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Topic: Wrapping outgoing books in plastic

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Subject: Wrapping outgoing books in plastic
Date Posted: 5/26/2017 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,742
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How important is it to you that senders wrap books in plastic? I've had a couple of people complain to me lately because I don't even though the books have arrived without damage.

Thing is, my county (and several others in my state) has banned plastic shopping bags, so I don't have them available to me anymore. And I can't really afford to use things like garbage bags since I have to pay for them. 100% of the materials I use for shipping are recycled because I'm on a limited income (disability) and buying new shipping materials would price me right off of PBS. I don't get much bubble wrap and what I do get I use on the sister sites because the items are fragile. I considered using bread bags but decided against it because some people have food allergies plus we just don't eat a lot of bread in our house.

Date Posted: 5/26/2017 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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Bren, what about using the plastic wrap on paper towels or toilet paper?  I find the plastic wrap on 6 pks of paper towel to be useful for lots of things.  I have never used it to wrap a book but I would if needed.  Also the Kleenex tissue 3-4 pk boxes have plastic wrap. 

Date Posted: 5/26/2017 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,585
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I really appreciate when books are wrapped in plastic, To me it's like a 'just in case' courtesy. But I don't worry about it if they're not. Around here it can make a difference during the rainy season, which is going to start soon. Even if it's in a regular mailbox out of the direct rain, if a book sits outside all day it can get pretty damp. All of the mailers I use are re-used, and I also always wrap in plastic, but I have tons of it.

Our county no longer recycles plastic bags (they're not banned though I try to remember my reuseable grocery bags) so plastic 'film' has to be taken to the grocery store dropoff. I'm overrun with plastic though. I always rinse and recycle all the plastic from food, but wouldn't use it for mailing. But from drycleaners bags, newspaper bags, prescription packaging, plastic overwrap from paper towels & cartons of drinks or pet food, etc. I still have too much to use for wrapping. It's just two of us so it's not as though we are super-consumers. However, if you don't get enough of it coming in free, you could probably get something from the dollar store. Even a $1 roll of plastic wrap would cover quite a few books.

Date Posted: 5/26/2017 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,411
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I don't unless asked to do so, however I do use bubble-wrap envelopes to send books most of the time.  Pat

Date Posted: 5/26/2017 3:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,178
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I use plastic wrap and I buy it at the 99 cent store. Costs just pennies per book to wrap in plastic wrap. (Don't use Press-n-Seal, it has a coating that comes off on books).

I haven't received any books that were damaged during mailing (that plastic would have protected).

But I always wrap mine in plastic and I think it's a good idea, especially in the winter months (really anytime because even though you may not live in a rainy/snowy location, you may be mailing to completely different weather).

I've mailed out more than one book where the receiver told me that the plastic wrapping saved it from becoming damaged.




Date Posted: 5/26/2017 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 822
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I wrap in plastic - no ban on plastic bag here. If there was think I would use cling wrap or recycle the plastic from other things I buy.

Date Posted: 5/26/2017 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2007
Posts: 1,045
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I currently use the Cling Wrap, but long before I would use the waxed-paper bags that cerial came in (wheaties, corn flakes etc) - I would turn them inside out and wash them in the sink, then let them air dry on the dishes. I mostly used them for the hard backs. 

Why wrap? I'm in NC - spring, summer, fall is rainy days whenever you lest expect - not everyone here has a nice protected mail box to ensure packages stay dry - it's worse (or better?) down in Florida and Louisiana - I've only had one person complain about using plastic wrap and a thousand thank-you's for using it. I've mailed out over 13,000 books so far.

You might also watch at places like Walmart and the big food chains for when folks bring in their bags (Plastic) for dropping off in a recycle bin - most would be happy to give it to you if you ask - the 1st step in recycling is reuse - just let them know you have a good use for it.

I save my shopping bags up for the local Thrift Stores just because they re-use them at the counter - they are always very appreciative. 

If worse comes to worse just order 1 book from me and let me know you need the bags - I'll pack a years supply as 'packing material' to protect that books delivery to you as a Media Mail thingy. 

Good Luck,- 
Danny N (Alameda) - Havelock NC 

PS - Another source of my plastic bags - Whenever I go to any store or office place and they have those Umbrella Bags - I take at least one (sometimes 2 - never more, don't get greedy) going in and fold them up and either place on my shopping cart so stuff don't fall thru the wires where the kids sit. After I paid for whatever I've bought I slip those bags in with my paid merchandise - going out the door I'll grab another one (or 2) - no one has ever stopped me to ask me what the heck am I doing - if they did I would just tell them I feel like I'm going to upchuck and didn't want to make a mess, please Stand Back! - I have a couple of hundred of these things now and use them for the Trades and HB-s - one or two at a time quickly adds up/ As a token for my taking these things I pay back by picking up merchandise that others drop on the floor and put them back in their place whenever I come across that kinda stuff - gotta keep the karma balanced/

(edited to add a little more)

Last Edited on: 5/27/17 5:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 5/26/2017 7:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,579
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I don't spend money for the various plastics I wrap books in. My primary plastic wrapping is the plastic bags from the supermarket, not the ones you use to carry food home, but the plastic bags I get in the produce section which they provide to put the produce in.  When I transfer the produce to my fridge, the bags go into a large tupperware bin. These are very, very light and you can fit MMPBs and TBBs in them easily. Quite often other members send me books in zip lock bags and I save those to ship my books to others. It's amazing how you can accumulate enough plastic, even for large HBs, if you just work at it a little.

This week I received a TB wrapped in bubble wrap and clear tape. I've never received one like that before.

Date Posted: 5/26/2017 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,698
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I use cling wrap.  You can get a roll at the dollar store and it lasts a LONG time.

Unless the receiver has a requestor condition to wrap the book in plastic, then you do not need to.

Date Posted: 5/26/2017 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,550
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This cracks me up:

I've had a couple of people complain to me lately because I don't even though the books have arrived without damage.â

What is the use of compaining when there is no problem?  

I do wrap in plastic.  I buy a box of ziplock bags from the dollar store then tape the heck out of them with packaging tape.   My reason, I like the see-thru-ed-ness because I had a rash of books being inspected for using media mail. I figure, 2 birds, one stone.  And I occasionally sometimes get complaints.  The last even marked it with problem and this was the note:

"you need better wrapping than a plain plastic wrap and the paper label you print from a printer. Certain climates cannot stand up to the flimsy wrapping.

They did not answer when I inquired if the book was damaged.   And I do wrap completely in packaging tape.  So no, I dont need better wrapping.  And neither do you I am sure.  



Date Posted: 5/27/2017 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 12/2/2007
Posts: 123
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I always put books being mailed in a clear plastic bag or wrap for protection.   I also put the requestor's name and address with the book so if the outer wrapping gets damaged, the postal service can hopefully send the book on to it's destination.

Date Posted: 5/27/2017 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2008
Posts: 3,693
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Last Edited on: 8/16/17 2:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/28/2017 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 16,609
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I recycle most of the packaging I get from PBS senders including plastic. I also save whatever packaging including inner wraps come with things we've ordered from amazon & such. I don't bother with inner wrapping when I have a good mailer available but always try to include it when it's just envelopes. I don't ship even mmpbs just wrapped in sheeted of paper.

Date Posted: 5/28/2017 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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While I do always send my books wrapped in plastic, or reused bubble bags, I am of the opinion that is a receiver has a leaky mailbox or is receiving books with water damage in transit then they should use an RC requiring plastic, that is their responsibility, not mine. I've had people tell me off for using plastic because don't I know they live in the desert? Don't they know it was raining cats and dogs when I mailed their book? You can't please all the people all the time, so if mailing in plastic is a problem for you, then don't...save your limited supply of plastic for people who have a RC for it.

Last Edited on: 5/28/17 11:30 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/28/2017 3:00 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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I'm with Sally on this one.  If wrapping in plastic is important to the receiver, it's incumbent on them to have an RC to that effect.  Then you have the opportunity to decide whether you're in a position to mail it. 

Date Posted: 5/28/2017 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 3,090
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I know that I have no idea what condition the recipients mailbox is in or what their weather is like, but I try to wrap my books (& DVDs & CDs) assuming the worst. I don't know those things (and probably woudn't think to ask), but the mailman could just as easily leave the package on the porch, set it on top of the mailbox (true story), or any number of things that were even less foreseeable that I couldn't even find out by asking.

I think that it should be mandatory to wrap in such a way that trade items are protected from general laziness/stupidity (more directed spite and extreme incompetence can't really be guarded against).

Date Posted: 5/29/2017 10:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,225
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I wrap in plastic using those air bags companies use in place of packing peanuts these days. But I don't always wrap in plastic when I am in a hurry and if somone complained I didn't when there was no need I'd be a little annoyed. Most of the time the PO is not going to soak a book and it is the exception not the rule when a book is water damaged in transit.

Date Posted: 5/30/2017 8:01 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2005
Posts: 5,689
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I don't use plastic unless specifically asked to do so. I buy mylar envelopes and use those and have never had a complaint.

Date Posted: 6/1/2017 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 54
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I've never wrapped a book in plastic and haven't received any complaints. I prefer that the books I receive not be wrapped in plastic because it's something extra to break through to unwrap the book.

Date Posted: 6/1/2017 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/30/2007
Posts: 9,889
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I don't wrap in plastic (unless I am asked to) I wrap the book in enough tape to cover all the paper, I haven't had a complaint about mailing a wet book. BUT! I am a bit of a weather watcher...(I am wired that way) I listen to weather reports for bad weather...If a book I am sending is headed that way, I will wrap in plastic just to be safe! 

Date Posted: 6/1/2017 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,550
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Practically without exception books sent me using not much more than a PBS wrapper will be badly ripped and the book at least slightly damaged. A popular wrap is a manila envelope resized to fit the book. If they are not reinforced inside with something elastic, they will have at least one tear of 3-4 inches 75% of the time. That is why I use something elastic inside. It protects the book better than one might expect. I use small bubble  wrap to cushion the book and keep it from rattling around in the envelope. Most of the time I will have a bubble envelope someone has sent me a book in. If not, my outside wrap is brown kraft paper that comes in rolls 30 in wide.

I like my books. I do this out of respect for them. No RWAPs for over five years.

Date Posted: 6/2/2017 1:46 AM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 3,090
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Some of the packages I receive w/o padding and/or plastic wrap are actually scuffed or damaged in shipping but are still postable so I don't bother mentioning it to the sender since it's not RWaP damage. I'm torn now if I should let senders know when a book arrives in worse condition then they sent it. I figure the split will be 50/50 or so (like the debate on sending a thank you note for books received). I always just figure that, when something arrives in the PBS wrapper, that the sender is new or just indifferent to the condition of the book as long as they don't have to hear about a RWaP.

Date Posted: 6/2/2017 12:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,178
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I use the PBS wrapper all the time and never had a report of damage. I also receive a lot of books in the PBS wrapper without any damage at all.

It's far more common for packaging to arrive damaged if it's loose. Loose packaging of any type almost always has holes, punctures, or rips in it. I can't tell you how many bubble mailers I have to patch before I can reuse them because they have punctures in them.

They key to avoiding damage to the package is wrapping tightly around the book. That's why the PBS wrapper works so well.

I would far prefer paperbacks to arrive in the PBS wrapper than any other type of packaging.


Date Posted: 6/2/2017 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,225
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I use the PBS wrapper all the time and never had a report of damage. I also receive a lot of books in the PBS wrapper without any damage at all.

Same here. I rarely get a PBS wrapper that is damaged, only a few times on a floppy book or hardcover that was not reinforced on the sides/corners.  Printer paper is much more durable that many of the other options out there.

Date Posted: 6/3/2017 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I too primarily use the PBS wrapper, even on trade sized paperbacks because I have a printer that can use 11x17" paper. I have sent over 5000 books, the vast majority in the paper wrapper and I can remember only 1 book I sent in a wrapper arriving damaged...it had fallen into the gears of PO equipment and no form of wrapping would have saved it. I do use a layer of plastic underneath and tape well, but not mummify. I have received far more damaged-in-the-mail books that were wrapped in other than the wrapper, especially in manilla envelopes. Hardbacks always get a padded envelope tho, they need the cushioning.