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Subject: Question-Packaging
Date Posted: 7/8/2009 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I would like some advice.  I have a book to send and with all the rain in my area at the moment I don't feel comfortable wrapping in plastic and then in printer paper.  I am out of bubble envelopes and I really don't have time to stop at a store - I am putting in some long hours so most stores aren't open when I leave for work and when I drive home.  Probably more info than you want!

My question is:  the members that use envelopes - do you only use bubble envelopes or do you also use the synthetic white envelopes - rip proof and I think water proof?  I won't use manilla envelopes.   What is your experience, so I can decide if I should wait until Friday and visit Staples and/or pay the PO bubble envelope price.  Thanks in advance.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,387
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The problem with envelopes comes when the book is loose in it.  You can take an envelope and tape two sides so the book is tight in it.  The postage machines seem to really have problems with the loose edges.  Most of the damage books I have recieved (other than the one with tire marks) are because the loose flap caught in the machines and ripped it open. 

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I don't feel comfortable wrapping in plastic and then in printer paper

Sorry to hear you feel uncomfortable with this, jubead, because I'm not sure you need to. Some of the best packaged books I have gotten from PBS have arrived this way.

I personally think bubble envelopes are a little overkill for a single paperback, especially if you are buying them new. I think the two essential guiding principles for good packing are:

(1) a waterproofing layer -- eg clear unused produce bags

(2) ensuring that the book does not move within the wrapping. usually this is accomplished by liberal use of packaging tape to secure any loose slack. I've noticed that some people who mail in envelopes sometimes don't secure the edges, leading to the damage that Emily (EmilyKat) mentioned. People who wrap with printer paper or brown paper bags usually are more cognizant of wrapping tightly and taping over any seams.

hope this helps.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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If you have a calendar  around, use one of the previous months' pages to wrap the book after wrapping in plastic.  I've been doing that. The paper quality is thick so it's better than regular copy paper.  It also is a way to recycle.



Last Edited on: 7/8/09 7:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2009 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Old maps are good for wrapping books in as well.

I've sent over 500 books and I never used plastic wrap and frequently use just the wrapper and I've never had anyone tell me a book arrived damp or even damaged.  I also mail alot of books from my mail box at home.

I only use bubble mailers is someone sent me a book in one.

I did buy a big box of white legal size envelopes.  I put the books in sideways then fold in half and tape up so the book is not floating around inside.  Staples had them BOGO so I got a box of larger and then smaller ones.  The smaller ones hold a small trade size or mmp sideways. The large ones work great for smaller hard covers and the thicker tradesize books.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 5:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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bubble mailers dont always protect them from the weather either. That only works if the sender has taped the ends closed, just using the sticky seal wont stop water from getting in that end.

Plastic that is taped at each end is just as waterproof as a bubble mailed. And if you mummy wrap the book, its going to get there safely (just getting it open can be a pest!)

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Thank you for the great ideas.  I just happened to have a couple of the synthetic white envelopes handy,  but I have never used them to send books (just documents which I wasn't asking for a credit - so I wasn't all concerned about water damage).  I asked at one of my clients to keep the bubble envelopes etc but so far they all look like they have been run over by an 18 wheeler. I like the idea of maps and calendars.  I have one of the large desk/mat calendars on my desk so I can use June- which I don't think I have ripped off yet!  I like the idea of the grocery bags, but I felt guilty and went green, I now use the cloth grocery bags.  Hey if I start recycling, I can start asking for them again!  I will keep it in mind (if I use envelopes) to fold over the envelope and make sure the sides and flap are taped over. 

Sophia - I generally do wrap in plastic wrap and then printer paper - but I am concerned  that with the heavy rains we are having it won't even make it to the PO.   It has been down pouring and everything seems wet and soggy. 

Mary- this is going to sound so lame and kinda of stupid ok - it will sound stupid.  The maps - the PO will take a package with map print all over  the outside?  I always thought that packges had to be wrapped in plain brown or white paper (have no idea why).  To be honest I haven't been to a PO in years except to pick up mail from my PO box ....until I started sending books.   I have always avoided the PO like the plague. 

For the past couple of weeks (because of the rain) almost all the books I have sent were in a bubble envelope (also wrapped the book in plastic).  I think I will wrap this one in plastic and use the available synthetic envelope...but I will start saving my desk calendar months and look over the maps that are no longer any use.  I do appreciate all the tips - thanks so much!

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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First, thank you for being such a consciencious sender. In cases like this, I would wrap in plastic, then brown paper (you can buy some that has a "wax" lining inside, making another water-resistant layer), then practically mumify it with packing tape. Be sure to cover the to and from addresses with clear tape so they don't smudge.

 

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 7:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,387
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I personally don't like the mummy wrap.  So hard to open.  But packing tape is great. 

Brown paper bags seem to rip at the corners if there is any moisture around.  I was using them until I began noticing the shape of my arrivals.  The brown kraft paper in rolls seems to hold up better than bags.  I had one book arrive in wrapping paper, which looked really pretty but bled red all over the book.  Calendars and maps are sturdy paper. 

The post office is generally fine with them as long as there are no bar codes or large numbers.  Those mess up the machines.  I also save the used tyvex envelopes and cut them up.  Make sure you do not show the priority mail logos on the outside.

And if you have an ink jet printer, be sure to tape over the address.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Wow- I didn't think about some of this.  thanks

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
Posts: 98
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The post office is usually fine with almost any box or wrapping a long as there are clear addresses and no hazardous markings on the package (ie: bleach, alcohol, gasoline, etc). Also boxes do not need to be wrapped as some people think, just securely taped with PACKING tape.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Thanks Anita - I thought all boxes had to be wrapped (white or brown paper)!  good to know.  I have boxes from my work that I haven't used because it has pictures/printing on them and I never had the paper.  I am glad I did not throw them in the trash - I can now use them!

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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<<I also save the used tyvex envelopes and cut them up.  Make sure you do not show the priority mail logos on the outside.>>

Per the Help Center:

  • Poor choices for alternate packaging materials:
    • 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)

Personally, since I mail a lot of books, I use plastic, waterproof envelopes from an eBay seller recommended by a fellow PBS member.  But tape is really the key -- getting the corners, and not letting things rattle around loose in any kind of envelope. 

Be careful with brown paper grocery bags -- I've received some books where the colors from the lettering, etc on the paper rubbed or bled onto the book and caused staining.

And, on behalf of those who live where it never stops raining, and whose mail carrier has REALLY sweaty hands, I thank you for using a waterproof wrapper!

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 5:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I used to have lots of Tyvek envelopes ( not USPS) that were 10"x12", I believe.  I would cut open the envelope down the 2 long sides so it lay flat like wrapping paper and then wrap the book (also in plastic) in the Tyvek  like a present.  I could usually get 2 large paperbacks wrapped in one envelope which made them a little less pricey.  Now I can't afford them so I use the poly bags and still wrap in plastic underwrap.

Ruth

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I have never used the maps myself. But I have received books wrapped in them so yes they will take them.  I have sent books in cereal boxes with only the label taped on and not the box covered in paper.  As long as the address is readable. 

Subject: Map wrap
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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As to maps, the post office apparently doesn't mind if anything is wrapped in them, as long as the address and the zip code are large and legible. In fact, there's a company called Geolopes that makes envelopes of all sizes from old maps (Canadian, I think) - I've used them a lot and have never had anything lost or returned.
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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What Emily said :-)

Jubead, the two sheet PBS mailer is usually adequate for mmpb in most weather, and I like to fold the insert and place it inside the book before wrapping in plastic (use blank paper for the 2nd outer sheet).  This provides a return address if the PO damages the outer wrapper.  I always protect the shipping label by covering it with clear tape, if you use DC make sure to use only one layer of very clear tape on that portion of the label, without wrinkles to confuse the postal scanners.

If your book is odd size, adverse weather, or other conditions, bubble mailers and tyvek envelopes can be very useful...Tyvek is especially durable and water resistant (possibly waterproof),  Remember not to reuse/recycle any portion of a FedEx or Priority Mail envelope that retains those labels.  And when using envelopes, it's always wise to fold down and securely tape any excess portions of the envelope for a firm fit around your book(s), as floppy envelopes invite postal abuse.

Packing tape is our friend - mummy wrap is evil :-)

ETA - when recycling boxes and envelopes, I remove or deface any visible barcodes and addresses with permanent marker before applying the new PBS shipping label.

 



Last Edited on: 7/9/09 8:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I am learning a lot from everyone's comments, ideas and *warnings*.  I also learned that I do not have any imagination - cereal boxes - I would never have thought of it. 

Emily and Denise - I agree about the mummy wrap.  I haven't rec'd too many books,  but one was mummy wrapped and it took some delicate manuvering not to destroy the book. 

I use packing tape - which generally ends up on me, the cat, the desk and everywhere it shouldn't be - but the book eventually get's wrapped.   I seal the ends but leave a very tiny opening so a knife or letter opener can be used.  I put a piece of tape across the address so if the PBS address wrapper is torn - at least the address it is going to is still there.  I go to the post office- so they place the postage over the tape.    When I use plastic wrap and the PBS wrappers I wrap each layer  of printer paper individually - does anyone else do this or is considered mummy wrapping? 

Ruth the white synthetic envelope is a Tyvek envelope - I googled it!  I didn't know the name, only I had a couple in the house - they looked strong and water proof/resistant.  I like the idea of cutting down the sides and then wrapping the book - instead of using it in enevope form!

Thanks again! 

 

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 10:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,387
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Cereal and cracker boxes are my fave to use for CDs and DVDs.  (Sister sites.)  But I do not hesitate to use the PBS wrapper for a single mass market paperback.  For trade paperbacks and hardbacks, I'll go hunting for other materials.  Still have some old maps and last year's calendar.   I'm always saving plastic envelopes and bags for inner wrap.  Received a book in a kid's underwear bag.  Fit perfectly.

And the nevers, scotch tape and press and seal plastic.  Nasty.

Mummy wrap is the term we use for the over use of tape.  Not plastic wrap. 

Any bar codes might delay the book. 

 

Date Posted: 7/10/2009 12:31 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2007
Posts: 115
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RE: "mummy wrap"...I have muscle deterioration in both hands due to extended carpal tunnel problems (I didn't know I had it!) so it is very hard for me to open books that are wrapped this way.  I have also gotten too exuberant with hubby's Exacto knife trying to get past the tape...sliced right through the plastic and cover of the book.  Seriously though, I have a really hard time with books with that much tape due to weakness in my hands.  As a result, I am aware of the potential for others to have this problem, so I wrap in plastic and tape the ends of the wrap to itself (not the book!), then if it is mmpb, I use the PBS wrapper, tape the back seam and the "gift-wrapped" edges.  That is it and I hope that it isn't too hard to open!  For hc books or trade pb, I use plastic wrap, large envelopes (white or "manila"), tape the top edge so that the little metal hole/prongs is totally covered (I also take a blood thinner so I bleed easily and I think of others in that regard as well) and tape the bottom seam. I have not had any problems.....at least no one has told me that they got a book from me damaged.  One gal wrote to me to tell the book was in excellent shape even though the manila envelope looked as if it had been thrown in the dirt and run over by a truck. :)

Date Posted: 7/10/2009 12:52 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I'm on blood thinners, too.  I'm very careful about what I handle and how.  I've found that just "nicking" a part of the tape on a "Mummy wrapped" book helps to get the book unwrapped fairly easily.  Using a "seam ripper" is also easy and gentle on hands and books.  I still would prefer a Mummy-fied book to a wet one.  And I've found that manila envelopes are terrible.  They get so brittle and tear so easily in transit, especially with HC corners when the envelope isn't closely wrapped to the book.  If you use manila envelopes be sure to tape both ends because the weak spot with them is the flap you don't seal down. 

Ruth

Date Posted: 7/10/2009 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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I agree Stephanie, I've accidentally cut the covers of two books attempting to remove over enthusiastic 'mummy wrap'  I prefer the water resistant qualities of a simple plastic underwrap to 'mummy' any day of the week :-)  Seriously, if the Sampsonite Gorilla working for the USPS wants your book wet, there isn't much you can do that would deter a determined gorilla!

Date Posted: 7/10/2009 1:54 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 35,373
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Seam Ripper is a great idea.  Someone else mentioned it in another thread and I tried it. Very helpful.

Question:   Those of you who use bubble mailers, do you prewrap the book in plastic first?

 



Last Edited on: 7/10/09 1:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/10/2009 2:26 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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I get reports in large "privacy" envelopes that have a wonderful black and white pattern on the inside.  I cut them down both long sides and turn them inside out so that pretty pattern shows.  Then after a plastic covering, the book gets wrapped in those when I have them, like an attractive present.  Since it is an envelope already, it knows how to survive the USPS handling, too.  I make sure the labels are covered and all the seams and the ends, but try to leave some of the back free of any tape. 

One thing I do that might be different:  I put the label on the "back" of the package, where the seam is.  This leaves the real back of it seamless, and all the tape can be concentrated on the label side.     :)    D.

Date Posted: 7/10/2009 2:35 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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For those of you who use calendar pages....you must not write birthdays, appointments, events, etc. on them, right?  I'd be sending a piece of the year's history if I used those!  But they must make a really beatiful package!!!   Hmmmmm, I might have to get a few extra this year.....    :)   D.

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