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Topic: Pro's & Con's of Different Printable Postage - Please Help a Newbie

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Subject: Pro's & Con's of Different Printable Postage - Please Help a Newbie
Date Posted: 10/10/2011 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2011
Posts: 13
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Hi everyone.  I am feeling a little overwhelmed but in a good way.  I am thrilled that in the 48 hours since I have joined that I need to mail out 15 books!  I love that they will find homes and I look forward to being able to get some books on CD.

I am feeling a tad bit overwhelmed with the idea of shipping these.  I have used USPS.com (can't use for media mail tho . . . ) and know how to do an individual package through PayPal.  I know that I can also ship through PBS which helps by adding a small amount to the cost of each package which helps keep things running.

I picked up a really cool roll of plastic wrap at a discount store today (same price as a package of saran wrap at full price at the grocery store).  I also got kraft paper book covers thinking I could wrap the books in those -- most are too big for the printer paper method, along with tape.  In addition to those costs I am going to be spending at least $30 in postage.

I totally get how this works and I am not upset in the least about it . . . I know it will come back to me.  I am just trying to figure out how to balance my time, money and energy as I work and have a family including a six year old who has LOTS of energy.

I also ordered mailers to put the books into that will be easier than using the paper/tape but they won't be here utnil Wednesday -- which is when I am due to ship by.  In order to expedite things, I printed out the small invoice part of the paper and put one in each book (this was sent by so and so from PBS, please remember to confirm that you got it, etc.).  I have also wrapped each book in the plastic.

Now I have a pretty good digital scale already at home.  I know that PBS has weights listed but that they can be incorrect -- so I want to weigh each book in the paper or the mailer so there are no problems.  There is the additional kiosk fee I know of $.50 to transfer money in -- not going to break me but it is of course adding up.

When using PayPal I can also add delivery confirmation for only $.19.  The problem is I have to copy and paste each one individually into the shipping center.  I have internet printing shipping labels that I can slap onto the packages.  I then usually cover the delivery information with clear tape but leave the DC information uncovered so it scans easily.

I would love some insight as the best way to proceed.  I know it is different for everyone but your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated.

Date Posted: 10/10/2011 11:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Read this thread. Even if you THINK you know how to pack, she has some great suggestions.


As far as the printable postage, I can't help there, The only time I use it is when I ship something I sold on ebay, then I use paypal shipping

Date Posted: 10/10/2011 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Sounds like you are pretty much set with your packaging. In the future, you might be able to incorporate recycling more materials into your packaging. The only "new" things I use is the packaging tape and the shipping label. I recycle plastic wrap and manila folders (cut and folded into a custom-sized 'box') around the book. 

Use plenty of packaging tape (but no need to mummify)

Make sure your book doesn't move around in its packaging.

As for different types of paying for the packages, it depends on your individual situation.

I don't recommend getting DC retail from the post office (at 80 cents) and waiting in line at the post office.

PBS postage is the most expensive, but most convenient (quicker and assured credit)  and supports the site.

PBS DC saves time on the copy/pasting of addresses, but requires waiting in line at the PO (or slapping on stamps for postage and the 19c if it's less than 13oz). You get the credit as soon as it's scanned in the postal system, and costs a little more eDC from paypal.  

Paypal takes a little more time, copy/pasting of addresses, and costs 19c but does not come with quick credit/assurance.

If the package is under 13 oz, you can slap stamps on it and drop it off in a blue box.

The cheapest option is to go to the PO and not get DC, but involves the most time/inconvenience.

Good luck, and welcome again.

Date Posted: 10/11/2011 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 2,585
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I am a printable postage user, and I love it.

With the hours I work, it's much easier for me to pay the little bit extra to print out the postage, then drop my books off in a blue box on my way into work.  I don't have to deal with any lines, I don't have to worry about if the book gets lost.

If anything happens to the book enroute, I still get my credit.  And, I get my credit the moment I click the 'book is mailed' button.

That being said, I'm really not that concerned with the speed of getting a credit.  I just love the convience of not having to go to the post office.

Date Posted: 10/11/2011 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,290
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So, I generally don't use DC at all when mailing books out. I go to the APC machine in the local post office, and I print out "stamps" in the common denominations that I use, then I just print the mailing wrapper without DC OR postage, stick my stamp on it, and away it goes.

The main reason to use DC (from PBS) is to protect yourself against lost packages, because PBS offers Credit Assurance. There is no reason to purchase DC from outside of PBS, it gets you nothing.

Very few books go lost in the mail, here at PBS. I've mailed out over 1000 books, and had only one go lost in the mail. If I had paid for DC for those books (even if it was only 19 cents per book) .... I would have paid $190 extra just in DC ... well more than the price of the single paperback that has been lost in the mail to date.

When you purchase DC-only from PBS, you get "Credit Assurance" which means that if the package gets lost in the mail, you get to keep the credit anyway (and the book requestor ALSO gets their credit back) (as long as the package has been scanned at least once).

If you purchase DC-only from somewhere else, and the package goes lost, you do not get any PBS credit for that. So, its really just wasted money for that DC, as you will see no benefit from it.

Purchasing postage plus DC from PBS gives you the book credit immediately, and you also get to keep it if the book goes lost. (don't have to wait for the book to be scanned).

Purchasing postage plus DC  from somewhere else means you wait for your credit until the book has been marked received, and you get nothing if the book goes lost.

So, the only advantage to purchasing postage somewhere besides PBS is that it is cheaper ... but that is offset by the fact that you will not get Credit Assurance. If you want to save the most possible money, make a trip to the Post Office, purchase a whole bunch of stamps in $2.41 and $2.82 denominations, and print your mailing labels without postage or DC, and drop them in a blue box.

Date Posted: 10/11/2011 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome to PBS Madelon! 

There are many wrapping and mailing options available to PBS members.  What works best for each individual often depends on their budget, postal situation, and comfort level (DC vs. no DC).

Personally, I stress less since using PBS DC...but that's just me.  I'm often near the PO while running errands, so it's easy for me to pop in several times a week and buy counter postage.  I have WONDERFUL postal staff and there's rarely a line (today being a rare exception), so it's a quick, easy, and pleasant way for me to mail books.

Try a few and see what works best for you  enlightened

Date Posted: 10/11/2011 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,685
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You forgot to add that in addition to the $0.19 for each DC, which you pay at the P.O., you also pay $0.27 to PBS to be able to print it off.  I do use DC, as early on I had several books "not arrive at their destination."

Plus, I also look at it as a way to help PBS pay its costs for operating this site.

Date Posted: 10/12/2011 11:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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Madelon - It sounds like you are way ahead of most newbies. Once you receive a few books you'll probably start getting bubble mailers that you can recycle, and you'll start saving materials around the house you can use for packaging. 

I personally just take everything to the PO and don't use DC unless a single member ordered several books. But I have to go to the PO anyway since they don't deliver mail to my house! 

Date Posted: 10/12/2011 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Once you start receiving books you'll get mailers that you can reuse. 

I have the printed postage ICON but I really only use it for bulk orders and the occassional book over 13oz.  I think the credit guarantee fee is a waste of money as it quickly adds up to more than what the occassional lost book or credit would cost. The fee on 10 books costs more than a credit would cost.  I support PBS by using the postage once in awhile, donating my 3 start up credits back and paying for the Gold Key membership.  But the printed postage is convenient if you don't have time to go to the post office. I use the PBS postage over paypal because I figure if I'm going to pay extra for DC, then I might as well do it where I can get the credit quickly.  I would use Paypal if I mailed every book with printed postage.  If I have multiple books to mail that are too heavy for stamps-then I usually go to the post office and mail them all at once. 

Some members only mail once a week and will let a request sit for a day or two (or 5) before accepting.  That is allowed and perfectly OK to do. 

Last Edited on: 10/12/11 12:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Mailing options
Date Posted: 10/12/2011 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,448
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I am a  pre paid postage user and also love it! I don't have to worry about hauling little k ids into the PO and standing for hours, but I like just printing the label with the  postge already on it and just chucking it in the blue box either going to or coming from work. I used it on 99% of the books I have sent since it came into being.

Last Edited on: 10/13/11 7:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/13/2011 1:49 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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You can reprint a label, including the postage and PBS DC.  You are not charged a second time for reprinting.  (If you are, please immediately report it to PBS.)

I do use PBS eDC for 1) multiple book orders and 2) books that will travel over water as media rate can be really SLOW for books going to AK, HI, PR, GU and APOs.  It is worth it to get my credits faster. 

Please fold envelopes tight around books.  The loose flapping corners always seem to get caught and ripped in the sorting machines.  Folding the edges over and taping them down will solve this.  Does not matter if it is a padded envelope or not.  The machines eat corners.

Date Posted: 10/16/2011 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 84
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I use Paypal Shipping, which requires a DC for .19 cents, and I mail them from the mailbox in front of my house.  Very convenient for me.  I live about 6 miles from the nearest PO, so I save a ton of gas money, and I can ship promptly to PBS members.

Date Posted: 10/20/2011 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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Here is another thread where you might get some different answers.

Which do you prefer reguarding postage....