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Topic: Suggestions on how to ship large book orders: Use the right sized box.

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Subject: Suggestions on how to ship large book orders: Use the right sized box.
Date Posted: 11/2/2008 11:28 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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I'd like to offer some helpful suggestions for the packaging and mailing of large boxes of books.  If you don't often run book "deals" or have someone ordering twenty books from you all at once, you may never need to send out large boxes of books.  However, if you do, you may wonder how to safely ship them.

I am currently a delivery supervisor in a rural Kentucky post office.  After spending the last 26 months at a mid-sized Distribution Plant in Lexington, KY - as well as doing a lot of deals on PBS where I order 20-80 books at a time - I have seen a lot of good and bad packaging methods. Usually a heavy box of books will break open during handling for a few reasons: 1) A large lightweight cardboard box is used for packaging the books. 2) A box is not sufficiently taped shut. 3) A box is too large for the amount of books being shipped and the books are able to shift around inside the box and split the box at the corners.

Books in quantity are HEAVY.  Please use a sturdy box that is the right size for the quantity of books you are sending. Don't use a box that was used for multiple bags of potato chips. Yes, you may get that box free from the grocery story but it was designed for a lightweight product and not for books. PBS suggests filling space with plastic grocery bags and crinkled paper and that does work when you have a small area to fill. If you can't find a box that fits the books you are mailing and you have to use one that is more than just a little too big, here are some suggestions.

These suggestions are more for the "larger than a shoe box" type of book deals but are applicable for many packages.

1) Use a heavy duty box that is well taped on the bottom.

2) Make book "bricks" and place them in plastic grocery bags (this keeps the books in a solid mass and provides some water protection, as well).  I have received several boxes where the plastic bag is the only reason books did not fall out of the split corner of a box.

3) If the box is too large you can use an empty smaller box that is taped shut as a filler. Another filler material would be solid styrofoam pieces that you recycle. If you use shredded paper or styrofoam peanuts, please put them in sealed plastic bags. Shredded paper makes a mess in books.

4) When you are done, make sure you tape the box well! Not just across the top, but any flap edge.  It's always better to use too much tape than not enough.  Keep in mind that the Post Office is a highly mechanized, factory-like delivery system - boxes do get tossed around and they do get processed by machines.

The maximum weight on a box of books that you can ship media mail is 70 pounds.  I would recommend if it's that big of a book deal that you may want to use a couple of smaller boxes. The postage savings is still great compared to mailing out books individually.

For those smaller book orders (shoebox sized or less) a lot of the same principles apply. Please use enough tape on the large bubble mailers, including the factory sealed end, (which has a tendency to pop open) and pack the books tightly and tape down excess portions of the bubble mailer.

The Post Office spends a lot of time, money, and effort trying to piece back mail, repackage boxes and deliver damaged mail to the proper owner. This only works with your support. You would not believe the number of mail pieces that are mailed without a return address or zero information inside the box, package or letter. There is nothing wrong with having a copy of the PBS invoice inside the box.

Please don't send cash through the mail, buy a Postal Money Order and fill it out properly, you would not believe the number of letters I have found split open or unsealed with $10's, $20's, $50's and $100 dollar bills inside.

I hope this information is helpful.

Kevin

Date Posted: 11/2/2008 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 10/11/2007
Posts: 8,455
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Very helpful, thank you

Date Posted: 11/2/2008 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2008
Posts: 339
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Thank you Kevin! Very good advice. :)

Date Posted: 11/2/2008 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/11/2006
Posts: 12,826
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especially also for holiday thank you

Date Posted: 11/3/2008 1:56 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 688
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Thanks for taking the time to share all that. Terrific advice.

Nancy

Date Posted: 11/3/2008 3:22 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2008
Posts: 61
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Thanks I needed to know a little more about packaging larger amouts of books.

Terresa

Date Posted: 11/3/2008 4:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2008
Posts: 448
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Thanks, Kevin. I am not a boxer, but do make deals and your ideas are very helpful, Thanks again

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Starting Christmas shopping. Looking for good condition Erma Bombeck books. I was surprised, there was not a one on here. Anyone hear of some let me know.  I'll probably post a thread, too. Hope all of you had a Happy halloween. Not my favorite holiday, but dressed up for the grandchildren. If I had the nerve would post it. But, sorry.....

 

Jeanne

Subject: This isn't just for Boxers...
Date Posted: 11/4/2008 5:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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I had a fairly new person mail me 40 books (20 credit deal) and there was excessive room in the box and it busted, of which 4 books escaped into the wilds of the Post Office.

Kevin

Subject: Info Bump
Date Posted: 11/13/2008 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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Subject: Sunday Info Bump
Date Posted: 11/23/2008 8:16 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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Subject: Please tape heavy boxes well.
Date Posted: 12/3/2008 2:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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In the past week I have received around 25 boxes of books (single book up to 80 book boxes) and so far I have 3 busted boxes with missing books. (not to mention 2 RWP for water damaged books - damaged by sender)

One box was a nice set of 24 WWII Encyclopedias with book number 14 being AWOL.

Remember "Tape is your friend" :)     Please tape heavy boxes well.

Kevin

Date Posted: 12/3/2008 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 1,572
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Thanks, Kevin, for the good advice. I just mailed a large box of books, 36 books, to J.L. Austin who's getting books for soldiers being deployed overseas. I did  use the right size box, but had to add a little crumpled newspaper inside a plastic bag to fill in an empty space. A very large plastic bag was used inside the box and all the books placed inside it, then the bag taped across the top. I did also include my name and address on a slip of paper inside the plastic bag on top of the books before taping it shut [just in case!!]. The outside was taped securely [I believe in using lots of tape!!] with BOOKS written on all sides of the box.  I've never had a complaint about books not arriving in good shape and I think it's because I try to send books the same way I hope to receive them.

This is good advice for mailing any kind of package, especially during this time of year when so many are being sent for Christmas. Thanks again for taking the time to pass on the info.

All my books live in a smoke-free home with three cats.

Always doing deals, 3 for 1 or 5 for 2 on paperbacks, 2 for 1 on hardbacks. Check my shelf. I'll be removing some more in the next few days to send another box of books for the soldiers.

If you are interested in sending books for soldiers, check out Book Bazaar...J. L. Austin.



Last Edited on: 12/3/08 3:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: First of the year info bump
Date Posted: 1/1/2009 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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Subject: Quarterly bump
Date Posted: 4/19/2009 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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Don't forget that if you invert or brown paper wrap Priority mail boxes and send them Media Mail they will come "Postage Due" I have had three come to me in less than a week.

Date Posted: 4/19/2009 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
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Thanks so much for the great information!

Something I just learned last week - you can check the bottom of the box for a "test weight" stamp. It will tell you how many pounds that box will safely hold.

Date Posted: 4/19/2009 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2006
Posts: 523
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Kevin,

What's up with this?

Don't forget that if you invert or brown paper wrap Priority mail boxes and send them Media Mail they will come "Postage Due" I have had three come to me in less than a week.

I recycle these boxes  I received by doing this sometimes. Is it a problem if they've been used before? Is this just to keep them from becoming "free" boxes?

Also, does anyone know how much more our media rate will increase in May?

Liz

Date Posted: 4/19/2009 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
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Mail Class: Media Mail

Weight Not Over      Price                  Price on 5/11/2009

1 lb                             2.23                    2.38
2 lbs                           2.58                    2.77
3 lbs                           2.93                    3.16
4 lbs                           3.28                    3.55
5 lbs                           3.63                    3.94
6 lbs                           3.98                    4.33

Subject: Priority mail boxes
Date Posted: 4/19/2009 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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as well as Express mail boxes and the Priority and Express mail tyvek envelopes are free to the public as long as you ship using the Priority or Express mail rate.

So when you invert a box or tyvek envelope or wrap them in brown paper you violate that agreement. Or if you ship something using the media mail rate and ship something that doesn't meet the Media Mail requirements then you can get the unhappy surprise of getting them "Postage Due" for the difference.

This also means that even if you reuse a priority mail box that has already been mailed you have to pay the Priority mail rate.

Also remember with Media Mail if it's Postage Due and the receiver doesn't want to pay it then it goes back to the sender who has to pay the Postage due just to get it back and if they don;t want to pay it then it goes to the mail recovery center in Atlanta.

The increase for media mail rates are 15 cents higher for the first pound and  4 cents higher for each additional pound than what you are used to.

Kevin