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Topic: Problem with the way books are sent - that 1-page wrapping!

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Subject: Problem with the way books are sent - that 1-page wrapping!
Date Posted: 9/19/2013 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2010
Posts: 3
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Over and over again I have had a problem opening books heavily wrapped in tape and that 1 sheet of paper method suggested by PBS. To cut through the tape requires a knife or box cutter, which at times has unfortunately damaged the book.  Myself, I recycle envelopes people mail me books in over and over again, and have no problem at all with the books sent that way. If any of you know a safe way to slit them open let me know, 'cos I've tried every possible way, but folks go crazy with that clear heavy mailing tape these days - sometimes those pkgs are ALL tape!


Date Posted: 9/19/2013 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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A seam ripper, available at most places that have craft or sewing supplies, works wonders.

I admit to putting a lot of tape when I mail because I've had packages torn open by post office machinery and books shredded.  I do leave gaps for opening though. 

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I agree - it's completely annoying. I usually use an x-acto knife and just try to be careful.

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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Buy a pair of scissors with very small, very sharp blades--they're sold for craft purposes or for medical purposes.  Snip off just a tiny corner of the package--just enough that a small hole appears in the wrapping.  Insert the small point of the scissors and cut a larger hole until you can see that you are not cutting the cover of the book.  Then continue cutting with the small scissors or at this point switch to a larger scissors.  I get many well-taped books and have never damaged a book by opening it this way, once you make an opening you can see where the cover is and that the blade of the scissors is only cutting the wrapping.  I'd rather have a well-taped book instead of the books I've gotten damaged because of not enough tape.


Date Posted: 9/19/2013 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,342
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...heavily wrapped in tape and that 1 sheet of paper method suggested by PBS

A bit off-topic, but in case a new member reads this, I just wanted to add that PBS says never to wrap a book in only one sheet of paper.  Two sheets for small books.  Alternative methods for larger/multiple books. 

How to wrap a book


Date Posted: 9/19/2013 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,481
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Seam ripper.

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2012
Posts: 66
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i am very guilty of the overusage of tape. my theory is that its safe from getting damaged during the shipping and theres no way of the package busting open since you know they fling those packages around. 

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,991
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I do the same thng as above. My scissors are sharp and pointy, and when I get a hard to open package I just snip off a tiny corner so that I can get the point of the scissors into the packaging. It's never damaged a book yet.

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,833
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I do use those small pointy scissors but still have damaged several books that are mummified with tape. I hate it when I get books wrapped that way.  When I first joined I used just the 2 sheets of paper to wrap books, but NEVER, NEVER covered every inch of paper with tape.  There is no need to do that.

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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Like Sara, I just use sharp scissors and either score along a tape line or snip a corner off.

I am not in such a hurry that I ruin books.

I admit to using a lot of tape and prefer getting those than books when the end of the envelope is torn open from a loose book.

Date Posted: 9/20/2013 1:28 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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As already mentioned Miriam, seam ripper is the tool of choice for many PBS members when faced with a mummy wrap.

no mummy books no  I'm good with scissors and have still damaged a couple over-wrapped books.   Maybe I'm just lucky with local mail b/c IME have found mummy/brick to be unnecessary.

I have received plain manilla (unpadded/unreinforced) envelopes damaged and torn open.  Don't recall having any of the padded ones arrive significantly damaged.  One page wrappers are scary, but a good double page wrap almost always arrives in good condition (I can count the exceptions on just a couple fingers).

Date Posted: 9/20/2013 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/2/2010
Posts: 80
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I'm guilty of the over-taping, partly because I've received some books NOT wrapped that way that have been beaten up by the post office and partly because I know my own mailbox is not water-tight.  I take care to not leave outgoing books in my mailbox if it looks like it might rain before the mail carrier gets to my house;  in bad weather, I go out of my way to put them in the post office blue bin or directly at the post office.  I would rather assume that the receiver's mailbox may not be any better than mine and have the book arrive safe and dry, rather than damp and possibly unreadable.  I do try to leave a little slack in the sides of my taping so that a corner can be cut off with scissors and the the points slid in to cut the package open.    I've done all of my packages that way and only received one complaint about the receiver damaging the book in opening it.

My father also used to work in the post office and I've seen first-hand how careless they are in handling packages.  :)

Date Posted: 9/20/2013 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2010
Posts: 2,373
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Seam ripper all the way. Best pbs investment you'll ever make aside from a postage meter. They have probably gone up in cost since I bought my last one (sometime durring the jurassic period) but they only cost a few bucks. And they Never damage my mummified books as I have done with an exacto blade AND sharp carefuly wielded sciccors.

Date Posted: 9/21/2013 3:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,274
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If overwrapped books are really a problem for you, then I suggest that you consider having an RC requesting that people mail your requested books in mailing bags. Personally, I've had far more books destroyed by people who did not use enough tape or just put them loose in a manila envelope than damage caused by me opening a mummified book.

And as others have mentioned, books should NEVER be sent in just a single piece of paper, they need a double layer of paper and enough tape that they cannot be easily ripped open by postal machinery. I would far rather receive a book wrapped with lots of tape as oppsed to an empty wrapper because not enough tape was used.

Date Posted: 9/21/2013 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,481
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That said, please have a separate seam ripper for your sewing.   The tape glue makes using it on cloth very difficult.   Or swipe it off with rubbing alcohol. 

Date Posted: 9/21/2013 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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Personally, I've had less luck when books get shipped to me in envelopes than I do when they're wrapped in sheets of paper. Seems like people don't understand that if the envelope is not strapped tight, the book will shift around and damange the envelope. I've had more holes in those envelopes than in any of the sheets of paper.

Also maybe I'm just lucky but I've never damaged a book even when I had to extract it with scissors or knife (which is fairly often). 

So I'm going to stick to my sheets of paper, that's just what works best for me :) Good luck with your wrapping!