't be 'out' a credit.


Date Posted: 2/22/2009 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2008
Posts: 185
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I use the PB printable postage exclusively since one book that I sent was lost. They never marked it received but I sent it via UPS and had her signature but she still said she never received it.

And UPS is expensive but she had said she needed the book for her daughter's report etc... I have a soft heart :)


Date Posted: 2/22/2009 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think it's your personal preference.  I have the time to go to the PO so I go once or twice a week. When I ran a home daycare I used the PBS postage more often. I would use PBS postage if I had a book over 13oz and lived near a drive up blue box.  Much easier then lugging all the kids into the PO.  If it was under 13oz I would just add stamps for postage.

If you don't care about quick credits and the loss of a credit if a book goes lost then use Paypal for the savings and convenience. 

I personally figured out that if I'd used PBS postage on all the books I've sent out I would have spent around $200 just in postage fees. I'd rather be out the credit and the book. 

I do use PBS postage on occassion when I have a large book to mail and no time to go to the post office. 

I use the DC on multiple book ordrers and game books because it's required. 

I don't understand people who print a label from PBS then buy DC from the post office. It costs a lot more and provides nothing as far as PBS goes.  So really it's a waste of money.  Using Paypal I can see though because you do it for the convenience.

I also don't people who use the printed postage and then go get them weighed at the PO anyway. Why not just buy the postage from the PO?

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
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I use every method imaginable. I use PBS postage when I have a heavier WL book to mail and don't have time to use the APC. I use PayPal on game books and multiple book packages, and use stamps or APC a lot too.  I like the credit guarantee of PBS-DC so will use only DC on a lot of WL books.  We have great guys at the PO I mail from so I don't mind going there and its in a different zip than I live in so buying the postage at the counter or APC helps  them out by getting the revenues to the PO doing the work for me.

If a person is trying to protect credits on lost books by using PBS postage I don't think that it is economical. You would need to have 1 out of 5 books go lost to have the credits lost equal the expense of .43 fee on each label. PBS-DC only is a little more economical at .27 per transaction, but that is still like a 10% loss rate, which I don't think anyone would ever get close to. 

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,496
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I usually use stamps or just pay for the postage over the counter. Our small local PO is just a short walk away and the larger PO in the town where I work is just across the street from the office, so both are very convenient.

I've sent a lot of books during my time here and just can't justify the extra money it would have cost to use the other mailing options. It would be cool to get instant credit, though!

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I usually just use stamps and mail from my home, or take those over-13 oz. books to the PO. BUT I definitely use the DC feature whenever sending multiple books -- feel the extra cost is worth it, if the books go lost. Used PBS printable postage for a month or so last spring but I am a high-volume swapper and it was just too expensive if you are sending 75+ books a month. If I were sending one or two books now and then, then I probably would use it.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2008
Posts: 142
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Wow!  You guys are super!  I was really not expecting this many answers this fast!

The thing about printable postage is just that it's so darned convenient.  I live right next to the post office (literally next to - we sold them the land to build it), but it's only open when I'm at work 21 miles away, and the PO in that town is always busy.  It's not really out of my way to go there, but I always seem to need to mail books on the same days when I have to go to the grocery store, pick up a prescription from the pharmacy, get gas, and pick up the drycleaning, etc. all in the same afternoon, and I just don't want to stand in line there when I need to be running 15 other places.

We have a "real" postal scale at work, so I can always get a perfectly accurate weight for the postage.  I had considered just putting stamps on things and getting "odd" stamps so I wasn't wasting so much money (I'm not worried about the 13 oz. rule - I haven't mailed on that heavy yet), but I have enough trouble finding my stamps to mail bills, lol.  Heaven only knows what would happen if I had to find a lot of them.  :) 

I've used the PayPal shipping once, just the other day, and the 18 cents doesn't bother me too much if I'm getting DC too.  If one of my coworkers were running to the PO and asked if I needed anything, I'd happily ask them to mail the book, give them 2.50 for 2.23 postage, and tell them to keep the change, so paying 2.41 isn't so bad, but, at the same time, I wouldn't give them 3.00 and tell them to keep the change (okay, I'll admit it, I'm a tightwad, lol), so the extra 43 cents on top of the extra 18 cents would be a bit much.  I've sent out about a dozen books since I started here in December, so that would be an extra 5.00+ if I were using PBS vs. PayPal, and heck, that's a couple more books that I could have mailed, and I haven't lost any yet.

I guess I'll wait until this first book goes through with the PayPal shipping and see how it goes.  If all is well, I'll keep up with PayPal.  If I'm ever in need of a credit right away, I'd definitely use the PBS postage.

I LOVE this place (you wouldn't believe how much time I spend here everyday), and if there ever comes a time when I have to pay to be a member, that's fine.  I'd just rather be paying for membership than paying extra fees for mailing, you know?

But thank you for all of the advice!  You guys are the best!!

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,135
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I've had very few books ever go lost so I don't use the on-line postage.  Don't forget, you can go to your APC and stock up on stamps in the common media mail denominations--then your packages can go in the blue box, even if they are over 13 ounces.  I mail most books using APC stamps that I keep at home, so I only have to go to the post office every 3-4 weeks.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 2,608
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I've mailed several different ways.

Mostly I've mailed from the Post Office.  It's not too far from work.  For smaller books I've mailed 1st class I've sometimes put stamps on the wrapper and just put them in my mailbox.  That saves a trip to the PO.  I do have some money invested in the PBS postage.  When I need a credit in a hurry, I've used PBS postage to get the instant credit.  I don't know how to do PayPal postage.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,647
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I sat down with the FC postage rates and figured out which stamps in which denominations I'd need to get the various rates.  I wrote out a chart for myself so I know exactly how many of what denomination stamp I need for each ounce.  I keep 4 denominations of stamps on hand and order them right from the USPS website.  It costs $1 for the s&h to do that but I upload money to my Paypal account and use my Paypal debit card which gives me a percentage back and makes up for that $1 fee.  I have a stamp envelope where I keep all the stamps so they're right there for me.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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I use PBS postage. It's so easy and well worth the extra cost for me. Our PO line is so long nearly all the time that I dread standing in it. I've got better things to do. lol

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2008
Posts: 142
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Oh I dearly wish I had an APC somewhere near me.  That would be a nice option, but the post office beside my house has *1* employee, and the PO near where I work isn't that . . . convenient.  That's what I get for living in the sticks, I guess, lol.

The direct link for PayPal shipping is:


You do have to have a PayPal account set up, but you can pay either by credit card or having it pulled out of your bank account.

I work at a bank anyway, so I just have it taken out of my bank account, go get the money out of my purse, and have the teller next to me deposit it right back into the account for me.  So, for me, it's a lot like paying in cash.  :)


Date Posted: 2/22/2009 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,718
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I use printable postage for everything that will fit in my mailbox. The fees are worth it to me because the college campus mail center I use has  a very high loss rate (and IMHO they hold media mail for an unacceptable length of time) and I really prefer having my packages go out through the official USPS mail carrier rather than a bunch of unreliable work-study college students. No offense to college students (after all I was one for 6 years) but it IS obvious from the high loss rate that there is quite a bit of theft going on there...and since my actual zip code post office is 15 miles from my house while the campus mail center is only 5 blocks I really don't want to change the location I use, so I prefer to use my mailman whenever possible.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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I use printable postage for almost everything. We have a high loss rate so I look at it as shipping insurance. Plus what's not to love about instant credit. I love that I can pop it into my mailbox no matter what the weight is, plus I am helping support the site. I figure that the amount I spend in shipping fees is less than what PBS would have to charge for a membership fee if they didn't get enough support!

Daniel T. - ,
Date Posted: 2/22/2009 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2008
Posts: 272
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I like printable postage because it gives an instant credit when the book is mailed even if the book gets lost in the mail. I need not be concerned if the recipient marks it received, though everyone has except for one delivered about a week ago. So far, no book has gone missing in the postal service.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I mostly use the PBS printable postage for PBS items, but I also have a commercial account with USPS for everything else.

Date Posted: 2/23/2009 12:21 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I use both PBS postage and DC.  I use it because I have to depend on male family members to mail things and they aren't going to go into the PO to do so.  So it's much better for me to use them.  I have had some problems with books going lost.  Just had one, in fact.  I thought it might have something to do with the weather in the North East - but the requestor says "No".  Since I used the DC and PBS postage - I got my credit - but since I've had several go lost I'm thinking it's my really bad PO at fault here.  Sometimes I think they can't do anything right.  They are frustrating for many reasons.  I always feel badly when a book goes lost.