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Topic: Suggestions for mailing hardbacks please

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Subject: Suggestions for mailing hardbacks please
Date Posted: 8/10/2012 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 26
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I do not usually mail hardbacks and need some help.  Will the Duck type mailers hold up well?.  They are the one with paper on outside, bubble wrap on inside. I also need to send a large paperback with the hardback.  Suggestions please. 

Thanks, Sue

Date Posted: 8/10/2012 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,582
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Are the books close lengthwise and in width, then you could probably use the mailer as long as you make sure to tape it up to form fit the books as much as possible.  If the hardback is significantly longer or wider, then you'd be better off using a box.  I've found that cereal boxes work well; take the box apart and fold around the books so the plain cardboard inside is now the outside wrapper.  The trick, either way, is to make the package as brick-like as possible to keep the books from rattling around in the packaging.  Hope this is useful.

Date Posted: 8/10/2012 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,247
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I cut mailers open as necessary to fit tightly around the books. Works fine.

Either just cut it open at the sides enough to fold the flaps down closer to the books, or cut the whole thing open, lay it flat, and wrap the books like a present (just like you would with the PBS printer paper wrapper).

Never had a problem either way.

Date Posted: 8/10/2012 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,609
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I would wrap the same way as Sara. The only other thing I would do is pre-wrap in plastic first. I save all kinds of plastic I get and for a HB book I might use one of those vinyl Uline mailers that's too beat up to be used on its own but would make a good liner.
Date Posted: 8/10/2012 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2007
Posts: 16,501
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Great suggestions.  I agree with making the mailer fit the book as well as you can.  I've received books just sent in large manila envelopes with no effort made to fit the book and unfortunately they rip through the envelope and get damaged.  The book may have been in great shape when it was mailed but arrives unpostable. That same manila envelope with a little extra tape and the book arrives safely.  :O)

ETA: I'm not suggesting every inch of the envelope be covered in tape, just enough to fit it to the book.

Last Edited on: 8/10/12 9:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/10/2012 11:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2011
Posts: 2,413
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If it is a really nice hardcover book , I like to protect the corners from being dented. I usually put the book in a plastic ziploc type baggie, then wrap in bubble wrap , then wrap in brown kraft paper (like a gift) , tape very well (especially on the corners). Sometimes a bubble wrapper is used if I run out of paper with no problems, as long as you tape it up well.

Date Posted: 8/10/2012 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,962
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I do not recommend using the PBS mailer for HBs.  They always get corners dented and arrive with the mailer ripped and torn.  I use bubble envelopes most of the time and sometimes add extra cardboard inside as well as wrap the book in a ziploc or plastic.

Date Posted: 8/10/2012 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 26
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Thanks everyone for the great suggestions.  They fit together in a mailer envelope, but I am going with a cereal box and bubble wrap.  I will tape securely.



Date Posted: 8/11/2012 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2009
Posts: 285
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I use brown paper bags with plastic inside of course!  I've mailed out a large number of HC, whether they were large coffee table books or expensive novels. I have not had a complaint. 

Date Posted: 8/11/2012 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 4,905
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I use bubble mailers to mail my books and never had a problem.

Date Posted: 8/11/2012 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,652
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If I have two or more books that are different sizes going to the same address, I wrap each in plastic first, then I use shipping tape to tape them to each other.  The shipping tape only sticks to the plastic. Then I fit them into an outer wrapping. I have done this dozens of times and haven't received any RWAPs yet. 

Last Edited on: 8/12/12 6:11 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2012 12:50 AM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 5,014
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Good idea, thanks Thomas, I will try that next time.

Date Posted: 8/12/2012 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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If it's a thin hardback that is close in size to the bubble-pak mailer, it should be okay.  If it's heavier(*) or not a close fit, I would suggest a "book burrito": take a long piece of corrugated cardboard and wrap it around the book, fastening it to itself (*NOT* to the book!!) with wrapping tape.  It should be a few inches more that the "circumference" of the book, and have at least a half inch extra at the top and bottom.  Then put that in the envelope.

(*) The heavier it is, the more stress on the corners of the book if/when it is dropped.

One thing I'd suggest is taking all your materials before wrapping and weighing them.  If you're an ounce or so into the next weight class, you can sometimes trim a bit to get back under.

Date Posted: 8/15/2012 1:44 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2012
Posts: 6
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I used brown paper bags, and tape, lots and lots of tape (around whole spine and all 3 sides) and then one round of tape all the way around the length of the book and 2 around the width of the book.  I'm now wondering WHY I never thought of cereal boxes *face palm*

Post office commented on security of book (in a positive way lol) so I hope I'll be ok :)

Date Posted: 8/15/2012 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 1,262
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I use all kinds of 'food' boxes (as long as the food inside didn't touch the box - example: cereal is also in a bag inside the box).  I use boxes from frozen food, snacks, I even save my longer Kleenex boxes.  Any box that can be folded flat while waiting to be used is saved.  Any box can be great for mailing multiple books of different sizes - and I don't cut them to wrap around the books, either. 

I wrap the books individually in some kind of plastic (saran wrap, ziplock bag, etc.) then I put all the books in a shopping bag (Walmart, Safeway, etc.) and tie it tight, so if the outer box get ripped, or the post office inspects the package, none of the books should get separated.  I tape a handwritten address on the plastic bag, again - a bit redundant, but if the outer box get ripped the address is still somewhere on the books. :)  And, of course, there is the PBS shipping label totally covered in tape (to protect from ripping, getting wet, etc.) on the outside box.

Then, if there is room in the box, I stuff newspaper around the books and close the box.  For really big orders or heavy books, the Boxed wine box works great - and it's fun emptying the box. :)

But if you use a wine box, do make sure to cover the outside of the box with brown paper or another covering - can't ship with the alcohol showing on the outside.  If the post office opens it or it rips, it doesn't matter, you did your due diligence covering it up to begin with. 

Actually, I cover all the boxes just because I think it looks better, but it isn't really necessary - so what if the box says 'Wheaties' on the outside - as long as what's inside makes it there safely. 

I've mailed 1,400 books, not counting freebies, and all but 1 package has arrived safely - so I feel good about passing on these tips - especially since I got most of them from this forum when I first started on PBS - my belated 'Thanks!' to the other members!  :)

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 7:49 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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I also save small boxes and packing materials that we get in the mail, and make use of them. My favorites are, not surprisingly, Amazon mailers: the kind that adapts to the size of the book by sort of wrapping around (making something similar to what Evelyn is suggesting). But other kinds of smallish boxes work well if you pack them securely somehow.

But I have a special source for these, since my father gets a new book in the mail almost every day....

Even without my father's source, though, I've been surprised by how many appropriate boxes come into our house.