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Topic: Mummy wrap

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Subject: Mummy wrap
Date Posted: 5/2/2009 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 2,800
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Hi. I've seen a lot of complaints here about "mummy wrappped" books. How do you define "mummy wrap?"

Date Posted: 5/2/2009 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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One where it's completely covered in tape and you need scissors to get it out.  I hate mummified books. I've ruined 2 of them now because they were so hard to open. You can tape them up well withouth mummifying them.

Date Posted: 5/2/2009 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 2,800
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So securing the seams and ends of the book doesn't cause a problem, right? It is only when the front and back are taped up, too, that it becomes excessive.

Date Posted: 5/2/2009 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I secure the seams, the ends and then I put tape around the sides to preven tearing.  But a book doesn't need to be completely covered in tape.  Some people put tape over the whole book which makes it really hard to open.

Subject: Thought I'd share
Date Posted: 5/2/2009 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2008
Posts: 17
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Speaking of mummified books—has anyone else seen the leaflet from the PO that talks about suspicious packages and what to do if you receive one? I was standing in line at the PO a couple of months ago (yes, to mail a PBS book) and noticed this helpful little tract. It detailed the ways to identify a suspicious package and among other things (like a powdery or oily residue or strange shape) it listed excessive tape. It then went on to tell you to notify the authorities if you receive a package that seems suspicious. I just thought that was hysterical thinking of all the books I receive and send that are covered with tape. I hope the Department of Homeland Security hasn’t opened a file on all us PBS members! ;-)
Date Posted: 5/2/2009 4:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I find that when I get the mummy wrapped books that they are so well wrapped that even using scissors I don't run the risk of damaging the book. The tape and multiple layers of papers make it so I cut down to where I can tear it and then go from there by hand without ruining the book. Maybe I've just been lucky though!

If you don't want to risk ruining a book with scissors, a box cutter might make it easier than cutting with scissors.

Date Posted: 5/2/2009 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Mummy wrap, mummy brick...I hate it.  I've cut the covers of at least two books while attempting to liberate them from overenthusiastic use of packing tape.  It really isn't necessary to cover every square quarter inch of book with several layers.  Use more paper and a little less tape, it's cheaper with better results.

Date Posted: 5/2/2009 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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A small exacto knife, or a box cutter with the edge of the razor on the very first click position is the best tool to use to open packages. Whetherthey are books with a lot of tape, boxes of stuff I have ordered, and even envelopes. I have never ruined a book yet, and have gotten a few that were "Very Well Taped'. The trick is to hold the blade perpendicular to the package and stick it in just a 16th of an inch,  just enough to get a piece of the wrapping loose, then work from there to remove the top layer of tape. Do not hold the blade straight down like you are stabbing it. Once you can get a bit of a crevice to work on, the rest is much easier to get off.

When it comes to PBS books, I am in the camp that I would rather have them over wrapped, then poorly wrapped.

Date Posted: 5/2/2009 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I prefer them "mummified" as well.  I do what Cheryl suggested.  All you have to do is get a small portion of the tape up and then you can tear it loose and not have to use any cutting tool.


Date Posted: 5/2/2009 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 182
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OK, so call me Ms. Mummy...... the first time I mailed a book, the recipient was not happy because I did not tape enough even though the book was just fine. So, I started taping them very well. Now I use a tyvek envelope and less tape. At home I have these wonderful little fiskars, snippers that have pointed sharp blades that are very east to slip under the tape on one end and get into the book very easily. I have gotten several lately that were wrapped in layers of christmas wrapping paper with the printed labels as the top layer, then all edges taped. Even after cutting through the tape, there are several layers of paper that protect the book from scissors. Looks like that worked well.

Date Posted: 5/3/2009 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2009
Posts: 227
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I have only received one mummified book.   It was the PBS wrapper competely secured with tape.  There was no protective plastic involved, so I believe the tape acted as the waterproofing.   I didn't mind it.   I don't think the PBS wrapper  alone is enough to ensure safe passage so, I can see how mummification came to be..   I am amazed at the talent people have for wrapping.   

Date Posted: 5/3/2009 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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I admit to being a mummifier.   I just am not going to take a chance that the PO will ruin a perfectly good book.    I've gotten plenty of books wrapped like that and yes, it takes time to open them.  But the time and effort are well worth it to me.    Right now I'm using bubble envelope but I still run tape around the package both ways so the book can't move in the envelope.

Date Posted: 5/3/2009 11:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
Posts: 1,103
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I'm in the group that finds it irritating and unnecessary. I don't want to have work that hard and get out special tools just to open a package. And like the others - on occassion I've accidentally  damaged the books trying to do so. Opening a book shouldn't require a scapel and surgical precision.

I've sent and received hundreds of books via PBS with very  few problems, so my experience tells me completely encasing a book in tape isn't necessary. I wish people would simply  wrap the book well without going to any extremes.

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 5/3/2009 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I now use bubble wrap envelopes but I was a mummifier.

Date Posted: 5/3/2009 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
Posts: 104
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I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I wonder if I'm using enough tape.

Date Posted: 5/3/2009 9:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 12,028
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I always tape really well.  Probably qualifies as mummifying the book but I don't want the wrapper to tear anywhere or the address to smear or anything.  I've received lots of books mummified and it just takes some time and care to open them up.  I'd rather get a mummified book in great condition that it takes me 10 minutes to open than one falling out of the wrapper and tore up by the PO.

Date Posted: 5/3/2009 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 9/7/2008
Posts: 41
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I'm completely guilty of being a mummy-er but the way I see it, it is my responsibility to ensure the book is wrapped well enough to survive the trip. After seeing the condition in which many books arrive in my mailbox the only way I feel comfortable mailing them out is completely encased in tape.
Date Posted: 5/3/2009 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Cheryl sez:

<<A small exacto knife, or a box cutter with the edge of the razor on the very first click position is the best tool to use to open packages. Whetherthey are books with a lot of tape, boxes of stuff I have ordered, and even envelopes.>>

Ditto on this; I have a very small (pencil-sized) box cutter which some publisher gave away years ago ... I use it at the top, parallel to the pages, so if the knife blade slips in, it will slide between the pages and not cut anything vital.  I've seen similar blades at my local Ace Hardware for about $1, near the checkout counter.

I know a lot of tape is frustrating to some members, but for mailers who won't/aren't using any other waterproof type of wrapper, it can be a godsend here in Tornado Alley, where it rains all spring long and my mailman has to walk his route and, poor guy, gets sweaty hands as well as wet.  All our bills get wet, etc.



Date Posted: 5/4/2009 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2005
Posts: 6,210
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I hate those kind of wrapped books, too. The knives, scissors, whatever just don't work well. This past week I ruined two book covers because of overzealous wrapping zealots. I can understand wrapping the book so the edges don't rip, but not leaving one single open space to get at the thing is riduculous.  It shouldn't be necessary to spend an inordinate amonut of time to surgically remove a book from a package and then, after all that time and frustration, have the book ruined from the effort. I have lost more credits that way than I can count.

Last Edited on: 5/4/09 8:25 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/4/2009 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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I'm sometimes guilty of overtaping, mostly because I look at the books and think, "wow that part looks like it could rip; one more piece".  I usually do leave small pices of paper untaped, but not many.  I've tried to be more careful, but it's a fine line, especially because I'm not as talented at wrapping neatly and tightly as many people are, so I compensate with tape.  I do try to leave a small tab for opening though. 

Date Posted: 5/4/2009 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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I'm a mummifier. Other side of the coin is that I, too, can be frustrated when I receive a mummy book but I bought some small, very pointy, crafting scissors for a few dollars at A. C. Moore and use those to "start" undoing mummies.

But to reinforce my need to mummify I have to share that I received a 350-page book (standard sized hist/rom) with no internal plastic wrapping to protect from elements, and the book was dropped into a large business-sized (9x11 maybe) manila envelope with no taping around it at all. The book was loose inside and it was nothing short of a miracle that it made to 3/4 across the country with just a little bit of damage to the envelope. I'm happy it arrived safely because I wouldn't have wanted to go through the hassle of a RWAP transaction. I'd rather be screamed at for being too cautious than for just throwing a package together and hoping for the best.

I will try to be less enthusiastic in the future - but like Karen if I see a spot that isn't protected I wonder if that weakest link is where damage will begin to occur. But those small, scissors really work well, easy to get an opening started and easy to snip, snip, snip the way through the wrapping.


Date Posted: 5/4/2009 11:02 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 7,315
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I mummify, but I leave an area open of tape ( top part of flap, nearest label), so scissors can be slipped in. I've received a few books that have been mangled by the postal machines (it was impressive); the post office had to tape one package closed, actually, what was left of the package (they taped the label to the the book, but I got the book :)


Date Posted: 5/4/2009 11:22 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Hi, My name is Christa and I am a mummifier  :)  Usually by the time I've covered the seams and the edges and the address and the return address and the postage, it's pretty much covered.  As others have mentioned, I do try to leave at least one little place that the receiver can start opening.  Maybe us mummifiers need to start drawing a giant arrow on the package, pointing to "Open Here"

Date Posted: 5/4/2009 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,125
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I have received countless books wrapped in the PBS wrapper, manila envelopes, and brown paper that have had the wrappers torn away everywhere there was no packing tape.  I have also received several books where the wrappers got wet and the address was nearly obliterated by the ink running.  All of these issues can be prevented by a single layer of packing tape, which is what I use if I'm not using a bubble mailer, tyvek, or a box.  I use one single layer and that's it.  I have gotten mummified books, and have found that making a small cut with a regular kitchen steak knife and then tearing from there works perfectly.  I have received mummified books and have no special tools, yet have never damaged a book.  Usually I can find the end of a piece of tape or make a small cut in the tape and then peel away the tape like layers of a mummy.  As soneone who has received several torn open manila envelopes lately, I'll take on over-taped vs. undertaped book any day!

Date Posted: 5/4/2009 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,637
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Hi, I'm Christine, and I'm definitely a mummifier!  :-)  I have received a number of under-taped books that I have had to mark RWAP because of postal abuse that could have been avoided with more tape.  And I have generally found that you can usually loosen a corner of the tape somewhere to begin the unwrapping process - as long as there is no tape attached to the book, it works very well for me!  I would always prefer to use more tape and be safe - so my apologies to all of you who have received mummies from me and had difficulty opening them.  As an aside, I will also say that I have been wrapping my books in a piece of black garbage back first - very sturdy, and I can usually cut pieces big enough to get 10-12 books out of a single bag.