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Topic: Packaging question

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Subject: Packaging question
Date Posted: 6/14/2009 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2009
Posts: 41
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Can you tell me if the majority of senders just wrap the book they are sending in optional plastic  then cover it in printer paper as suggested in the instructions?

I'm using bubble wrapping and packaging envelopes to protect the book, but the instuctions on wrapping makes me wonder if I'm overkilling the packaging.  Are the books really safe in just plastic and printer paper?  

Date Posted: 6/14/2009 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I hardly ever use plastic wrap and I haven't had single book arrive wet in over 400 books sent.  I bought a giant pack of manilla envelopes from Staples.  I got the large sized ones that are good for tradesize and smaller hardcovers.  I dont' leave them to float around in the envelope.  I put the book in sideways if it'll fit and then fold the envelope around it and tape the sides and corners well.  I also carefully open any books that come to me in bubble mailers so that I can reuse them.  If I'm just mailing a small paperback then I use the PBS wrapper if I don't have a mini-bubble mailer handy.  I order a lot of books from Amazon and I save those thin little boxes from them for audio books, bulk orders and thicker hardcovers.

Date Posted: 6/14/2009 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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I do wrap in plastic (usually the bags my newspaper comes in or airpacks from mail) and if it's a mass market paperback I use the 2 sheet wrapper. If it's a larger book, I use a recycled mailer or thicker paper I can cut here at home.

Date Posted: 6/14/2009 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I follow the intructions if the book is small enough to wrap in the printer paper.  Plastic wrap (i usually fold over twice) and wrap in printer paper.  there are two sheets so i actually wrap individually - so if one is torn the other is in place.  If it is a tight fit then I will opt for bubble wrap or protective envelope.    I still wrap in plastic - if the envelope is accidently torn the book is still protected.  At least I am giving the best effort to make sure the book arrives how it was before sending.  I am new to the site so I haven't sent that many books, but of the one's I have sent the hardcovers I have book boxes I use or bubblewrapped envelopes..still wrap in plastic wrap in case the envelope tears.  Out of the 11 paperback books I sent 9 were sent per PBS instructions all arrived safely and w/o issue.  

the key is to make sure that the ends and the seam are sealed with packing tape.  Unfortunately the books I ordered are still on their way except for 1 and that was a reused padded envelope -no plastic wrap. 

Date Posted: 6/14/2009 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2008
Posts: 5,641
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I always wrap in plastic first for those people that have outside mailboxes and don't pick up their mail until they get home from work. If it's raining and their mailbox isn't  tight, that book will get soaked. Unless it's a bigger book, I always use both printer papers. I tape seams and corners with packing tape. I will admit that twice, so far, I got the books all wrapped up and the plastic wrap was still sitting on the table. Thankfully, they got there okay.

Date Posted: 6/14/2009 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,293
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For mass market paperbacks, I just wrap in saran wrap and then the printer paper. Only secret is to use sufficient amounts of packing tape. I've mailed over 300 books without any problems. I also re-use bubble mailers when people send them to me.

For hardcovers, or trade paperbacks, you usually need a heavier wrapper than just printer paper. So, for those I tend to use bubble wrappers, manila envelopes, or brown paper bags.

The secret to mailing all packages is to make sure the wrapper is tight around the contents. If the wrapper is loose, then the book moves around inside as it is tossed around by the post office, and it will quite often rip the package open from the inside out.

The other secret is use packing tape. And, tape over all seams, and the corners of the package. It doesn't hurt to tape over the address, so that if it gets wet, it won't smear. And, I always put some tape all around the packages both lengthwise and widthwise (and depth, if its a large package). That way, even id the wrapper rips a little, it can't come all the way off the book.

The dollar store is a good place to pick up package tape ... its much cheaper than any other place to get tape that I've found.

I've also received close to 200 books, the only packages that arrived damaged were the ones where the package was loose around the book. I've also received one empty wrapper .... the person doing the mailing had used scotch tape only. She lost 3 books because it was a multi-book order. So, don't use scotch tape, use package tape.

Last Edited on: 6/14/09 3:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: plastic wrap
Date Posted: 6/14/2009 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,448
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I use plastic wrap each time-either the plastice bag the newspaper came in or I also bring the plastice bags gome from work that have paper plates in them.  I also will use anything plastice that comes as wrapping for something else.  I reuse the manilla envelopes when posible.  If the two sheets of paper isn't enough, i have a couple rolls of freezer paper...and I buy 4 rolls of packing tape at a time....

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 6/14/2009 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I used the two sheets of printer paper when I was new.  Then I bought some bubbvle wrappers because it easier for me.

As a receiver I can say the I have an RC (requestor condition) to please wrap in a protective wrapper of some type.  I'm one of those with a rural mailbox that I swear doesn't close properly only when it rains.  Naturally that's the day I receive a book or two and the wrapper gets soaked.  thanks to the protective wrap I haven't received a damaged book because of the elements.


Date Posted: 6/14/2009 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
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Poly bubble mailers are the way to go. So simple to use, light weight, protects the book, and can be reused multiple times so they are very economical. Wish everyone would use them!! I buy mine in bulk from an Ebay seller.


Date Posted: 6/14/2009 6:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2008
Posts: 42
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I wrap in plastic and a couple sheets of computer paper.  Cheap to do, and never a problem.

For the plastic, if it is a paperback, those will usually fit in a sandwich bag - you can get a box of non-zip sandwich bags very inexpensively, just cut the side of the fold-over flap so it's not folded over anymore, slip the book in, and tape shut.  Even better, if you work someplace that receives shipments, ask for the air pillows that often come in boxes.  Just cut one side open to release the air, and they are a perfect fit for a paperback.

As noted above, the key is to pull the paper wrapping tight around the book, and tape well.  For me, that means taping the seam and around all the edges, including the corners.  You can easily arrange for a seam to fall right along an edge so it will be covered by the edge tape.

Have never had a prob with this, and on the up side, books wrapped this way fit more easily in small mailboxes.

Date Posted: 6/14/2009 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I've found manila mailers to be one of the weakest forms of wrapping a book for mailing since most people do not make them snug to the dcontours of the books.  It becomes brittle and tears at corners.  They need plastic (Sorry, Mary!!) before going into the mailer.  With hurricane season and summer thunderstorms, using plastic is safety for the books.  Texas just had flooding issues.  So it's not limited to the EAST coast.  I haave received mroe than my fair share of wet books.  A couple were dripping wet.   It may just be my carrier, but there is little one can do about a mail carrier and his/her job performance.

I re-use any mailing material I possibly can (excluding manila mailers).   I always wrap in plastic - but never in Saran Wrap.  I am just inept when it comes to dealing with it.  I use free source plastic and my favorite plastic is the air pillows used as packing in mail order items.  Some of them fit the average paperback perfectly when opened at one end.  I save other forms of plastic like dry cleaner bags - for HC.  I do wrap in plastic even when sending a book in a bubble mailer.  Doing that makes it easier to get into a bubble mailer without hurting the dust jacket, covers or pages of the book.  I invested in a shipment of poly mailers which are easy to tape snugly to the form of the books.



Date Posted: 6/14/2009 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Once again, I'm in complete agreement with Sara P. . . my secret twin maybe?

As a new member I didn't mail with plastic - until I received several books that were (or had been) totally wet and would have been ruined without protection.  Now all my books go in plastic or a water resistant mailer.   IMO it's an easy courtesy to other members, they are using a valuable credit to order my book and I'm spending about $2.40 to send the book...another .02 is cheap insurance.

In addition to my agreement with Sara, I find plastic and 2 sheets paper (and packing tape) to be adequate for mailing one or two mmpb.  If the two sheets reach over the books, it's good - after that I move to sturdier brown paper bags, small boxes, recycled mailers, or other options.  I recycle and reuse whenever possible. Tradesize I usually send in mailers.  If using manilla or other oversize envelopes, I use plastic underwrap and fold down to fit snug around the contents.  I don't overkill the plastic, it doesn't need to withstand total submursion just accidental rain exposure.  Received one book comopletely wet and dripping, but one layer of saran swap protected the contents perfectly.  Newspaper sleeves, grocery bags, etc. all make economical choices.

The books I have received with problems have included scotch tape, water damage, one sheet of printer paper with no plastic underwrap, and oversized manilla envelopes (easily torn by USPS).

Date Posted: 6/14/2009 8:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Poly bubble mailers are now my "wrapping of choice".  I apply a single strip of tape to cover the gaps on the flap and it's 100% waterproof.  You could use it as a fishing bobber and the book would be fine.

Like Christina I buy mine in bulk.  I just got two cases of #0 mailers (250 per case) for about $30 including the shipping.  I also bought a supply of #2 and #4's for larger books.  In quantities of 50 each I think they cost me about $15 total.

Date Posted: 6/14/2009 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I only wrap in plastic if the it's requested.

Date Posted: 6/15/2009 12:37 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Scotch tape dries me batty.  Use it on a book to me and you will automatically get a comment, even if it arrives safely.

I was using brown paper bags.  But they seem to not hold up well.  Now I'm using up some old maps.  I save plastic bags and envelopes that are clean and food free to use as wrapping.

The books that seem to have the most problems have been loose in an envelope.  The mail machines really like eating those loose envelopes.

I have an ink jet printer.  I always put tape over the address.  If it gets wet, it disappears.

Date Posted: 6/15/2009 12:46 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I agree with Emily on things.  And I got a book from her.  The maps make it very interesting and cheerful to get a book wrapped like that!  I guess maps are a little tougher than other things! 

I also put tape over the address.  it may help in a pinch.  If the package gets torn open, the 2nd part of the label is put beneath the plastic (clear) that I use and will help if it's needed.

And I hate people using "present" tape.  I even got a book yesterday wrapped in a single sheet of printer paper (no plastic) and taped together with an inch long piece of tape on the back and the 2 ends.  It was packing tape, but not much!  Fortunately for me, the swapper gods were looking out for it. ;D


Date Posted: 6/15/2009 8:09 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
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Yes, on putting tape over the address!

But, do not put tape ove the DC barcode. That prevents scanning the barcode sometimes. Some scanners pick it up and some don't - best not to tape over it. I've received a package with "could not scan" written on it, but it was scanned at some points along the way.

Last Edited on: 6/15/09 8:11 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/15/2009 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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I've wrapped in the just about everything at any given time. And I've always wrap in plastic - usually siran wrap or if it's many books then a plastic grocery bag. As for the outer wrap, I've pretty much settled on manila envelopes but I reinforce them with tape along the seams so they don't break apart.  

Date Posted: 6/15/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2009
Posts: 227
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I always wrap in plastic. 

I have always had great mail carriers.  They do their best to put those single wrapped paperbacks in my mailbox alongside the daily Omaha Steaks flyer.   If there isn't room my PBS cargo gets placed under cover and as close to my door as possible.   Even so when its really raining, mail gets wet - its being transported by a person who is out in the elements - wet bag, wet coat, wet hair, wet nose.  

I receive many books in packaging with puncture holes, ripped corners,  books exposed, etc.  I don't think we as senders always know whether our stuff arrives in perfectly wrapped bundles that we can be proud of.   If the books are in good shape despite the dings of travel, I don't say a word.  Luckily I have also been blessed and these books have been received on sunny days. The only time I pointed anything out was when scotch tape was used. There is something in the guidelines about that to justify my note.  Even so, the response I got was "I'll just use more".  Geez.

Disclaimer: The mummified books are probably the only exception.   The truly gifted in this art know how to protect those books.



Date Posted: 6/15/2009 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I've started giving positive feedback about wrapping with my thank you. 

Date Posted: 6/15/2009 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I also put feedback to PBS about great wrapping.  I think that good things need to be reported as well as negative things.


Date Posted: 6/16/2009 3:44 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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I always use plastic protection for the books I mail.  Some of the reports I receive come in large plastic envelopes, which are perfect.    My very favorite outer wrapping is from large envelopes that I cut and turn inside out.  Their privacy pattern makes a  really attractive black and white cover.  I print the label all squished onto one piece of printer paper (Option #3, I think)  It saves printer paper, and I just cut out the address part and thoroughly tape it on top of the pretty pattern and all around the seams.   The "reminder to the receiver"  part is slipped inside the front cover (before it's all taped up, of course!)   And sometimes I use stickers to brighten it a little, just for fun.       :)    D.

Anissa (WVgrrl) - ,
Date Posted: 6/16/2009 8:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
Posts: 432
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Another vote for please use plastic. I received two books where the paper had ripped open and the books got completely ruined. (Poor packaging in general. Two pieces of printer paper and a little bit of tape are not adequate for wrapping a trade-size and a MMP together.) One was a wishlist book, so I was really disappointed. I bought a box of 100 gallon-size plastic bags for about $3. It is worth the extra 3 cents to me to make sure the book is dry when it gets to the destination.

Regarding scanning the barcodes, I always cover the entire label with tape and haven't had any problems. (I obsessively check the details button to see where my books are.) I know the scanners are picky, though. I print labels on one printer at work without problems. (Shh. Don't tell on me!) My friend used a different printer and the clerk at the PO couldn't get the scanner to register them. Weird.