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Topic: Suggested Weight

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Subject: Suggested Weight
Date Posted: 5/11/2013 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2013
Posts: 6
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Will postage and delivery confirmation be affected if I buy printed postage and DC using suggested book weight? I didn't want to wrap my books using printed paper only, so I opt for bubble wrap (or something similar in thickness) to wrap a book (or books) and 9 x 12 clasp envelopes for single books (10 x 13 for multiple books up to 3). The problem now is I don't know what the wrapped book weight is, and hopefully I can try saving on the postage and tracking using PBS printed postage and DC rather than going to the post office to be handled. I'm going to be mailing books soon (if I can get the mail date to be today or sometime next week), but at the same time, I'm worried about the previous books I've sent because I hadn't used DC for them (I regret it...among other things), which is why I'm concerned about postage and DC now because I'm not sure if the books I've mailed five days ago have been received. By the way, if I don't manage to mail books today, but have printed postage and DC for them on PBS to be mailed next week, can I mark the books as mailed? I'm not sure if the date changes with the mail date because I haven't used the option yet and the deadline to mark mailed is tomorrow. If I could mail the books today or Sunday, I would, but I also don't know if I can access mailboxes that are outside of PO after business hours.

 

Yes, I'm new on PBS and have never mailed anything in my life (excluding email) until PBS.



Last Edited on: 5/11/13 10:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/11/2013 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 699
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I don't think you can ever count on the suggested weight being the actual weight.

Date Posted: 5/11/2013 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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What Diane said.  As one who edits book data frequently, there are some wildly inaccurate numbers out there.  I frequently see items listed on Amazon where someone has gone through and put the same value for every measurement -- i.e. "8 inches tall, 8 inches wide, 8 inches thick (!?!) and weighs 8 pounds".  Obviously, not good data, but sometimes that crazy internet data gets ported into PBS.

I use a digital food scale (can get them for $20 from places like Amazon and Target) to weigh my Printable Postage items, to ensure I have the proper weight, and I highly recommend doing your own weighing at home.

Date Posted: 5/12/2013 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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I agree with Diane and Elizabeth... You cannot trust that suggested weights are accurate.

For paperbacks, I weigh the book and then add .6 oz (for the over-wrap and tape). For everything else, I use padded envelopes. I weigh books and packing material together, then add .2 oz (for tape and "label").

My packages are so accurate, that it's become a game between me and the clerk at my "regular" USPS branch for her to try and snag an error. It hasn't happened yet this year. cool
 

Date Posted: 5/13/2013 1:48 AM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2013
Posts: 6
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Thanks for the advice so far! I appreciate the help.

I'll think about weighing my items on scale in the future. I don't think I'll be able to get a scale at this time. I've read somewhere that lightweight items can be weighed on digital scales (for weight loss) and that "every 0.2 lbs equals slightly more than 3 oz."

Date Posted: 5/13/2013 7:19 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 699
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16*0.2=3.2

16*0.3=4.8

16*0.4=6.4

16*0.5=8.0

16*0.6=9.6

16*0.7=11.2

16*0.8=12.8

 

Date Posted: 5/13/2013 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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Here's one other thing to consider: Media Mail has a very broad range of weight, essentially it's a 'by-the-pound' service. Once you've bumped up above 5 ounces (6 ounces, if you use Tracking), being off by a few ounces - until you move up to the next pound of weight - won't increase the postage any...

Date Posted: 5/20/2013 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,859
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which is why I'm concerned about postage and DC now because I'm not sure if the books I've mailed five days ago have been received.

Probably not. I've been a member a long time and while books can and do get delivered in the first week after mailing, by far the majority of them seem to be delivered during the second week after mailing. So, I would be looking for people to start marking received somewhere 7-14 days after mailing. Faster than 7 days happens, but it's not the norm. And slower than 14 days also happens, but also not the norm. But 10, 11, 12 days ... all completely normal.

Media mail just takes that long.

Also, you are a new member ... most members will tell you that while you can have an occasional issue with someone not marking received, the vast majority of books are received just fine, no tracking needed. This site consists 99% of good members and the problem members get weeded out eventaully.

By the way, if I don't manage to mail books today, but have printed postage and DC for them on PBS to be mailed next week, can I mark the books as mailed? I'm not sure if the date changes with the mail date because I haven't used the option yet and the deadline to mark mailed is tomorrow. If I could mail the books today or Sunday, I would, but I also don't know if I can access mailboxes that are outside of PO after business hours.

PBS gives you 48 hours after you mark the books as mailed in PBS, to actually put them in the mail. Everywhere that I have ever lived, books can be dropped in the blue boxes 24/7, they don't get locked, even outside of the post office (but, if there is a specific problem where you live, I guess they might lock the boxes).

You may have an issue with the post office, however, if you print out postage with a specific postage date and then don't mail the packages. The postage goes "stale" and the packages might be returned to you. There are the normal allowances for post office hours (so, if you print postage Sat. night and drop the package in a blue box after it was emptied on Sat., and the post office doesn't process it until Monday, you are OK, but if that same package has a postage date of Friday ... they might notice it and kick it back, because a Friday package would have been processed either on Friday, or on Saturday when the box was emptied).

So, in the case where you have already printed out postage but the date has passed, you can take those to the PO counter and get a "zero" strip put on the package which updates the mailing date.

I believe it is OK to mail packages before the postage date ... the problem comes when trying to mail them after.

Date Posted: 5/20/2013 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,859
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If your Post Office has a APC machine, that may be an option for you.

I mail all my books on Sunday (when the Post Office is closed) by:

1. take all the packages to the APC machine in the lobby
2. weigh the packages on their scale
3. buy "stamps of a different value" to put on the packages.

The machine will not calculate Media Mail postage rates for you, so what I do is just weight the packages, and then I go back to the stamp buying screen, and use a small chart that I've printed out and keep in my wallet to buy the right postage stamp amount.

Media Mail is easy because it's calculated by the pound, so I just sort my books into piles ... under 1 pound packages, under 2 pound packages, etc, and then I just buy the right stamp amounts for those weights. ($2.53, $2.98, ..... and then I need my chart )

Date Posted: 5/21/2013 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 822
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Okay... This week's mailing is a good example of why you cannot blindly rely on Posted Weight. Of the 9 books I've printed labels for, 4 of them had posted weights that were off by enough that my postage would've been wrong. 3 of the 4 were wrong in favor of the USPS.