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Topic: Plain White Computer Paper for Wrapping

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Subject: Plain White Computer Paper for Wrapping
Date Posted: 5/12/2012 12:59 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2011
Posts: 551
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Why is it acceptable to send a book wrapped in just the plain white printer paper the address is printed on? Once again today I received a damaged book wrapped this way. Every book I've received wrapped this way has had the wrapper torn and the book damaged. Unless the sender covers the entire wrapper in packing tape it's going to get damaged. 

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 1:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
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The plain paper wrapper is meant for mmpb size books and works great for these as it serves as a double layer of paper to protect it when you send it out. That is, if it's wrapped smoothly and securely. For anything else I agree it's not going to be sufficient and using an envelope of some sort or more/ thicker paper would be a good idea.
Date Posted: 5/12/2012 1:06 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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I know some others agree with you but I've received hundreds of books that were wrapped using the paper wrapper, and in my experience, if the seams and edges are taped with packing tape, they hold up fine - much better than books that flop around in a too large envelope. 

Edited to add  that I agree with Linda on books larger than MMPs. They don't work nearly as well with the paper wrapper. 

Last Edited on: 5/12/12 1:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/12/2012 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I'm also going to agree.  For mmpb, the standard two sheets are adequate for mailing.  I've both sent and received hundreds without damage.  If you are having chronic damage to your books the problem is probably local or regional.  File complaints with USPS, they will look into the situation.

Larger than mmpb, yes those often need additional protection.

Last Edited on: 5/12/12 1:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2012 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
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I've received and sent tons of paperback books wrapped in just the paper wrapper without a problem.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,606
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I have received books as well with the paper torn at the corners and I have let the sender know in the comment section if the package was torn. Many people forget to tape the corners well. I got one yesterday taped with masking tape on the seams ,but not the corners and it was torn.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2010
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I always used to use padded mailers to ship out books, but I've had more of them arrived tattered with the book even peeking out in places than when people just use the plain pbs mailer.  I have gathered that it's not necessarily the packaging, but where and how much tape is used.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
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If you don't want to receive books wrapped in the standard PBS wrapper, set up an RC saying you don't want your books wrapped that way and require the sender to use something else to wrap in.

I've never received a book damaged by being shipping in the PBS wrapper.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I think printer paper is better than some packing supplies. It's smooth, so it doesn't tend to get caught, torn, or mangled in machinery as often as puffy mailers. I've received hundreds of books wrapped in white paper, some with lots of tape and some not, and not one of them arrived damaged because of the wrapper.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2011
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This was a 1,000 page book.  It was too large for this type of paper to be used and the edges were not taped.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 5:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
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This was a 1,000 page book.

In that case, two printer sheets are not acceptable. And as said up above, tape is the key.

Wrapping Larger/Hardcover/Multiple Books

Wrapping Larger/Multiple Book Shipments

The 2-page PBS wrapper works well for single paperbacks, or even two small books packaged together, but if you have a larger or heavy book, or a multiple-book shipment to send, the 2-page PBS Wrapper alone will not provide sturdy enough packaging on its own to protect your book(s) en route.  You will need to use alternate packaging methods.  You can use the 1-page PBS Label (the choice on the far right on the Wrapper Settings page) as an address label.

Suggestions for alternate packaging materials:

  • Heavy brown paper (from a cut-down grocery sack)
  • Manila envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
  • Bubble or padded mailer
  • Tyvek or similar large envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
    • taping tightly around the book(s) also prevents the contents from sliding around inside
  • Box
    • prevent your books from sliding around inside with crumpled paper (NOT newspaper--the ink can mark the books!) or (clean) plastic shopping bags, balled up.
    • we recommend putting tape around the entire box in both directions - this will help keep the box together as it travels to its destination.  Strapping tape (the one with fibers in it) is great, but packing tape applied tightly around the box will also help with this.
  • Poor choices for alternate packaging materials:
    • Giftwrapping paper (too thin)
    • Newspaper (can smudge ink onto the books)
    • Priority mail envelope (this is illegal to use for MediaMail, even if you are reusing it, and even if you turn it inside out!)
      • if you do this, and the package is inspected, it will arrive postage-due at the requestor's, or be returned postage-due to you (the additional postage required will be the difference between postage paid and Priority Mail rate)


The aim is to have a sturdy package that will not permit the books to slide around inside, and which will not have loose flaps to get caught in postal machinery. It can take some experimentation to find the best method for you.

Last Edited on: 5/12/12 5:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2012 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Just wanted to add to the OP - when this happens, make sure you mark the book damaged by the USPS, and maybe gently explain how and where the packaging didn't hold up. It will let the sender know and they may be inclined to reexamine their packing methods. PBS will have it on record as well. You don't necessarily have to ask for your credit back, unless you're sure poor packaging caused the book to be damaged.

Date Posted: 5/13/2012 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
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I send paperbacks (MM and trade) in manila envelopes, but I put them in sideways and then fold the envelope over so that the book cannot shift around.  Then I tape the flap and both sides, so it ends up looking a bit like a burrito.  No problems so far.

Date Posted: 5/13/2012 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The added information is helpful Elizabeth, and I'll agree that thicker books do not travel well without additional protection and/or support.  Something about them (especially paperbacks) tend to shift under the stress of Media Mail (or any shipping) and often damages the spine.  When shipping those out, I would use a box...or at least wrap the book in plastic then take severl 'turns around the book with packing tape before applying the outer wrapper.  This firms it up (like a brick) and provides more support to the spine during shipping.

Date Posted: 5/13/2012 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
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If the book was damaged in transit due to poor wrapping, you could mark it RWAP by sender.

Date Posted: 5/14/2012 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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I've received lots and lots (hundreds!) of mass market paperbacks wrapped in plain white paper with tape on the joining spots that got to me just fine with no problems at all. The problem comes with people trying to use that wrapper for trade size paperbacks or larger books and don't add extra paper and tape.

In fact, I've had more problems receiving books damaged in transit with the bubble mailers people use if they use a size too big for the book...the corners tend to get snagged in the equipment and get ripped open.


Date Posted: 5/14/2012 11:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,370
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+1. jennifer However, I no longer wrap using the computer paper. i choose the single page printout (saves ink as well as paper) and use brown packaging paper or a manilla envelope folded to the sizeof the book so it doesn't slide around. i also place in plastic before wrapping the book.
Subject: double or triple layers of paper will work, if well taped
Date Posted: 5/17/2012 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/5/2008
Posts: 46
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a single piece of paper won't get the job done.  Only the small paperbacks can be mailed this way anyhow, and even they still need double or triple layers with the corners well taped.



Date Posted: 5/27/2012 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2005
Posts: 2,320
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I use the 2 page pbs mailer option for single mmpbs and good tape.  Usually with a 1 gallon non ziplock food storage bag with the book taped inside that. 

That isn't good enough for a 1,000 page book.  Like mentioned above, even when using a mailer, bubble or not, the book still needs to be secure from sliding around inside the envelope.  I received one hardback in a manila envelope that was only held closed by the metal prongs, no glue licked and no tape.  Two corners of the envelope had tears and the book was exposed.  Thankfully it was a sunny day or it would have been soaked like a sponge in my mailbox.

Subject: wrapping books
Date Posted: 5/27/2012 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2006
Posts: 50
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I send books like Evelyn does.  I bought a box of 150 manila envelopes and that will last a long time.  I have sent very small books with the white paper & lots of clear packing tape with no problems.  But ---  I am like many of the pbs members and recycle envelopes that come to me.  Sometimes I wonder how many miles those envelopes have traveled.

Date Posted: 5/27/2012 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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It depends entirely on how it's wrapped. I plain printer paper, but always at least two sheets, making sure every inch of the book has been covered over and every paper edge taped down. Plus I wrap the book in a plastic grocery bag to protect it during transit and make it easier to tape the wrapping down. I haven't had any complaints about the arrival of my books.

Subject: 2 sheets of paper
Date Posted: 5/27/2012 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,448
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It is fine for paperback book, but anything bigger I use either a maanilla envelope or shelf paper or a cut up paper bag.

Date Posted: 5/28/2012 2:04 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2011
Posts: 3,097
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I use it but I always wrap it like crazy in wrappiing tape and plastic bags for one book or for multiple books when i wrap it I include carbboard box materials.

Date Posted: 5/28/2012 2:18 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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I have recieved more manilla envelopes and tyek type envelopes torn by postal machine than I have printer paper.  WHY?  because people neglect to tape the envelopes TIGHT against the book.  When a book slides around in it's packing (no matter the type) the packing almost always either gets caught in a machine or the book breaks open the end. Normally when mailing in printer paper, the sender makes sure it's well taped and tight against the book.   At least that's been my experience with several hundred books received.