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Topic: Venting about Wrapping

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Subject: Venting about Wrapping
Date Posted: 4/8/2009 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 70
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Today I received two books that were not properly wrapped in my honest opinion. Ok, I know that you can use one sheet of printing paper to wrap books. This is not enough. The package had hardly any tape and the tape it did have was scotch tape. The book was not protected in any way, no plastic wrapping, nothing and the paper  was torn in several places. The book itself had some krinkled edges due to shipping. I am really surprised that the book was still in the sheet of paper.

The other book I received was in a brown envelope, again with no added protection at all. Surprisingly, the book actually arrived in good condition, but again, the envelope had torn in several places during the shipping process because of lack of enough tape.

It really makes a big difference in how packages are wrapped and protected. These packages get thrown and banged around so much, that they just have to have some extra protection.

When I use envelopes of any type, they are always the bubble mailers. When I wrap a book in paper, I always wrap it first in bubble wrap. My books always arrive in the same shape that I sent them.

Ok, I feel a little better. Thanks for letting me vent and thanks for listening.

Date Posted: 4/8/2009 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2007
Posts: 765
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You're welcome.

I received a book with wrappings similar to what you described.  I PM'd the sender and explained the the book was very close to coming out of it's wrapper and thus becoming a lost book.  I explained how I wrapped mine.

I'm not sure how well my message was received because I did not get a reply.  At least I tried.



Last Edited on: 4/8/09 11:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/8/2009 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,213
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Ok, I know that you can use one sheet of printing paper to wrap books.

No you cannot. The wrapping instructions clearly say 2 sheets, the single sheet wrapper is for use as a label on another packaging form only.

This is not enough.

Exacly why it is not allowed.

two books that were not properly wrapped in my honest opinion

And according to the site standards. I hope you educated them so no more books falls victim to their lack of knowledge. Sorry your book got banged up.

Date Posted: 4/8/2009 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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Melanie- I think she was talking physically. You CAN often physically wrap a book in one sheet of paper. It IS possible, even if the rules say you aren't supposed to. So, she's saying that just because you CAN do it doesn't mean you're supposed to.

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 12:28 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I got one as well today like that - from a new member.  To be fair it was 3 books.  She used the PBS wrapper and wrapped each book in plastic wrap.  But when it arrived it had been torn completely open at one end and the plastic on one book was torn open as well.  The address label portion was torn almost completely off.  It was acomplete disaster that miraculously the 3 books survived in good shape.  I wrote her with feedback on the wrapping and suggested that she not use the PBS wrapper for 3 books again.  I was appreciative of the plastic because that was what saved the books.  She needed to use more tape.  And she needed to use packing tape to wrap around all 3 books in both directions to keep the books in one big brick.  Then she needed to find some other heavy duty material to wrap that brick of books in.  I hope I was kind - I'm not sure I was - but I tried to be.  I really do give her credit because most new members don't go as far as she did.


Date Posted: 4/9/2009 1:59 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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Lots and lots of packing tape is the key!

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 2:34 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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I received three book packages in one day last week.  Package one: two books wrapped in two sheets of copier paper, all edges covered with good strong tape - no plastic underneath.   Book arrived in great shape, even though it looked as if someone had played kickball with it in the PO parking lot.     Book two: In a plain manila envelope - envelope folded and taped that it fit the book snugly - no damage at all.   Book three: wrapped in fairly thin (thinner than a grocery bag) brown paper - well taped - plastic bag underneath.  Brown paper torn in a few places but not badly - book in great condition.  

I think the key in all three was the tape and the snug fit.

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 7:23 AM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 70
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I think you're right about the tape. I myself probably go overboard because I tend to use too much tape, but it's better to be safe than sorry. I don't know how my PM's came across, but I hope it was good constructive criticism. And yes, I was stating a fact that it is physically possible to wrap a book in one sheet of printing paper. I'm not sure that a lot of people realize what these books go through from the time you mail them in your town to when they arrive several states later. And when you use an envelope, nothing wrong with that, but you do have to secure it by folding over the excess and using a lots of tape. Most of the books I receive are very well wrapped, but I guess once in awhile, you get some that are not wrapped good. Not sure if I will get a response from my PMs, but we'll see. Another thing is if it had been raining and these books were left by my front door, they would have been soaked through, since my mailbox will not hold too many books at one time.

Anissa (WVgrrl) - ,
Date Posted: 4/9/2009 9:55 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
Posts: 432
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I got a very large textbook-sized paperback of about 900 pages a few weeks ago. It had been put in an grocery store plastic bag. Then the sender wrapped brown paper around half of it and held it together with one round of packing tape. The whole thing was torn apart by the time it got to me. To make it worse, it wasn't even the right book. (Similar book, but not the ISBN that it had been listed under.) That was probably the worst wrapping I've gotten. Most are very well wrapped with lots of tape.

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 3/26/2009
Posts: 131
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I guess I try to make sure the book gets to the ordering person in the condition it was in when I finished reading it. It may be overkill but I use bubble mailers for every book.

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Over my 3+ years of membership and several hundred books both sent and received, it has been my observation that that PBS instructions for wrapping a book are usually more than sufficient IF they are followed correctly.

RE Tape and how much to use:  Scotch tape definitely won't work, and the PBS instructions clearly tell people NOT to use it.   You need packing tape, but you really don't have to mummify the package.   What is important is taping up all points that are most likely to catch on the machinery and get ripped - which are the ends of the package, the corners, and all seams.

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2009
Posts: 158
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This week it took one of my recipients about 10 minutes to get through all of my tape.  But, hey, the book arrived in perfect condition.  :)

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 9/12/2008
Posts: 35
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"Lots and lots of packing tape is the key!"

I agree!  I actually wonder if some of my transactions if people have trouble opening the package, I wrap it so thoroughly!  No PM complaints yet, so I guess I'm doing okay.

I received one book that was just a block of packing tape. Every possible inch was coated in tape. Very difficult to open, but . . . the book arrived in great shape, so I had no complaints. I just looked at it as a challenge. ;-)  Used a dulled razor blade and viola!

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 2,608
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I lucked out twice recently.  Someone sent me 2 trade-sized paperbacks of a series I am collecting.  Both books were placed in the same manilla envelope.  That's fine, of course.  No plastic was around the books.  The envelope wasn't folded tightly against the books - just sealed as is.  No packing tape was used on the envelope.  The package arrived in my mailbox with a huge gaping hole in one corner, exposing one corner of both books to the elements.  Fortunately the elements wre kind and the books were in wonderful condition.  Both the sender and I were lucky.

Another recent book was received wrapped in what looked like a brown grocery bag.  No pastic or packing tape.  Two corner were ripped open but not huge rips.  Again, the book was in great shape.

I'm feeling lucky and grateful.

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I absolutely hate "mummified" books.  You know, the ones in layers of tape covering every square millimeter of surface area.  There have been more than a few of them that I've seriously damaged trying to open.  Just sitting here at my desk now I have three such mummies sitting unopened in a box in the corner because I don't want to deal with the hassle of getting them opened.  It was easier to just request second copies.

I appreciate when someone takes the time and trouble to really protect a book, and I hate when one arrives damaged because of poor wrapping, but let the poor book breathe a tiny bit!  Leave a spot where a knife or other tool can get in to open the poor thing.  If wrapping in the PBS wrapper, or brown paper, leaving a 1/4" of untaped seam on the flat of the book won't make it come apart in the mail, and at least gives the requester a point to start from.

Or, as an alternative, double plastic wrap the book inside the paper, so there's a little padding and a chance the razor, knife or scissors can slip in without cutting the cover.

 ETF: Typo(s)

Last Edited on: 4/9/09 3:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/9/2009 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 6,879
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I wrap in plastic, and use brown paper/bubble mailers/box (for multiple books), make sure it's snug, and then mummify with packing tape; I always leave an open area (or 2)  though, so that the requestor can slip scissors in :)

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2009
Posts: 1,564
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I have a hard time with "mummified" books also.  I appreciate the effort to protect the books, but if I damage it myself trying to get it open then its not worth it.  Lately I've been using bubble mailers to send single books, with multiples going wrapped in plastic, then double wrapped in brown paper.  I do try to tape the ends, seams, etc. well but I don't completely encase it in tape either.

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2008
Posts: 364
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I try to make sure I have mine wrapped securely. For small to medium size I use bubble mailers with tissue paper around the books as well as taping the corners. Large ones get the tissue, plastic  wrap ( dollar store..it's worth it) and the brown paper with packing tape on the edges and corners. I recieved a very large book ( 800 pages and heavy) that had only the printer paper as wrapping. It had split on the ends and it had been raining.Luckily it did not get wet. That was the second one I had recieved like that.  A dollar store roll of plastic wrap and a roll of packing tape from there isn't a big investment, and can save someone having to give a credit back due to a damaged book.  I get my bubble mailers (two to a pack) , tape, tissue and plastic there. 

Kate -
Date Posted: 4/9/2009 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2008
Posts: 534
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Last Edited on: 5/12/09 6:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/9/2009 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 439
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I think bubble mailers are the way to go. I have received many books using just the printed paper with lots of tape. While I am grateful that the books have all arrived in good condition, I find it frustrating to spend 10 minutes trying to dig through an inch of tape without damaging the book itself. I have used paring knives, scissors and even box cutters and just find it all a cumbersome process. I have ended up slicing the book itself in more than one instance. I know it is an extra cost, but bubble mailers are easy to use and protect the books wonderfully and easy to open at the end. Just my two cents worth..........

Currently reading:  Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer and The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Check out my bookshelf - I have over 150 books and I'm fairly new to the club! My home is SMOKE FREE and books are in very good condition for the most part. :)

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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PBS guidelines for wrapping work great.  Bubble mailers are nice (and water resistant), but they can be damaged esp. if oversized.  I use more tape on recycled buble mailers b/c they develop weak spots.   I'm seeing more plain manilla envelopes, often oversized with no plastic underwrap...this invites postal disaster. It's very simple (and safer) to fold down manilla for a closer fit. 

On a recent trip to my Post Office, a customer behind me was shocked to see the clerk "toss" my books into a bin - especially when one missed and fell on the floor.  The customer was unaware that the clerk knew the "media mail" package was not fragile.  The same clerk later informed me he's visited the local area sorting facility, and says employees there commonly toss packages across the room, and admits many packages receive rough handeling.  Warrendale, PA in particular as a known black hole for packages - many go missing or damaged there  (including one of mine).

PS - also not a fan of "mummy" book bricks.  I've damaged several books attempting to remove over enthusiastic amounts of shipping tape.

Last Edited on: 4/9/09 4:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/9/2009 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I see books sent with bubble mailers alot at work and I must admit they ARENT the best thing to use.  I have seen more books damaged due to them then from books sent in unpadded envelopes that have been folded down and sized to fit the book.  I think the main issue is they arent designed to be used many times and break down or tear at common folding points. Plus bubble mailers can get wet if they are not taped at the sealed end. (Seen this happen loads of times).

As for no plastic wrapping, many of us do not think about it because we dont live in a storm prone area. It is also not a requirement of PBS so if you want it then create an RC.


Date Posted: 4/9/2009 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
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I think a recycled bubble mailer will hold up for extra trips if it has been fitted tight to the book and taped on any weak/thin spots, including corners and sides of the book.


It seems like the main determiners of a succesful wrap job are packing tape and fitting the covering (whatever that is) close to the book.

Last Edited on: 4/9/09 7:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/9/2009 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/12/2009
Posts: 869
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i know when i first joined, stupid me failed to read the wrapping instructions. i sadly sent out my first 3 books with scotch tape. after i had sent off the books, i pm'd the recipents what i had done and if their books arrived all banged up or what have you, i would give them back their credit ... it's the least i could do because i should i have read all the instructions properly. they all apprecaited it and said the books all arrived fine which i was glad about since they were all wish list books.

Subject: Wrapping books
Date Posted: 4/9/2009 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,443
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I sent a hardbound book off today.  It fit into a regular mailla envelope. The book was wrapped in a good supply of plastic first.  I am in the well taped but noy completely mummified. I have tape going the long way asw well as the short way, but I leave spots that can be a way to get into the book.