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Help Center - Wrapping and mailing your Box-O-Books shipment

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Wrapping Your Box-O-Books

The 2-page PBS wrapper works well for single paperbacks, or even two small books packaged together, but if you have 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 can use the PBS Box-O-Books wrapper as an address label.

Suggestions 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 can be a little soft)
  • Manila envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
  • 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)
    • 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)

The aim is to have a sturdy package that will not permit the books to slide around inside, and which will not have loose flaps to get caught in postal machinery. It can take some experimentation to find the best method for you.

Mailing your Box-O-Books:

If your Box-O-Books contains multiple books, it most likely will weigh over thirteen ounces.  All packages that weigh more than 13 ounces that are mailed using postage stamps must be personally handed to a PO employee for mailing, because of National Security regulations.  Note: If you use Printed Postage for your mailing, the 13-ounce rule does NOT apply, since printed postage is "trackable" - you can mail with Printed Postage from a dropbox or blue mailbox - you do not have to hand the shipment to a postal employee. If you are unsure whether your Box weighs more than 13 ounces, you can weigh it (if you have a postal or dietary scale), or take it to the Post Office to weigh it.

  • You do not have to wait in line if your PO has an Automated Postal Center
    • These are often available in the PO lobby, 24 hours a day
    • Each APC has a scale; you should bring a table of current MediaMail postal rates (print this one) with you, although there are often postal rate tables taped to the APCs.
    • The APC allows you to select your postage amount and generate a custom metered "stamp"
    • There is usually a bin beside the APC into which you can drop your meter-stamped package
    • Because this can be traced back to you (through the credit/debit card used to make the purchase), it is okay to mail your package weighing over thirteen ounces this way, as long as it fits in the bin!
  • You do not have to hand your package to a postal employee if you have used PBS Printable Postage, since that postage is trackable - you can read more about PBS Printable Postage in  FAQs about Printable Postage.
  • Once you have mailed the Box, mark it mailed from the pending swap in the Box-O-Books area, so the other Boxer knows it is on its way!  The other Boxer will not be able to mark your Box received if you have not marked it mailed.

Related Links:

Box-O-Books Tutorial
How much does it cost to mail a book?
Do I have to mail from a post office?


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