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Topic: Are padded envelopes enough?

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Subject: Are padded envelopes enough?
Date Posted: 4/11/2011 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2010
Posts: 6
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I am a fairly new member, and send all my books in padded envelopes.  No one has complained yet, but I wonder if that is enough protection, if it rains.  Can anyone tell me of their experience? 

Date Posted: 4/11/2011 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2010
Posts: 8,495
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I also wrap books in cling film first before I put them in any wrappings including padded envelopes.  I have received padded envelopes ripped, with holes in them, and soaked through because of rain.  Better to be cautious!! smiley

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 12:30 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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I live in a rainy climate and assume other members may also.  So I've learned to always use plastic underwrap even inside bubble envelopes . . . JIC.  Besides the liquid damage issue, I figure plastic adds another layer of protection in case the Sampsonite Gorilla is working a shift at the USPS sorting center the day my package is processed.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 1:11 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 1,996
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9 times out of 10, a padded envelope will be enough.  I always wrap my books in plastic before I send them out, just in case, even when sending them out in a padded envelope.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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Make sure the padded envelope fits snugly around the book.  I find they get holes if they is a lot of excess material.   I normally just run the tape all the way around tight in both directions, so the book can't move at all.   Never hurts to add some plastic.  I use grocery store plastic bags or any type of plastic I have on hand.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 2:09 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,725
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books, especially hardcovers, can move around on the inside of a padded envelope and can tear holes in it from the inside out.

I get books in padded envelopes that have holes and tears in them, frequently. Luckily I live in southern CA, so rain is not an issue (usually).

The most important part of packing your book is to tape the wrapping around it tightly, instead of letting a book move around inside a larger wrapper. and that will cut down on most of the potential damage, right there.

I just use plastic wrap on the books before I package them, too. One box of 200 sq ft. will wrap about 160 books. Don't use Press-N-Seal, though (it can leave a sticky residue on the books).

 

 

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 3:01 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,400
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I agree on the need for it to be tight.  The sorting machines will grab and rip loose corners.  Both loose envelopes and loose padded envelopes.  Fold the edges over and tape down.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 6:47 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2010
Posts: 6
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Thank everyone for the packing tips.  I have never been comfortable with using the paper wrappers that I print out.  But I have sent books in padded envelopes that were too big.   The correct size of padded envelope is not always available for some books.

I will start using your suggestions, wrapping in additional plastic and taping the envelopes to restrict movement of the contents.

I received a book yesterday that used only the printed label for wrapping.  It was torn on both ends and the book showed through.  Luckily it wasn't raining here.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 7:35 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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To be honest, the 2-page PBS wrapper when well-taped has provided a much better packing experience for me (on the receiving end) than any other type of wrap. (And I sent several hundred books wrapped that way with nary a complaint, except for a couple who said I used too MUCH tape!)

Bubble mailers, manila envelopes, etc. unless they are taped snugly to the form of the book, do (as others have said) get their corners and loose bits caught in the USPS machinery or rip and tear for other reasons. Even wrapping it in plastic before packaging in one of those mailers won't get the book there safely if the wrapper gets a rip big enough for the book to fall out completely. (I've gotten a few of those empty envelopes, too.)

Cheryl

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2010
Posts: 6
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So, you wrap the book in plastic and then in the PBS wrappers and tape the whole thing?  So tape covers all the paper?

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 9:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,725
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I also think the paper wrapper is really the best way to wrap mass market size paperbacks. I have only received a very small handful of those with any rips or tears .... vs. bubble envelopes which pretty much always have punctures, if not larger rips.

I wrap in plastic wrap, then I print the wrapper and wrap the book like a present, using scotch tape to just temporarily fasten the wrapper. Then I do the packing tape in 5 strips which wrap entirely around the book, 2 across the long side (1 at top and 1 at bottom) and then 3 around the shorter side (top, bottom, and center). This covers all the seams on the package, and covers the address so it doesn't run if it gets wet, while still leaving small spots which are not covered with tape so that the package can be opened. The most important thing is to make sure that all the seams of the package are covered. I prefer to wrap the tape entirely around the book, so it not only covers the seams but reinforces the paper.

I've mailed more than 900 books, probably about 700 of them in the paper wrapper, and I have only had one report of damage out of those 700.

I purchase packing tape at the dollar store, so it doesn't bother me to use plenty on a package ....I estimate that all the wrapping for a paperback book (plastic wrap, paper, tape) comes out to about  7 cents per book.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2010
Posts: 6
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I am sending lots of trade paperbacks.  Do you have hints for these?

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,264
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I mail lots of trade paperbacks in legal sized paper -- of course, your printer must be able to print legal sized paper. A layer of plastic underneath is imperative when using this method (cut up plastic bags or any plastic that comes into the house) and then wrap in the 2 sheet legal sized wrapper. On all but a few trade paperbacks the paper will only fold about 1/4" over the ends (folded like giftwrapping) and then use packing tape completely over each end. The layer of plastic protects the book from the tape and the tape reinforces the plastic. I also wrap a strip of tape over the address going all the way around the book and then another strip of tape going all around the book in the other direction. So you have all seams covered in tape, and then a strip of tape going around the book in each direction for further reinforcement. Have never had any problems with people receiving damaged books and I have mailed over 3,000 books, mostly using the PBS wrapper in different sizes of paper.



Last Edited on: 4/14/11 10:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/12/2011 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 5,629
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I've wondered this too. I Always use a  bubble envelope when I have them, if not and I package in something else I always use plastic wrap but, sometimes when I use both ,it doesnt slide in very well with the plastic rubbing together.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I never use plastic wrap and I frequently just use the PBS wrapper. I have yet to have anyone comment about my packaging.  I don't mummify either.  I get the edges and corners well and use good mailing tape.  I also get many, many books this way and have yet to have one arrived wet.  And I've lived in high rain areas the whole time I've been on PBS.  Including the Seattle area-land of the sideways rain.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 537
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I tend to use the PBS wrappers for mm paperbacks - sometimes putting in a plastic bag (the kind you get veggies in) first depending on the weather. For larger paperbacks I often use recycled paper grocery bags as wrapping paper. For hardbacks I use padded envelopes, or bubble wrap and then the grocery bag. I agree with everyone that keeping things snug is key to avoiding rips and damage, however I wish people didn't use so much darn packing tape - sometimes the whole package is mummified and it's almost impossible to cut it open without damaging the book in the process.

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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I always wrap with a piece of cut up plastic grocery bag no matter what I use for the outside wrapper.

If I use a padded mailer I make sure its a tight fit and taped. 

I also find the two page PBS mailer works for some books if you have enough paper to tape the ends tight with packing tape.

-RD

Date Posted: 4/12/2011 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I almost always use bubble envelopes for the hardcovers and trade size paperbacks I send.  I always fold and tape the sides/corners down so that the books are snug inside and can't move around.



Last Edited on: 4/12/11 3:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/13/2011 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2009
Posts: 1,593
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I really like to recycle the packages that I receive.  Just reinforce them with more tape.  Some books I like to send in little boxes or the packaging material from amazon books.

I use lots of tape to cover all corners & the address label.  The dollar store is a great place to buy packaging tape.



Last Edited on: 4/13/11 2:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/13/2011 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Once you start receiving a steady stream of books you will have a ready supply of reuseable mailers.  I don't think I've purchased bubble mailers in 2 yrs. 

Date Posted: 4/13/2011 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2010
Posts: 8,495
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For trade size I cut up paper grocery bags and after wrapping the books in plastic  wrap them in the grocery bag paper like a present and then tape like mad!

Date Posted: 4/13/2011 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/1/2008
Posts: 3,439
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I actually almost exclusively use bubble mailers--but that is just because I'm a) too bad a wrapper to make the paper label fit correctly and easily around the books  b) I send a lot of TSPB and hardcovers  and c) I'm just too lazy to take the time to try to make all the corners fit and wrap the books in plastic first and then in the paper.

Out of the almost 900 books I've mailed, I've never had one arrive damaged because of the wrapper.  I also don't use a second layer of plastic and have not had any complaints of weather damaged books.   Usually I just run a strip of tape around the seal, tape over the label to prevent the ink from running and make the wrapper fits fairly snuggly around the book so there is not a lot of room for it to move around (like others have mentioned).  I also make sure to tape up any gaps, loose corners, etc. so they are less likely to snag in the sorters.

Date Posted: 4/13/2011 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,466
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I use poly mailers for mailing trade sized.  Very tough plastic and I just tape it snug around the book.  No padding at all.  When you buy in bulk, they're really cheap too.

If you do reuse bubble mailers, please throw them out when they're at the end of their lifespan!  I've lost count of the number of ratty looking beat up bubble mailers I've received with books hanging out of them.  They seriously should have been tossed 6 mailings ago.