What is the best way to package hard cover and soft cover books? I packed a few books by just wrapping them in brown paper. However, I have started worrying about some of the hardcover books possibly getting damaged because of the difference in width between the cover and the pages and I’ve put my last few shipments in boxes, but this tends to raise the cost of shipping. Does anyone have experience with this? Also, Is it important to purchase a tracking number, or can I just have faith in the USPS?
Don’t be too concerned about the cost of the packing materials as you are getting a shipping allowance paid for by the buyer which covers them, or at least it should.
Pack the heavier hardcover books in a box, and the softcovers in a padded envelope.
The USPS is reliable with or without the DC tracking, but Amazon encourages us to use it all of the time.
Materials for online selling (well at least for me)
6x9 and 10x6 envelops (I don’t buy padded envelops)
clean cardboard boxes (mainly for edging)
Depends on the book
as for the 19cents confirmation Its a nice cheap insurance for the “what if” moments
Most books (when I sell them, I mainly specialize in video games) I wrap in bubble wrap, then plastic wrap that then wrap the kraft paper… label it and send it out
More delicate books I’d bubble, plastic wrap it and BOX it…
For us, it’s a balance between the time and effort it takes to produce a protective package and the cost of doing son. We keep three sizes of vinyl clad bubble envelopes in stock that happen to fit mass market paperback, trade paperbacks and most hardcovers. For mmpb, we snug the envelope to the book tightly to prevent shifting and the tape actually makes the package more rigid. For hardovers, we wrap the book in bubblewrap, sandwich that between two piece of cardboard (bigger than the wrapped book) and put all that in the bubble envelope.
We receive no complaints about postal damage with this system. It’s professional looking, protective, waterproof and both cost and time effective. We buy the envelopes in bulk which reduces their price per shipment. Add the cost with that of paper, tape and bubblewrap (cardboard is recycled) and our cost per shipment is about 20-25 cents for materials.
But best of all we’ve streamlined the time per shipment for packaging.
LB at Author, Author!
Everything goes in a plastic bag first. (I got a huge roll of premium non-printed produce bags at a grocery supply house for $10 or so, so that’s just a few pennies per book.)
I stock #1 kraft bubble mailers for smaller books and cds. Before going into the mailer, the paperback gets a wrap of cardboard (free from stores).
Trade paperbacks and hard covers ship in a multi-D box, very fast to do and not much fooling around with stuff. Very light weight, about 4 ounces. Multi-D boxes come from Packaging Control Corp. See their site at packagingcontrolcorp dot com.
Yet another option…Multi-D boxes.
Again, we hold no interest, financial or otherwise, in Multi-D we just have found it a very good choice for securely shipping products.
My hardcovers are shipped in a box (I buy three sizes from Uline). Paperbacks, depending on size, are either shipped in boxes or bubble bags with cardboard.
Yes, shipping materials are expensive, but if you do some searching on these forums, I think you will find lots of suggestions for shipping materials, techniques for wrapping, and vendors for supplies.
I also use delivery confirmation for each book I send. I spend hours searching for my special books, and more time is spent in wrapping them securely–somehow .19 seems cheap in giving me some peace of mind so I can monitor the delivery. We are responsible for the book until it reaches the buyer. I want to know when it gets to its destination.
Edited by: Purple Coneflower Books on Jun 20, 2012 6:28 AM
Emily, you really need to forget about the brown paper. You’re right to worry that it is not adequate protection for any kind of book. It’s my understanding that books shipped via Media Mail get tumbled through large machines and otherwise roughly handled. So the corners and edges of books need cushioning to survive the terrors of USPS processing facilities. And in my experience, buyers really appreciate good packaging and sometimes leave good feedback because of it.
So I pack everything in boxes with bubble wrap for cushioning and brown Kraft paper for void fill to keep the book from banging around inside the box. I first put the book inside a seal-sealing poly bag (from Uline) for water resistance. Then I wrap the book in bubble wrap (from Star Boxes) so that I create a “crush zone” of at least 1/2" all around the book and especially at the corners.
I buy my boxes from Uline and keep several different sizes on hand for CDs, mass market paperbacks, trade paperbacks, small textbooks, large textbooks, etc. Buying boxes and other packaging materials online is the most economical way to keep shipping costs down.
I also always get Delivery Confirmation on everything I ship…Signature Confirmation and insurance on expensive books. Although Delivery Confirmation will not serve as proof of delivery if you get an A-Z claim, it can be extremely valuable when a buyer writes asking why a book has not arrived yet. I personally never want to be in a position to say to a customer that I have no idea where his/her book is. If you buy online postage through Amazon or other services, DC only costs $.19.
Edited by: Russet Woods Booksellers on Jun 20, 2012 7:59 AM
An option to the boxes everyone recommends would be to make a “book burrito” (take a large piece of cardboard that is slightly higher that the book, and wrap it around the book left-to-right so that it completely surrounds the book, fastening it with a band of wrapping tape). Then put that in a cushioned bag (I find a #4 bag works for most of what I mail; YMMV).
This works for most normal-size books. Heavy textbooks (anything over a couple of pounds) needs a box. Books priced over a certain amount should probably get a box as well.
earthmom22 has a very good step-by-step (with photos) on how to build a book burrito.
It’s simple. Buying in bulk: 25,50,100 at a time is a lot cheaper than buying on an as needed basis from a retail store such as Staples. Think of it as factory direct, or buying directly from a warehouse supplier, so the middleman is cut out of the pricing structure and you can save big money. The only downside is the storage space needed perhaps.
But, the cost savings should more than make up for that inconvenience.
+Buying boxes and other packaging materials online is the most economical way to keep shipping costs down.+
I have read this sentence six times and still don’t understand what you are trying to say.
Yes, your statements are simple.
What I’m saying is that I’m missing RW’s correlation of keeping shipping costs down while buying online.
Yes, buying in bulk (online, in person, over the phone) brings the unit cost down, but does buying online ensure that the shippings costs will concomitantly decrease by the same ratio?
In my experience, the opposite is true.
I buy in bulk from Uline too, but I am not among the fortunate few grandfathered under Uline’s old “free shipping for orders over $300.00”
Think: Protection over beauty.
Nobody really cares much if one side of the cardboard has a brand name.
I would, however, not use a canned ham box to mail out a book on Jewish history.
Make up a label saying you’re proud to recycle.
>I packed a few books by just wrapping them in brown paper. However, I have started >worrying about some of the hardcover books possibly getting damaged because of the >difference in width between the cover and the pages and I’ve put my last few >shipments in boxes, but this tends to raise the cost of shipping. Does anyone have >experience with this?
Roll cardboard is less expensive than bubble wrap.
12" x 250’ Corrugated Wrap Roll
We also use black 4 mill poly tubing and a sealer instead of buying envelopes. High startup cost for tube and sealer, then a very low cost per book to ship. Poly tube can easily be split with a box knife. We add a strip of fiber tape to packages that go to certain cities.
>Also, Is it important to purchase a tracking number, or can I just have faith in the USPS?
Thou art a stranger in a strange land where everyone plays 3 card monte with the fourth card.
Edited by: Golden Desert Books on Jun 21, 2012 9:48 AM
I agree that one should recycle when necessary, but…
Amazon’s packing +guidelines+ indicate that sellers should use new packing materials.
As a seller I use both new and re-used materials.
New boxes/shippers most of the time. Re-used boxes get ‘cleaned up’ by removing old labels & tape before use.
We reuse bubble wrap, air pillows, and other clean void fill material. Stained, smelly, or ragged materials are tossed.
In the end as a seller, I want the package to protect the product well and appear as fresh as possible.
As a buyer, I’ve been disappointed by shipments that arrive in re-used cereal boxes that smelled of sugar/sweet whatever was inside the box and transferred to the product inside.
I’ve also noticed that ten pounds of tape strapped around some tissue and a book inside does little to protect the book and is very frustrating to get open without doing more damage to the book.
Stamping “Handle With Care” on the outside of a media mail shipment appears to just invite additional shipping abuse.
Sorry…drifting off topic here. But you get what I mean.
Absolutely use new for whatever touches the book.
(Every book we have in inventory is sealed in 2 mil clear plastic.)
But if a cardboard sheet is needed to stiffen up a bubble mailer, that’s when you cut a side off of a CLEAN non-smelling grocery store box. Yup, stay away from the detergent isle. And them scented candles.
Buying boxes and other packaging materials online is the most economical way to keep shipping costs down.
I have read this sentence six times and still don’t understand what you are trying to say."
He is not saying that it keeps the shipping cost down to receive the packing materials when you purchase them–he is saying that purchasing the materials in bulk will keep your costs down when you package and ship something.
By “shipping costs,” I meant the total cost to package and ship an item–packaging materials, boxes, poly bags, etc. We can’t do a whole lot about postage, but we can effect economies in packaging…even if we choose to ship everything in boxes.
I said what I said in response to this statement by the OP: +"…I’ve put my last few shipments in boxes, but this tends to raise the cost of shipping."+
I wasn’t referring to Uline’s shipping charges. Even with their shipping charges, it’s more economical to buy boxes from them online than from a big-box office supply store.
Edited by: Russet Woods Booksellers on Jun 22, 2012 3:29 AM
Thanks for posting this clarification, E. I hope no one else misunderstood what I was saying.
P. S. I’m a girl Russet.