Help Center - How to Wrap a Book

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How to wrap a Book

The basics: you are creating a sturdy package that will totally enclose the book(s) in your shipment, using shipping (not the narrower giftwrapping-type) tape, so that the contents will get to the destination safe and sound.

You are not required to use the PBS wrapper.  You can use alternate packaging for any shipment (heavier/larger and multiple-book shipments may require this), using the 1-page PBS Label (the far right layout choice on the Wrapper Settings page) as an address label. You can also hand-write the address on your package.  

Here are the options for how to wrap a book so that it is carried safely to its destination, and arrives in the same condition as it was when it left you!

The 2-page PBS Wrapper:

  • Works well for single paperbacks, or even two small books packaged together - the contents need to be enclosed completely in the packaging.
  • Reinforcing the packaging with shipping (not giftwrapping) tape over seams and corners is a great idea.
  • If you have a larger or heavy book, or a multiple-book shipment to send, the 2-page PBS Wrapper alone will not provide sturdy enough packaging on its own to protect your book(s) en route.  You will need to use alternate packaging methods.
  • You might also consider alternate packaging methods for audio CD books.

The 1-page PBS "Label"

  • Cannot be used alone to wrap a book
  • Is intended for use as an address label on alternate packaging (ie, for multiple-book shipments)

Alternate Packaging:

  • GOOD choices for alternate packaging materials:
    • Heavy brown paper (NB if you use a cut-down grocery sack, you should use DOUBLE LAYER since that paper is recycled and a little soft)
    • Manila envelope
      • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
      • if your envelope has a metal clasp, this can rub against the book cover and cause damage--a piece of tape over the inside portion of the clasp will prevent this.
    • Bubble or padded mailer
    • Tyvek or similar large envelope
      • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
    • Box
      • prevent your books from sliding around inside with crumpled paper (NOT newspaper--the ink can mark the books!) or (clean) plastic shopping bags, balled up.
      • we recommend putting tape around the entire box in both directions - this will help keep the box together as it travels to its destination.  Strapping tape (the one with fibers in it) is great, but packing tape applied tightly around the box will also help with this.
  • POOR choices for alternate packaging materials:
    • Giftwrapping paper (too thin)
    • Newspaper (can smudge ink onto the books, tears easily)
    • Priority mail envelope (this is illegal to use for MediaMail, even if you are reusing it, and even if you turn it inside out!)
      • if you do this, and the package is inspected, it will arrive postage-due at the requestor's, or be returned postage-due to you (the additional postage required will be the difference between postage paid and Priority Mail rate)
      • since this is illegal, a habit of doing this can put you in trouble with the law; it also harms the club to have members breaking the law, so if you break this law it can jeopardize your membership here.
    • Duct Tape (the adhesive does not tolerate temperature shifts well)
    • Scotch Tape (it does not hold well at all)

General Guidelines for Wrapping:

  • Your book(s) must be completely enclosed in the wrapping

  • Use plenty of tape (2" shipping tape, not giftwrapping-type tape aka "Scotch tape", and not duct tape)
    • especially at the corners and seams.
    • You can get shipping tape at any store that sells stationery or shipping supplies.
    • Do not apply tape directly to the book! This can damage the book when the package is opened.
      • If you apply tape directly to the book and it is then damaged when the package is opened, you will not receive a credit.
    • Do not tape over the postage (USPS does not accept this)
    • Do not apply postage to tape (it can fall off)
    • It is okay to apply clear tape over the wrapper if you are sending a package with Printable Postage
      • If you do this, avoid wrinkles in the tape that can interfere with barcode scanning
  • Make sure that all flaps and folds, on whatever type of wrapping you use, are secured tightly to your package.
    • It is easy for flaps or folds that are not secured to get snagged by sorting machines in the USPS system, and this can cause damage to (or loss of) your book.
  • Consider using an inner layer of plastic
    • You can use Saran Wrap, or clean plastic grocery bags, or any kind of clean plastic material
    • Note: please do not use "Press and Seal". This product contains some type of glue that sticks to the books.
      • If you wrap your book in Press and Seal and it is then damaged when the package is opened, you will not receive a credit.
      • If you get a book that was wrapped using Press-and-Seal, a little rubbing alcohol may remove the residue from the book cover.
    • Using an inner layer of plastic in your package can do a lot to protect the package contents from rain and snow during the USPS journey - in soggy weather it can be really helpful!
  • If you are sending an Audio Book (CDs), make sure that the discs are protected from sliding around (a little piece of tissue paper or bubble wrap between each disc and its case can do the trick), and consider a layer of bubble wrap or extra protection *around* the container holding the CDs., under the outside packaging.
  • Tuck page 2 of the PBS wrapper (or a piece of paper with the requestor's name/address on it) inside the book - so that if the package is torn open the book can still be delivered!

If you receive a book that you think was inadequately wrapped

  • We ask that you give gentle feedback to the sender, to help him or her improve wrapping technique.
  • Doing this not only helps the sender, but also all the future members she or he swaps with, and is a service to the Club as a whole.
  • There are many options for wrapping a book. Everyone needs to experiment a little, to find the method that works best for him or her!

Related Links:

Wrapping a Trade Paperback Using the PBS Wrapper
Wrapping Larger/Hardcover/Multiple Books
How to Print the PBS Wrapper
Can I hand-write the address to send a book?
How much does it cost to mail a book?