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Topic: Not using PBS mailer?

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Subject: Not using PBS mailer?
Date Posted: 6/20/2010 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2010
Posts: 94
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Hi, I just joined the site tonight and I was looking around the message boards.  It seems like a lot of people get mad if a book is mailed to them in the PBS mailer?  Should I not use that when mailing books?  It seems like a lot of people were suggesting wrapping the book in plastic first then wrapping in paper.  Can someone please clarify the best, most accepted way of mailing a book?  

Date Posted: 6/20/2010 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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Welcome Sandra. You will find there are as many ways to wrap books as there are members. The best tip that I can offer you is to use a good amount of packing tape and wrap whatever you are using tight to the package, taping all seams and edges.

Many people like to use bubble mailers, some like the tyvek envelopes, some like to use brown craft paper or cut up a paper grocery bag and use them.

The PBS wrapper works great on most mass market paperbacks. I use a inner wrap of plastic. Left over plastic. I dont think buy plastic is necessary for me to water proof a package. There is enough plastic that finds its way into my house to recycle much of it to use for books.

Hard Cover or larger Trade Size paperbacks probably wont fit real well in the PBS wrapper, but you can still use the inner plastic and some printer paper on these too, if you enough peices of paper to cover the book on all surfaces at least double. And again, Tape, Tape, Tape.

Some members recycle light cardboard boxes for large or hard covers, like cereal boxes. They wont add too much to the weight of the package but will povide some additional protection for the book. Squinch up some news paper to take up the loose room in the box so the book doesnt shift around tryin to dig its way out of the box. And again, Tape, Tape, Tape.

I reuse every bubble mailer that are sent to me with the books I order. I carefully cut them open near an edge and reuse them. Even if only half of the bubble envelope is still usable, I put that end over an edge of the book, add the plastic wrap, tape tightly and find some stiff strong paper for the outer wrapping. Again, Tape, Tape, Tape.

I used to open my mail over the garbage pail in my kitchen. Now I open my mail over a basket near my desk. Everything that can be used to mail a book in goes in the basket. The only thing I ever buy is tape.

You will find what works best for you, experiment a bit to see. And use materials according to the book type. Wrap whatever it is tightly around the book, and, yes, again, Tape, Tape, Tape.



Date Posted: 6/20/2010 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2010
Posts: 134
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There doesn't seem to be just one accepted way of mailing, however the general consensus seems to be that if you are going to use the pbs wrapper to mail you book it would be best to wrap your book in some sort of plastic first.  I wrap my books tightly in an old shopping bag (clean of course) and then use the PBS wrapper.  Otherwise I just reuse any bubble mailers or poly mailers that come in my mail.  Just make sure the old label is completely covered by the new label.

Date Posted: 6/20/2010 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I use the PBS mailer for mass market paperbacks.  I don't for hardbacks and trade sized.  It just does not work well for the bigger books.  Makes it just too hard.  Received way too many books with the label taped directly to the trade sized book, damaging the book.  I print the one page label for the larger books.

I'm using old road maps to wrap in.  The paper is more sturdy than the paper bags from my grocery store.  Quality of paper bags really varies widely. 

One thing to NEVER use is the free Priority mail wrappers.  Don't reuse them.  They do not work for media mail or first class mail.  They arrive postage due.

And Welcome!

Last Edited on: 6/20/10 11:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/21/2010 12:08 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,090
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I use the PBS wrapper for most paperbacks. It works just fine. Also, I receive about 30% to 40% of paperbacks in the paper wrapper. As long as they are taped well, they work out very nicely.

I just use plastic wrap to wrap my books before I wrap them in the paper wrapper. It's very cheap and gives it some protection against rain. Or coffee spills, or whatever.

I've mailed more than 600 (at least 90% in the PBS wrapper) and I have had only one marked received damaged by the Post Office.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 12:19 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I'm noticing that more and more books are coming out in the larger paperback format than in mmpb's.  That makes it hard to use the PBS wrapper.  But using some sort of plastic under the PBS wrapper makes it about as good as a wrapped book can be. 

The USPS media mail is very hard on packages so they have to be tough.  The worst packaging material IMO is the manila mailer - especially if the book is just dropped into it and mailed without taping it tightly to the form of the book.  Manila mailers (and Tyvek mailers) can be opened up to lie flat and wrap a book like a present.  That would make it a much better material to use.  But as a mailer it is very brittle and the book frequently will tear it up from the inside and get lost.  The USPS is only concerned with getting the envelope with the address label to you - they aren't considered to be liable for the contents going missing.

Basically I think that plastic underwrap, form-fitted wrapping and generous use of packing tape ( not Scotch "Magic" tape) are all that is necessary in getting a book to the requester with the greatest degree of success.

Welcome to PBS and I hope you love it here as much as I do!


Date Posted: 6/21/2010 12:24 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 37,169
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Welcome Sandra-

As the others have said, just make sure you wrap well, taping all sides with packing or packaging tape.  Do Not Use scotch tape.  I always prewrap with plastic (I use the plastic sleeves that the newspaper is delivered in) to keep the books dry.  And as others have said, I re-use mailers that other books were sent in.  I also cover the address with a piece of tape so it doesn't run.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 12:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I receive books wrapped in the PBS mailer and have no problem with it. I also mail (the majority) books in the two PBS recommended sheets and have never had a complaint.

I also only use plastic on rare occasions. Like for multiple orders or in winter. Also no complaints.

I think as long as the book is wrapped tightly and lots of tape is used on the seams to make sure it's secure, then everything is fine 99% of the time. There are always going to be freak accidents but they are rare.

Also, the forums aren't a good way to judge the membership as a whole. It's such a small sampling. For example, the majority that post in the forums seem to always say you should use plastic, but I hardly ever receive them that way, even in winter when you might expect more protection from wet weather. So I don't think it's a very big deal like it might appear from reading the forums.

Welcome to PBS! Do what works for you and I think you'll be very happy. smiley

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 12:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Yes.  Loose in any envelope is the worse.  If you use an envelope, you need to fold the envelope tight around the book and tape it well.  The machines just love to grab the corners of envelopes and rip them open. 

And packing tape.  I use scotch tape on the underneath plastic wrap as you can take it off.  But scotch tape disappears if there is any humidity.  I also put tape over the label as I have an ink jet printer.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:22 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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Just so you don't misunderstand.  When we say fold the envelope or wrapping tight and tape it we mean tape the PAPER.  Don't ever tape the paper TO the book.  I figure you know that but want to make sure no one misunderstands.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:30 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome to PBS Sandra!  Lots of good advice above, so I'll only add that many members appreciate plastic underwrap.  I also place the insert portion of the PBS label inside the plastic underwrap...JIC there's a problem with the outer mailing label USPS can still deliver the book.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 7:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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You can still use the PBS printed wrapper on trade-size PBs, but you'll need to tape additional sheets together to adequately cover the book (so use 4 sheets rather than just the 2 printed ones).  I've done this numerous times, made sure to tape the sheets together well and also tape the wrapper well, and have gotten no complaints. 

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 8:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I rarely wrap in plastic and I've never had anyone complain about a wet book. I don't mummify them with tape either.  I will use plastic if the RC asks nicely. 

Once you start receiving books you'll get bubble mailers you can reuse.  I bought a box of catelog envelopes. Those work great for tradesize and mmps.  I put them in sideways, then fold in half and tape really well. Don't let the book just slide around in the envelope.  I've also used cereal boxes, old maps, thick wrapping paper, kids fingerpaint paper and brown paper bag.  Just make sure to tape the corners and edges really well.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 8:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If I'm must mailing an mmp, I'll use the pbs wrapper unless I have an mmp sized bubble mailer handy.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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The P.O. is hard on packages. Very hard. They're not handled gently, and some of the machines they have to go one can catch them wrong and damage them. Even destroy them or seperate them from their wrapper and then they can't get to where they're supposed to go.

And dending on what pound of paper you're using for your printer, the paper may not be strong enough to stand the strain without ripping apart and exposing the book to damage. Basically, it's meant to be printer paper, not wrapping paper, so don't skimp on the tape if that's what you chose to use.

A lot of people like to use 'brown paper', but there are also different qualities to brown paper, from brown mailing paper to shopping bag paper. I've seen brown paper that wouldn't wrap a Christmas package very well, let alone go into the mail. I like to use brown mailing paper, cut down manilla envelopes, and Holiday Card Envelopes. Most times once you trim a Holiday Card envelope down the sides to open it up, it's perfect for MMPB books, and is sturdier than printer paper. And they're only 10 cents each when you buy a box of 100.

So pack the book for a rough trip, not an easy one.

Don't use scotch tape, but a good, clear packing tape all around the book except where the stamps will go. That will go a long way to keeping the book i one piece. Make sure the seams on the edges are taped down really well. Any lose bit or flap can catch in a sorting machine. A book put into a large manilla envelope that's allowed to slide around can get caught in a machine or get the end torn and the book fall out. Plus, sliding around inside can damage the book itself, making tears and crumpling pages. So what ever you pack with, make sure it's tight around the book.

Look at your materials and use common sense. The book usually have a long way to go in rough and crowded conditions. Dress accordingly!

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 11:38 AM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2008
Posts: 832
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Last Edited on: 5/28/11 1:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/21/2010 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2010
Posts: 150
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I would totally recommend wrapping in plastic before mailing and investing in good, sturdy packing tape.  I've only been a member of this site for about a month, but 6 of the 17 books I've received have arrived either wrapped in thin paper with minimal tape or shoved inside a too-big manila envelope with minimal tape...and have been water damaged (two got shredded on top of this) en route and are no longer postable.  I can still read the books (even the shredded ones, which were mostly damaged through the cover and first few pages of intro/credits/etc., but it is a little disappointing to get a book I can't post again when I'm done.  We've been having a very rainy summer so far in the Midwest, though.

Because of this I've been mailing mine in bubble mailers, wrapped in plastic and taped to the size of the book (using generous amounts of tape).  I've mailed out 66 books and had no complaints about damage, water or otherwise (knock on wood!).

Last Edited on: 6/21/10 12:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/21/2010 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 37,169
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I also place the insert portion of the PBS label inside the plastic underwrap...JIC there's a problem with the outer mailing label USPS can still deliver the book.

Good advice,  I do the same thing.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2010
Posts: 94
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Thank you everyone for the tips!  The books I posted have already been requested, so I'm off to mail them!