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Topic: Wrapping books in single sheets of paper

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Subject: Wrapping books in single sheets of paper
Date Posted: 5/30/2009 11:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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For some reason I have had a rash of books arriving, just barely, that are wrapped in one sheet of paper.  I BEG of you, please don't do this!  I have received three books in the past month that have arrived with one edge of the single-sheet wrapping completely torn away and one book didn't arrive at all.  I got the wrapper with the end completely torn away and no book.

Please use a DOUBLE THICKNESS of paper as recommended by PBS or use heavy brown paper or padded mailers and reinforce the corners with packing tape.  Your fellow PBS members thank you!!


ETA:  If the book is larger than a MMPB, for example, a trade paperback, or if it is a hardback book, padded envelopes or sturdy brown paper is recommended.  I have a large roll of thick brown paper that I keep handy.  This roll has lasted nearly a year and I'm only about half way through the roll.  It's a good investment to buy a roll of good packing paper.

Last Edited on: 5/31/09 12:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: One sheet of paper....oh my
Date Posted: 5/30/2009 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,448
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....What LeeAnne said.....DITTO

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 12:40 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 376
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Amen - but yer preachin' to the choir, here in the forum. When I receive a poorly wrapped book, even in good condition, I PM the sender and say something like, thanks for the book, it came in good condition but... and outline the problem and mention how it says to wrap in the guidelines, so maybe they'll get it right on the next book they send. Then I thank them again for sending the book, just to be clear there wasn't a problem with the book, just the wrap.

Geez, it even says it on the paper you print USE BOTH SHEETS. How hard is that? (Oh well, I'm sure I've done things wrong before too!)

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 12:52 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2009
Posts: 53
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Wow.  I don't think I've sent a book I could just wrap in one sheet of paper.  All the books required the two sheets of the wrapper just to cover the entire book.  Maybe I just have bigger books? 

Maybe I'm doing it wrong though?  I use one sheet to cover the back, the other to cover the front.  They overlap on the edges and sometimes almost across the whole book, but not quite.  I also wrap my book in a paper towel then a double layer of siran wrap.  I've not gotten any negative feedback... I sure hope they've all been wrapped adequately. 

I treasure my books and sometimes it's even hard to send them to the next person.  lol  I certainly want them to arrive in the condition I sent them in. 

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 1:05 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Wel, Jaime, I'd say that if no one has complained then they're probably getting there okay.  The big thing is to have the book covered in a double layer of paper and packing tape on the edges because the edges get a lot of wear.


Date Posted: 5/31/2009 1:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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"Maybe I'm doing it wrong though?  I use one sheet to cover the back, the other to cover the front.  They overlap on the edges and sometimes almost across the whole book, but not quite.  I also wrap my book in a paper towel then a double layer of siran wrap.  I've not gotten any negative feedback... I sure hope they've all been wrapped adequately. "

That sounds like essentially the equivalent of one layer of paper, and if you need to do it that way, you're probably sending fairly large books, which tend to be too heavy for the paper wrap anyway.  It sounds like a risky method to me. The other layers help, but if the paper layer gets torn away, the book won't have an address.

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 2:22 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Books really need two layers of paper everywhere to protect from damage, especially the corners.  I have received books wrapped like Jamie,  and will agree with Willa that it's kinda risky.  Although some arrive in good condition, IME they have a higher rate of postal damage.  The bigger and heavier the book, the more I would recommend heavier paper and/or wrapping material. 

For a larger hardback such as Eldest by Christopher Paolini (2+ inch thick), one layer is just not adequate...upon arrival the corners are smushed, wrinkled and rounded, and I've seen the wrapper torn resulting in additional damage to the book and/or dustjacket.  Two pages is almost adequate, although the corners still arrive smushed.  Brown paper (recycled bags) is excellent for shipping bigger/heavier books.  Boxes and bubble mailers work well also. 

According to PBS directions, Jamie is wrapping her books correctly.  Based on my experiences, I would encourage sturdier protection from the Sampsonite Gorilla employed by USPS...is it Bernhard who dubbed it "Media Maul"?

Last Edited on: 5/31/09 2:25 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/31/2009 3:32 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I have to agree - I should have said that if these are large or HC's you really should be using something more substantial.  My bad!  For heavy HC's I use some bubble wrap or cut up padded mailers (that can no longer be used as mailers) to pad the book - the edges and corners of a HC can get bent.  I don't send many large HC's out.  The Hc's I send out are small - about the size of a normal trade-size paperback (not the large size), and they aren't hard to package.  they still need to be wrapped tightly with plenty of packing tape.  I only send out pb's in poly mailers.  I don't use the PBS wrapper any more. 


Date Posted: 5/31/2009 3:49 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Sorry Jaime, but I have to agree with the other posters.  You should be able to lay both sheets of the 8.5 X 11" sheets of paper on top of each other (creating a double layer of paper) and then wrap both of those sheets around the book just like you are wrapping a present.   Almost all books larger than a standard mass paperback size will be too large for this wrapping method, and you should use heavier paper or bubble mailers.  For hardbacks I always use a bubble mailer, because even double wrapping isn't always enough to protect the corners of a hardback.

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 5/31/2009 5:08 AM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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Yep, as others have said, preaching to the choir here.

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 7:25 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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You should be able to lay both sheets of the 8.5 X 11" sheets of paper on top of each other (creating a double layer of paper) and then wrap both of those sheets around the book just like you are wrapping a present.

I think it's better to "present" wrap one sheet at a time, not both together.  For PB books that are bigger than the standard size, I've taped two pieces together, wrapped and then done the same again WHEN I don't have a large envelope available to use (preferred).  I've never gotten a book just wrapped in a single sheet of paper, but I have gotten ones that have used Scotch tape only and I've been surprised (and lucky) that none have arrived damaged.   


Date Posted: 5/31/2009 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 376
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Brown paper (recycled bags) is excellent for shipping bigger/heavier books.

I have to slightly disagree - almost every single package I've received wrapped in brown paper has arrived torn at the edges (not the seams) - brown paper is apparently subject to tearing and packages wrapped in it should be taped at every edge for protection - that is my experience. So, it's only excellent if taped appropriately.

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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Brown paper needs to reinforced by packing tape at every corner. And one sheet of anything paper, printer paper, brown paper, manilla envelopes included, need to be taped at the edges, and corners. I tape around the edge of the whole package, like a picture frame of tape. And then some tape across the front, over the address, from edge to edge to reinforce it a bit. That way if the USPS machines get rough, the address will still be attached.

And I agree with the others who have mentioned that a book that is not wrapper properly should be brought to the sender's attention in a PM. The book you save may be your own!

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 9:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/22/2008
Posts: 836
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Well, I had a first yesterday.  The book was wrapped in saran wrap.  Yes, just saran wrap.  The one sheet of paper with my address on it was taped to the front and shortened to fit (so it did not wrap around to the back).  Then packaging taped over the saran wrap.....but not enough to cover every edge.

When I got my mail, I saw through the back of the saran wrap first, and immediately expected to find damage due to the lack of wrapping.  I'm convinced angels carried this across country.....because it was perfect.  There is no way this book went near any postal machines....it would have been shredded. 

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 9:52 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2009
Posts: 11,130
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Actually, Jaime's method sounds like the PBS instructions for how to wrap a book.  I don't follow their instructions exactly, but I basically do this over Saran Wrap and then add tape along the seams, edges, and address.  No one has said anything to me yet and I haven't ever had someone mark one RWAP.  For hardbacks, I use envelopes, but almost all paperbacks go out in the wrapper.  I've never received a book wrapped with both pages together, but I've received many wrapped the way I do.

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 63
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Since I joined PBS, every time I go to the grocery store I say "paper, please"!

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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As you can clearly see, there are many different methods that work for wrapping books.   I wouldn't change what I'd been doing if I had no complaints.   Some of the methods others yell about, I've used successfully time after time (such as the brown paper).   I do use lots of strong tape.           I think methods of wrapping are like opinions, we all have ours and think it's the perfect one!  lol

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 11:38 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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I've been using those brown lawn & leaf bags. I cut off about 18"-20" inches off the bottom to use to hold my paper recycling, and use the rest of the bag for books - the bags are double layered so I pull the layers apart, twice as many books can be wrapped. The paper is slightly thicker than the grocery paper bags; very sturdy.


Date Posted: 5/31/2009 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
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Okay, I am in the VAST minority here. I use poly bubble mailers for paperbacks and boxes for hardcovers (in ziplock bags first). Overkill I know, but the receiver is always appreciative. I do use recycled materials when available, of course!


Date Posted: 5/31/2009 12:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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I sometimes use bubble mailers or the plain 6x9 (?) manila envelopes for the smaller, thinner books like Silhouette Desire, Harlequin Presents, books that size. I don't have a printer here at home and I can't do shipping labelst at work because they've blocked a lot of websites, so I've never used the printed wrapper and inside sheet. I used to have a slew of bubble mailers when I'm selling books online but when I stopped doing that I gave the mailers away to a friend who owns a used book store - who knew I'd be with PBS two years later and could really use the mailers!

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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This thread must have stuck with me because last night I dreamed I received a book that was only wrapped in a plastic newpaper sleeve!!  I wasn't happy when I saw it!!  LOL!!  ;D


Date Posted: 5/31/2009 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,283
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I received a book wrapped only in a ziplock bag once. The address was on an index card slipped inside. They did tape the ziplock tightly around the book, though   :)

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I just ran out of bubble mailers the other day (which I found out when I went to share some of my stash with another member) so I went to order a new batch.  Normally I use the kraft paper bubble mailers, which I get for about 15 cents each in bulk, but I found a good deal on poly mailers so I ordered a couple of cases of those.  Actually turned out cheaper than the kraft paper bubble mailers.  (about 11 cents each vs. 15 cents each, size #0)

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 11:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,631
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I actually don't seem to have the fine-motor skills to do the PBS wrapper, so I use bubble mailers or manila envelopes lined with plastic.  All recycled of course!

Date Posted: 6/1/2009 7:53 AM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 70
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This is definitely one of my pet peeves. Surely these people receive books and can see what can happen when it goes through the postal system. Protect your books. Taping is the key. It doesn't matter how you wrap something, but if you don't use enough shipping tape, it's going to come undone, torn edges, etc. When I first joined PBS, I went to Staples and purchased a roll of white paper and a big roll of bubble wrap. I am still using the paper and the bubble wrap.