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Topic: Please wrap your book before you mail.

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Subject: Please wrap your book before you mail.
Date Posted: 5/1/2012 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 5,649
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To all newbies.......Please, Please wrap the book before you mail it!

I received a 3" big hardcover book today with ONLY the paper label over the top of the dustcover. The sender didn't think the sides or the back of the dustcover needed any cover at all. The clear packing tape wraps entirely around the book and the label. It was clearly not repackaged by the P.O. So the back of the book is a mess. The paper edges are very dirty. Oh, and did I forget -  it's raining today. It's too bad. It would have been a nice book.

I love this site, but is there some way we could get people to stop using a piece of typing paper to mail. Even many of the small paperbacks I've received have arrived torn open when you only use the paper.

(Ok I'm done venting. I just need to get that out.)

The second package I received today was wrapped in a box. Then the box was wrapped with pretty wrapping paper. The label was carefully cut out and affixed to the top of the wrapping paper. Then 100% of the box was covered in clear tape. Oh, and did I forget - Lots of pretty little stickers on the top. Geat Job - Over the Top. Thanks Denise!

 

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,774
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I love this site, but is there some way we could get people to stop using a piece of typing paper to mail. Even many of the small paperbacks I've received have arrived torn open when you only use the paper.

If the book you received was damaged and is now unpostable, you should mark it RWAP - Damaged by USPS, and request your credit back from the sender for inadequate wrapping.

Regarding the paper wrapper though ... I've mailed out more than 1000 books, probably 800 or so in the paper wrapper, and I've only had 1 marked damaged by the PO in all that time.

And, probably about half the books I receive are in the paper wrapper ... .and I've never received one damaged.

The absolute worst is bubble mailers ... the yellow ones are always punctured. Brown paper bubble wrappers, for some reason, have non-sticky flaps that don't seem to seal properly. So, not only do those arrive punctured, but sometimes with the flap open as well. (I will admit, most of the time, the book in the punctured packages have not been damaged. However .... that's not due to the quality of bubble mailers. They are almost always punctured, and if I reuse them, I have to tape over the holes in them from the previous mailing. (I cut bubble wrappers open and wrap them around books as if they are apper wrappers. In other words, I don't use them as envelopes. Usually).)

And, the only completely empty wrappers I have received were former brown paper grocery bags. The king of worst packing materials.

Anyway, the key to proper wrapping is using enough tape. Yes tape is expensive. I buy mine at the dollar store ... and although I don't mumify packages, I use enough tape to guarantee that they can't come off the book. I wrap completely around the length and width of the package several times, as well as cover all the seams.

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,333
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Oh Carol -- that's so sad!  How could anyone do anything like that to a book? 

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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Sara, have you mailed hard cover books with just paper wrapper?  It has been my experience that paper wrappers (two sheets, as the site recommends) are fine for paperback books, but not sufficient for hardcover.  (The OP received a 3" hardcover not even wrapped fully.  Sad!)

(edited to fix typos and tiny type)



Last Edited on: 5/1/12 1:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/1/2012 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 8,022
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The sender didn't think the sides or the back of the dustcover needed any cover at all.

I'd mark that RWAP sender, not RWAP post office.  The sender didn't wrap it in the correct manner.



Last Edited on: 5/1/12 2:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/1/2012 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I agree with Jennifer, if the sender taped the label directly to the book and mailed without any cover/protection for the rest of the book...I'd mark it damaged by sender also.  IIRC PBS wrapping guidelines specifically state not to tape wrapper to the book.

I've send and received hundreds of mmpb in the standard PBS 2 sheet wrapper.  ALL have arrived safe and undamaged.  Yes, larger books require different packaging to travel safely, and personally, I wish PBS would require more for those books.  One sheet of printer paper just isn't adequate to protect a moderate to larger size hardcover...they tend to arrive with bent corners and tweeked spines.

Not to appear snarky Carol, but if you are having books repeatedly damaged by USPS I suspect your problem may be local (or regional).  You may wish to consider filing complaints.  I live in coastal Washington State, and I frequently receive books from the opposite coast...a long trip with ample opportunity for the Sampsonite Gorilla/Media Mail system to do it's worst.  Shipping damage is actually very rare for me, even inadequately packaged books usually arrive without significant problems.



Last Edited on: 5/1/12 2:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/1/2012 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,256
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Jennifer - you beat me to it.  If the sender didn't wrap the book in ANY kind of paper, but just stuck the mailing label to the dust jacket, then in my mind this was RWAP by sender and not USPS.  I think USPS gets blamed for quite a few RWAPs that are not USPS related.  The first thing some people say when you RWAP a book is, "it was fine when I sent it, must have been damaged by USPS."  In most cases, this is not true.  The book was that way before it ever saw the inside of an envelope, but it's easier to blame USPS.  Pat

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,774
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Sara, have you mailed hard cover books with just paper wrapper?  It has been my experience that paper wrappers (two sheets, as the site recommends) are fine for paperback books, but not sufficient for hardcover.

For hardcovers, I do different stuff. Sometimes I reuse bubble mailers, but I cut them open and wrap like they are flat paper. Other times, I cut open a manila envelope and wrap in the same way. A manila paper wrapper is very protective too. I agree, the white paper wrapper is usually not sufficient for hardcovers. But I don't feel that hardcovers necessarily require boxes and bubble wrap, either. (Sure, I reuse them if I have them, but I am not going to wait until I have one to mail a package out).

Although, most people, even PBS newbies, have the sense to know that if they are sending a package, it must be fully wrapped. In something. Getting a book half covered with a sheet of paper is very unusual. I mean, she must have received this from someone who has absolutely no experience mailing or receiving any type of package whatsoever. That's unusual. Even when I was a kid mailing an envelope of pictures to my grandma, or a little box of cookies to my friend at camp, I knew that they had to be reinforced or wrapped up securely.

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 2,159
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If your postal carrier regularly leaves your packages where they can get wet if it rains, then you may wish to include an RC requesting that the sender wrap your book in plastic to help safeguard it from the PO.   Water damage from rain during delivery is a Damage by PO.

As with the paper wrapper, envelopes and other wrapping medium aren't the problem, it's improperly securing the package that is the problem. 

The PBs I've received that were torn open?  Torn open because the sender used scotch tape on the edge or just enough packing tape to tack a portion of the edge down.  Then the sorting machinery had playtime with the packaging, stripping open the corners and edges.  I have received many books where I have wondered how the book managed to stay inside of the wrapper.

A PB makes a nice uniform block.  A HB, OTOH, has ridges where it is easy for the machinery to exploit "soft spots" in the packaging, as well as how the corners of the book will poke through from the inside. Bubble mailers are perfectly fine to use as long as they are secured around the contours of the book, resulting in a slightly padded brick.  The securing also tends to reinforce over the book corners.

I'm super paranoid when it comes to a package's "natural adhesive".  Anything that comes with an adhesive strip is not to be trusted and is always reinforced with packing tape.  I only wish my husband had that sort of paranoia - when I was spending time at my parents he mailed me some items in a priority box and the adhesive failed.  Everything was lost.

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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Paperbacks are usually fine in the mailer, but not hardbacks.  I can't stand it either when a nice hardback is ruined due to inadequate wrapping.  I've had a couple of my own.  Personally, I mail hardcovers in either boxes or wrapped well in a bubble mailer.  Those corners need the extra protection, IMO.

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Carol, did you take photos? I'm only curious to see what it looked like when it got to you, before you attempted to remove the tape. How can anyone think it's ok to just tape a piece of paper to the top of a book and send it on its way?

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 5:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2008
Posts: 16,558
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Maybe they thought because it had a dust jacket (which aren't required) it was okay? Who knows with people sometimes.
Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 5/1/2012 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I have not had any problems using the plain paper/wrapper labels as wrappers, even when sending hardcovers.  However, I use inner tape-reinforced plastic layer, and then make sure I use enough printer paper to cover the book entirely (using extra sheets if needed) and then I packing tape reinforce all edges and seams.

Date Posted: 5/1/2012 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,333
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Denise said: I wish PBS would require more for those books.  One sheet of printer paper just isn't adequate to protect a moderate to larger size hardcover

The site would consider one sheet of printer paper inadequate, even for a paperback.  Two sheets is fine, with good use of packaging tape.  But two-sheets of printer paper alone are not considered adequate here for a hardcover.

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: 5/1/12 8:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/1/2012 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,757
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That is an RWAP due to sender, IMO.  I would PM them and let them know in a nice way and ask for my credit back.

Date Posted: 5/2/2012 7:09 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,196
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Carol, I got the same kind of wrapped box as the second one you mention.  Yes, Denise knows how to wrap a book.  Your post brought back memories.  I used to frequently get books, large ones, nice ones, wrapped just as you described that first one.  But now I realize it has been years since that happened.  It is a shame to see a nice book ruined like that, and don't you just wonder what someone is thinking when they wrap like that!!!

 

Date Posted: 5/2/2012 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 1,256
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Just to throw my 2 cents in . . . :)

In my experience, HCs don't make the trip well when only wrapped in the 2 sheets of  printing paper - it's ok for PBs, though. 

I save all and any food boxes (as long as the food inside didn't touch the box - example: Cheez-it (crackers are inside a cellophane bag, inside the box).

The box is so light it won't add to the shipping weight, it protects the corners of the HC (the ones shipped in paper/bubble wrap envelopes often have crunched corners when they arrive at my house) and it really helps when the order is a multiple and the book sizes don't match.

The boxes are easy to save - just fold flat.  You've already paid for them when you bought the food, so no extra cost - and you're recycling. :)



Last Edited on: 5/2/12 2:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/2/2012 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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Just to comment on Sianeka's post--

Paper, even when protected with taped plastic on the inside, is not going to cushion the corners of a HC if it's dropped.  I know you may say make a RC if you want it wrapped with more protection, but I don't think an RC for adequate wrapping that would not end up in damage to the book if it were dropped should be necessary.  I firmly believe that you should wrap it the way you'd want it to come to you, and I would always want the corners protected/cushioned on a HC.  I know we all have our ways of doing things, but I appreciate it greatly when care has been taken with the packaging of a HC.

Subject: Plastic wrap
Date Posted: 5/2/2012 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2009
Posts: 277
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In my experiences recently, I would have to say 85% of the books I receive do Not have plastic wrap on the inside. It is rainy season across the country now. Last year I received a book that looked like it took a side trip in my pool! 

Date Posted: 5/2/2012 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,757
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My RC asks for plastic wrap around the book as the PNW is very, very rainy.  I get it about <75% of the time.

Date Posted: 5/2/2012 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 8,022
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In my experiences recently, I would have to say 85% of the books I receive do Not have plastic wrap on the inside. It is rainy season across the country now. Last year I received a book that looked like it took a side trip in my pool! 

If you have problems receiving wet books, then add an RC for it.  I've received several of them and I always oblige.  I bought large ziplocks specifically for that purpose.

Date Posted: 5/5/2012 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2009
Posts: 3
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This just happened to me today!  I received a hardcover that was in a flimsy brown envelope.  The top and bottom were taped, but not the sides, and they were shredded.  The corners and the ends of the books were all bent as was the binding top and bottom.  The dustcover had small rips in it.  I marked it RWAP postal service with no return credit requested, and before I knew it, I had a series of nasty pm's from the mailer about "reporting her"  Wow...I wasn't expecting that!  This book is now in a condition where I probably won't relist it, and she is snarling at me??  Yikes!
 

Date Posted: 5/5/2012 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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Sometimes I think the ones who snarl the loudest are the ones who know they cut corners, posted iffy books, etc., and are insulted they got caught.

Common sense does not live within everyone, unfortunately. I once received a MMPB in an over-large manila envelope, no tape across the flap or the clasp. The envelope got chewed up so badly within the USPS system, but miraculously the book survived; if it ever fell out of the envelope someone at the post office put it back in. In good faith I could not RWAP in any way but I posted my feelings about the wrapping in that comments box we fill in. Luckily no snarly PM, hope it helped the sender in the long run.

Date Posted: 5/6/2012 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,774
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 This book is now in a condition where I probably won't relist it,

Just so you know ... if the book is unpostable for sure, then you were correct to mark it RWAP by Post Office.

However, if the book was damaged but is still postable ... that is not a RWAP.

Damage to the dustjacket is not RWAP (unless you have a dustjacket RC) ... so that doesn't count. And it sounds like the other damage is bent corners? Which, is still postable as well.

It has happened frequently to me that I receive books where the packages were punctured, etc, and rips or dirt smudges have happened to them, but ultimately the books were still postable, albeit, not in quite as nice condition as they were in before. If it is still postable, it is not RWAP.

Date Posted: 5/6/2012 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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I always wrap my books in plastic before I put them in the envelope.  For thicker hardback books I will package the book in a box.  I try to prepare for any scenario that could possibly happen.

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