Help Center - USPS lost the book I sent! (including: they sent me a notice/the empty wrapping)

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This does not happen often; it can happen, though, even to well-wrapped books. USPS does a terrific job - but not a perfect one.

If your book became separated from the packaging en route, and is not recovered by USPS by the system action date, it will be considered lost in the mail automatically on the 26th day after the date it was marked mailed.

  • If it was not sent with PBS Printable Postage, you will not receive credit for sending the book (unless it is recovered and marked received). 

  • If the book was sent with PBS Printable Postage, you got Instant Credit already . If your account record is good, you will keep that credit as Guaranteed Credit.

    • If you sent it with PBS Printable Postage and you are not currently eligible for Instant Credit, you will get Quick Credit when the tracking barcode is scanned by USPS and that scan is transmitted to us.

If you receive a notice from USPS that your package contents were lost, you should contact the requestor to let him or her know what happened.

  • use the button on the active request to send him or her a Personal Message.
  • if the transaction has already been canceled, you can contact her using the button on the canceled request in your Transaction Archive, linked from the top of your My Account  main page.
  • Call 800-ASK-USPS or go to (this will send an email to USPS to report the loss) and input the information online there . This will help USPS try to recover the book.  You should ask USPS to mail the book back to you, NOT to the requestor.
  • Contact us so that we can cancel the transaction
    • if there are no more copies in the system, the requestor will get credit back and the book will go onto his or her Wish List.
    • If there are other available copies, when we cancel, the requestor's request will be passed along to a new sender, and he or she will see the new request with that new sender on his or her My Account page.
    • After we cancel, you can contact the requestor using the button on the canceled request in your Transaction Archive, linked from the top of your My Account  main page.
  • If you receive the book back from USPS and it is not damaged, you can re-Post it to your Bookshelf.
  • If you sent the book with PBS Printable Postage, you should have gotten Instant Credit already - and if you have a good sending record, that credit is also Guaranteed so you get to keep it.

If you receive a message from the requestor that the package arrived empty (or missing books from a multiple-book shipment) , you can either

  • wait it out (and make the requestor wait it out) to see if the missing book(s) is/are found and delivered to the requestor before the system action date. If not, the book(s) will be declared "lost in the mail" at the end of the allotted transit time (26 days for shipments traveling within the contiguous US, 35 days for shipments coming from or going to a address outside the contiguous US).


  • contact us (using the "send us feedback" button on the Contact Us page) to have us cancel the transaction , so the requestor can try to get a copy of the book from someone else without having to wait out the allotted transit time here.

If you have a good sending record and want to look into guaranteeing your credits for future shipments by using PBS Printable Postage, see FAQs about Printable Postage.

If you feel that your Wrapping method may have contributed to the book's loss en route, you can read the Help items about wrapping in How to Wrap a Book and All Help documents about bookwrapping.

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