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Topic: Tips for shipping?

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Subject: Tips for shipping?
Date Posted: 4/23/2011 7:09 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2011
Posts: 3
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Hey fellow recyclers getting ready to ship out my first books...any tips for how to cut down on expenses?

Last Edited on: 4/23/11 7:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2011 7:59 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2006
Posts: 35,010
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Hi Keenan,

Here's a good discussion thread talking about shipping methods:

What type of package do you use to mail your books?

Date Posted: 4/23/2011 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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As you start to receive books you'll find that you get a lot of reuseable bubble mailers.  The PBS wrapper really works just find for most mass market paperbacks. Some people use it on trade sized books but I don't think it's enough for trades sized or super thick mmps and definately not for hardcovers.  I've received books wrapped in old maps (not antiques obviously), heavy duty wrapping paper, craft paper, paper bags etc.,  I've used cereal boxes, pasta boxes (ones that had bagged pasta in them nothing where the food was right in the box).  You get the idea. 

The only packing material I have to buy on a regular basis is mailing tape. 

Last Edited on: 4/23/11 8:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2011 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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There are so many materials that come into my house in the form of packaging for products I buy that are easily adaptable for sending out books. I find that the packaging from large bags of bird seed that I buy are a tarp-like material and make a sturdy wrapper for larger books or multiple orders. Some people use leftover wallpaper for wrapping books (I would recommend a plastic undercoat just in case the package gets wet.) I also use old file folders, very sturdy. What you use is only limited by your imagination. I agree with Mary that the 2 page wrapper is just fine for mass market paperbacks -- making sure that you cover all seams with packaging tape, not scotch tape and I print on the back of previously printed on paper -- making sure that there is nothing sensitive on the other side, such as a social security #, etc. Lots of the junk mail I receive goes back out in the mail as wrapper for PBS when it is a letter sized piece of paper printed on just one side.  Like Mary, the only thing I buy is packaging tape.

Subject: Wrapping books
Date Posted: 4/23/2011 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,428
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DON'T use priority wrapping to send anything media mail....unless you want to send it priority

Date Posted: 4/23/2011 10:31 AM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
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I would definitely recommend that you get a postal scale at your office supply store and calculate the postage required rather than trusting PBS's estimate printed on the label.  I find that the estimate from PBS is wrong about 40-50% of the time.  Today I printed a label/wrapper for a standard sized PB and they recommend $2.82 which is the 1-2 lb. rate, and obviously wrong.  This one may indeed go for first class/parcel, which is <$2.41 if it is <7 oz.  ( I haven't weighed it yet.)  You will save money on ones that they over-estimated, and save embarrassment on ones that they estimated too low when they arrive at the recipient''s place with postage due.  Always something to be avoided!

Date Posted: 4/23/2011 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 460
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Keep your eyes and mind open for packing and wrapping materials.  I work in an office, so we get a lot of shipments from different companies.  I regularly get nice small sturdy boxes for hardcovers.  While cleaning out a closet at work, I came across a box of thick plastic "sleeves" for storing and mailing rolled maps.  We don't use them anymore, so my boss said I could take them.  A paperback fits in them perfectly and they are waterproof!  I cut them down to size and can mail 3 or 4 books per sleeve.  My boss is a PBS member - she uses the wrappers from our printer paper to wrap her books.


mistie -
Date Posted: 4/23/2011 7:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,019
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To the OP - if your package is over 7oz, the cheapest chocie is media mail, If you are buying your postage over the counter, you will need to ask for "media mail", adn the clerk will probably ask you to confirm it is just a book. if you don't specifically request media mail, it will not be offered as a psotage option. Don;t be deterred if the postage clerk tell you it will take a long time to arrive, or that is the parcel can't be delivered it won;t be returned etc. They are just doing their job, and trying to upsell you to a more expensive option.

Date Posted: 4/23/2011 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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Dollar stores are a good source for clear packing tape. Around here, the Dollar Tree stores sell a larger roll for $1 than the Family Dollar stores do.
Date Posted: 4/23/2011 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,916
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Yes, buy your packing tape at the dollar store. Sometimes mine doesn't have it, so when I see it there, I buy 6 rolls at once.

Saran wrap is very ecomonical for wrapping books in to protect them from water ... I buy it when it is on sale and one 200 ft roll can protect about 175 books, I have found. So, one roll lasts a very long time.

I wrap paperbacks using the printer paper wrapper ... it is sturdy enough (when well taped) to be highly successful at lasting until the books get to their destination, I have found. (I've mailed between 800 - 900 books out in that paper wrapper and I have only had 1 report of damage by the USPS in all that time.)

Your best bet in terms of saving money is to just use stamps or postage from the PO to mail your books instead of purchasing postage from PBS. The fee to buy it here adds up quickly. (I support the site by donating back credits every now and then instead of purchasing postage ... I mail out too many books to be able to afford that fee on every package.)

Date Posted: 4/23/2011 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,472
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Good tape and a good scale are items I do not cut costs on.  They will save you much frustration.

I'm one of the map users.  Lighter weight than brown paper and sturdier when damp.

Brown paper bags really vary in quality.  Brown Kraft paper is usually more sturdy.

The PBS eDC is really worth it for multiple book shipments.   Or books going over water, such as HI, AK, GU, and PR.


Subject: Good hints
Date Posted: 4/23/2011 10:15 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,428
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Don't use Press and Seal to wrap books in plastic. There is sticky stuff on it and really does a number on books

I also have a postage scale for weighing books. I got mine at Walmart, but there is one available in the kiosk too.

I don't mail out that many books, so i am a great believer in the PBS postage...it is something you have to figure out            if the extra cost is worth it to you. I can just chuck the book in the blue box at the post office.

Date Posted: 4/23/2011 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I just use a kitchen scale at home. It goes up to 5lbs.  Actually lately I've been bringing them into work and putting them on the postage machine.  It'll give me the exact postage amount.  Then I slap some stamps on and drop them in the blue bin on the way home (most of what I mail is under 13oz).  If I have a 13oz one then I just buy postage at the counter or use Paypal shipping if I can't get to the post office. 


Date Posted: 4/23/2011 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,807
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I bought a scale and I use a good tape; I use Staples brand often unless Scotch is on sale.  Staples is better than Office Depot or my Dollar Store brand.  Other than that I wrap in plastic usually recycled plastic bags or storage gallon/quart bags from the dollar store or Wal-Mart.  I do tape well esp. corners and edges.  I am a mummifier.  I use a seam ripper to cut my parcels open esp. when they use the two page wrapper from PBS.  I have not cut a book yet, knock on wood.

When I shop I look for boxes, cardboard or anything sturdy enough to use as mailers.  Some stores will let you take the boxes home if you ask nicely.  There was a place on this forum that someone on here let us know was having a sale on mailers, the plastic ones.  I bought a whole bunch, two sizes, one for pbs and the other for hbs.  But I still wrap in plastic as it could get slit open in transit.  My cost was like .04 cents for the small and .08 or .10 cents for the bigger one.  Be creative but make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand postal machinery.

Welcome to PBS!