Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mailing Books in Envelopes

Today I received this package.

The envelope was torn in several places. 

The books are new books.  The item specifics on eBay state that a new book is "in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages."  One of the books is noticeably damaged along the top edge.  Most of the pages of that book are wrinkled at the top, and this is the book that can be seen in the last picture.  That book did not arrive in "perfect condition."  This is an excellent example of why books should not be mailed in envelopes.

For today's transaction, I purchased the books for a relative to read. Price was more important than condition.  I will not be informing the seller of the damage since it does not matter for this particular situation.  However, I would have preferred for the books to have arrived in a box undamaged.

This was an eBay transaction, and unfortunately, this is exactly what I expect when I purchase new items from eBay.  New items purchased on eBay almost always arrive with poor packaging.  I avoid purchasing new items on eBay for this reason.  I only did so in this case because I could get the books at a savings.

I usually purchase my new books from Amazon.  My Amazon purchases arrive in boxes or wrapped in sturdy cardboard.  I have had issues with minor damage to Amazon purchases, but that does not happen often.

Recently I participated in a message thread in which several people were recommending envelopes for mailing books.  Not again!  I gave my usual explanation of why envelopes are not good packaging material for books.  Someone stated that he/she only uses Tyvek envelopes which do not rip.  No, no, no!  The books can still be damaged.  People just don't get it.

Many sellers who use envelopes for books state that they have never had a problem and that they have never been told that a book has arrived damaged.  Their conclusion is that the envelopes are safe and secure and that their books never arrive with damage.  Oh, really?  Consider what I have stated in this post.  I will not be informing my seller of the damage.  Does that mean that the seller has never had a book arrive damaged?  Absolutely not.

While most books mailed in envelopes manage somehow to arrive safely, I have had far too many of my purchases arrive with damage.  I do not complain when I receive books in envelopes, but I would greatly prefer for the books to be mailed in boxes.


Donna said...

I have had bad experiences with envelopes too, Jennifer. The problem is the books inside can and do "slosh" around en route, and arrive damaged. A couple of weeks ago I actually got one (eBay purchase)in a plastic bag from the Post Office with their standard apology for its condition. It was originally packed in a bubble envelope that was completely ripped so that the book was exposed. Fortunately, it had not gotten wet, but that was sheer good luck.
I must admit, I don't say anything anymore either. It's not usually appreciated, and I have no expectation that my comment will change the seller's behaviour.

I think if I'd never seen the condition these books can arrive in - even in the so-called "proper" envelopes, I too would have been skeptical. But truthfully, I'd rather get a book wrapped in strong, plain brown paper than an envelope. At least then it is secured inside and doesn't bang around during shipping. Of course, the right way is to ship in a box.

Jennifer White said...

Here is an instance of someone else receiving a damaged book in an envelope. Jenn shared some of the correspondence with me, and the seller did not believe her at first. They don't get it.

My Dana Girls #29 that I have owned for years has a scuff on the cover due to having been mailed in an envelope. It has happened many times.

Unknown said...

I do occasionally ship a smaller book in a padded envelope, but whenever I do that I ALWAYS put the book into a protective mylar bag, and then secure it between thicker pieces of cardboard for protection.

I only do that on very rare occasions though and never with a book that has any collector value, only with reading copies. Usually I use re-purposed cardboard and make a book mailer around the mylar protected book.

Noting the comment about not always telling the seller the book is damaged, I have luckily only had one buyer notify me of a damaged book. That one was shipped in a box and from what he could tell it looked like the box had been run over by something, so it really wouldn't have mattered much how I shipped it. I did refund him the money for it, although he had not asked for it.

stratomiker said...

Boxes cost money and eBay limits postage amounts one can charge for books. Most buyers don't want to pay extra. There are good, safe, strong envelopes that almost never cause a problem unless some numbskull postal worker drives a truck over them.

Put the blame where it belongs - on the postal workers, not the booksellers. I've had box-wrapped books show up in shreds or completely wet because the idiots leave them out in the rain.

The post offices here have exactly ONE clerk at the windows now, all times of day. You have to wait at least a half hour and then some idiot comes in with a 'reservation' to do a PASSPORT, and you have to wait for that, too - another half hour. I recently had a surgery and just could not stand and wait, and it took two weeks before I could get my packages mailed.

I don't know how the mail is getting delivered with no one in the offices to actually take it from the people who want to mail it. Half the line usually walks out. They have layed off almost everyone, changed delivery patterns to the houses, and everyone around here bemoans the horrors of going to the post office. And these are nice middle and upper class towns here.

If whoever runs the post office had brains, mail delivery and packages arriving safely would not be a problem, even if they were wrapped in just tissue paper. I think you are wholly unjustified in criticizing booksellers for what is obviously the problem of a postal delivery system run by complete idiots and lazy bums who do not deserve the good pay and benefits they get.


Jennifer White said...

The postage amount in the media category on eBay does not have a limit when the seller uses "calculated" shipping. Switch the shipping from "flat" to "calculated," and all you have to do is enter a high enough weight to make the dollar amount high enough to cover the cost of shipping plus packaging materials. Many sellers are not aware of this. It seems a bit counter-productive for eBay to have a limit of $4.00 and then an easy way to avoid the limit.

I am justified in blaming the sellers for packing badly because it is a fact that the post office is rough with mail. Some employees do leave the mail out in the rain. I used to have a postal carrier who would walk the street in the pouring rain while holding the mail in a position so that it was getting rained on the entire time. The mail would only have been slightly more wet if it had been dumped in a lake.

I had a Nancy Drew book with a dust jacket and glossy internal illustrations that arrived wet because of that carrier. If the seller had mailed the book in something other than a thin yellow envelope with no plastic around the book, the book would have arrived in much better shape.

It is the responsibility of the seller to make certain that the books have at least some protection against moisture exposure. Incompetent postal employees are everywhere, and it does rain.

For sellers who feel that buyers do not want to pay for a box, those sellers should offer media mail in a box and media mail without a box. Many buyers would gladly choose $4.00 for media mail in a box versus $3.00 for media mail in an envelope. Let the buyer decide. If the buyer chooses the envelope, then the buyer has no reason to complain should the book arrive with damage.

It sounds like your post office is even worse than mine. My post office has two clerks most of the time, unless one is on a break. I only have to wait in line when I have to mail a first class international package, and I try to plan it on a day and time when I do not have to wait more than around 10 minutes. On Saturday and Monday, the wait is around 30 minutes.

Donna said...

I guess I would say that as a buyer or a seller, we should value and want to protect these old books. They are irreplaceable, and once they're damaged, however it happens, that's that. I'm a Canadian buyer who sometimes pays as much as $11 or $12 shipping for a single book. I realize the hassle sellers have in dealing with the process as the P.O., but I agree with Jennifer. Since we know what happens in the P.O. system, why would anyone want to risk having a lovely old book damaged if it's possible to prevent it? It's so disappointing to receive a book that I know has been damaged in the shipping process.

Jennifer White said...

I mentioned a message thread in my original post. I believe that message thread has since been deleted, so I cannot link to it.

That thread began when a seller reported a negative or neutral feedback comment had been received that stated something like "book arrived in bad condition." The seller was upset about the feedback, rightfully so since the buyer made no contact before leaving the feedback, and felt like the buyer was complaining about nothing.

The next comments all went the same way until someone pointed out that it sounded like the book had been damaged during shipment. It then came out that the seller uses envelopes. A-ha! Likely the book was damaged during shipment.

The buyer should have contacted the seller before leaving feedback, but this did not sound like a case of a buyer complaining about nothing. Buyers are never happy when books arrive damaged.

As a seller, I want to minimize the possibility of the books I mail from arriving with damage. I cannot prevent the packages from getting run over or stolen, but I can use sturdy boxes to prevent the books from getting damaged easily.

I know that many buyers now leave negative and neutral feedback without thinking, so I want to minimize that possibility. Most of all, I love books and do not want them to get any additional wear and tear that they do not already have. I pack all books the same way, with care. The books are treated the same regardless of whether the buyer paid $1.00 or $300.00 for the book and regardless of whether the book is in poor or excellent condition.

Paula said...

Anyone who reads the blog comments regularly, knows that mailing books in envelopes is a pet peeve of mine! The only time I've ever left negative feedback was to an ebay seller who sent the collectible book I had purchased in a bubble-wrap envelope, and would not accept responsibility when it arrived completely ruined. It was damaged in shipment and yes, the Post Office was at fault, but it is ALWAYS the seller's responsibility to *ensure* the item is delivered to the buyer in the condition it was sold. This is an explicit ebay rule and should be a common sense rule to any seller. When the item is ruined, a full refund is warranted. If, as a seller, you don't want to buy insurance, then you are self-insuring the item. (Sellers can't charge buyers for insurance on ebay anymore, as it was confusing the issue as to who really is responsible for the item during shipping.) So, as the responsible party, and knowing how rough the Post Office is on packages, to me, a seller who just throws a book in an envelope is not a five star seller.

Although I've had books arrive safely in envelopes, I've had several arrive damaged and sometimes ruined. When this happens, I always complain to the seller and always offer to send pictures of the damage. It is common that many sellers respond by intimating that the buyer is a dishonest person, as apparently happened to Jenn in her experience with the Crumbling Wall book. Usually, the seller ends up compensating me for the damage. It's a hassle, but one I go through mostly out of principle.

Recently, I made an expensive purchase and decided to not be shy! I asked the seller to please be sure to pack the books securely in a sturdy box that could handle the weight, and I offered to pay for insurance and for a new box if he needed to purchase one. I know, or felt anyway, that I didn't *have* to do this, but I wanted the books - not a refund later! The seller, to his credit, asked me what would be the best way to pack them, and I responded. The P.O. was true to form. Even though it was insured, the large box arrived obviously banged up and with one corner smashed in about 2 inches. But the seller had packed the books well, and the smashed in corner was one that was empty and just didn't have enough "stuffing". None of the books were damaged and I was happy I had communicated with the inexperienced seller ahead of time.

Finally, I have to say that, since I left the negative for the seller who wouldn't give me a refund for the book ruined in transit, I have noticed that subsequent sellers are sending me more secure packages! So I guess that is the silver lining of that bad experience. :)

P.S. In case anyone is wondering how my bad experience ended up: I had to file a claim with ebay and they paid me a full refund. After much thought, I left the seller a matter-of-fact, but well-deserved negative, and she responded by leaving a negative, untrue comment in my feedback. I had to contact ebay to have her comment removed. Sad!

Kathleen said...

Like many of us, I both collect and I sell.

I have had books sent in boxes decimated.

One time I got a large soaked box- dripping wet. But the lady's husband had wrapped them all in plastic so they arrived unharmed. Wrapped them messy too but in reality he did a terrific job.

I have heard many times about the plastic bags saving a book- whether you use a box or an envelope the main damage seems to be water damage.

I use to send everything Priority in the PO's nice boxes wrapping in bubble wrap but I cannot afford to do so. I wish I could but who can?

It would be far easier.

The very worst are the contraptions that people devise to wrap their items. I do not want to spend 20 minutes wrestling with a package.

Oh and I despise those peanuts!!! LOL.

I use padded mailers as I have been sent very few boxes that size; I always put the item in a zip-lock bag. If I can I'll use a box.

If someone orders more than one book I always use a box.

I have had one complaint that I can recall. Some complain afterwards but I cannot read anyone's mind and they are not complaining about damage- they want a box!

The very worst customers are the ones buying anything under $12. I just will not list anything lower as the cheap nut cases come oozing, out of the walls they come. (Just threw my pet peeve in there)

The PO gets very careless around Christmas.

I never complain about how something is shipped.

A lil damage to a new book bothers me a lot less than one to a vintage book.

If I had that many boxes I would certainly use them. Even if I could buy them for a reasonable amount, I would.

I do not have a car and even if I did where would I get that many boxes to fit that size?

Amazon boxes are terrific!!! I think I'll buy a book or two so I can get a cool box.

I am open to suggestions.

Oh yeah. Please send boxes. ;o)

Kathleen said...

Anything valuable naturally warrants a box.

Shhh... I give refunds. Don't tell those under $12 people. Never again!!!


"You bet! You want your measley $10 back! No problema."

BTW, Adios!

Jennifer White said...

Here are some smaller boxes that can be purchased from Uline.

Easy Fold Kraft Mailers

As long as I have a $1.00 handling charge factored in, the cost of a box is covered.

Kathleen said...

Terrific! I'll look into it.


beautifulshell said...

I've started asking sellers to wrap books in plastic in my paypal comments field. It doesn't take that long, and if it gets one seller to protect a book that s/he wouldn't otherwise, it's worth it. Mail doesn't travel in a weather-free vacuum, so seller and buyers alike should take a little initiative to prevent problems. Postal carriers are not all idiots and probably have more to worry about than whether some ebay user has thought to use plastic bags.

keeline said...

I've been an active collector for more than 20 years and was a full-time antiquarian bookseller for a dozen years (1988-2000). As a result, I have sent and received hundreds of packages and seen what can happen to them.

I detest padded envelopes. The only reason I keep them around is to slip a book into before it goes into the box. I've had too many items come in with torn boards, bumped corners, and paperbacks folded in half because the seller could not be bothered to pack it safely.

The $4 limit on shipping is merely a competition with Amazon's $3.99 shipping for reading copies of books. It will only cover Media Mail in most cases and sometimes not even that. As Jennifer notes, if you set up the auctions as shipping based on weight, you should not have a problem.

I like Priority Mail though the prices are getting a bit high. For most things coming to my collection, I prefer it because it minimizes the time that a package is in the postal service's hands. Media Mail is a gamble because the rate pays only for one-way delivery. If the package cannot be delivered, if it is returned to you, you have to pay again for postage due.

With Priority Mail I can print the labels at home (at a discount and with free tracking) and use the free Priority Mail boxes which can be delivered in quantity and stored at home. I can even give the outgoing box to the local carrier or the blue box. With Media Mail I must go to the post office and wait in at least a half hour line.

Padded mailers cost money too, often more than boxes, and they don't provide any protection for the contents.

Most of the time I wrap the book in a plastic bag first and then put it in the box. This guards against both moisture (a real issue sometimes) and transfer of ink from newsprint if used for padding.

I do save bubble wrap and peanuts and will use them if on hand. I don't buy them. I try to be judicious on peanuts because a large quantity of them don't work well as they are easily crushed by a heavy block of books and the protection is eliminated. However, for a Priority Mail large video box some peanuts as filler after wrapping the book in a plastic bag seems to work well.

Keep in mind that if you make an insurance claim against the post office, they will likely want to keep the item.

Most frustrating on poorly packed books occurs when an item is won for a small amount and it is packed poorly because the seller didn't think a $25 book was important. It was important to me or I would not have bid on it! Hence, every book sent should be packed well.


Jennifer White said...

Most frustrating on poorly packed books occurs when an item is won for a small amount and it is packed poorly because the seller didn't think a $25 book was important. It was important to me or I would not have bid on it!

You summed it up nicely. As a seller, it is not my place to decide how important the book is to the buyer. I have to assume that the book is important and that the condition is important.

Anyone who sells books that are considered collectible, even for low prices, ought to use boxes. I can understand why someone who sells mass market paperbacks in rough shape would use an envelope. Otherwise, a box should be used.

People who use envelopes always state that boxes cost too money. I have trouble understanding this reasoning, and I would love it if those of you who use envelopes would explain it to me.

I understand that people who use plain manila envelopes are saving quite a bit on shipping supplies, although that type of envelope offers no protection.

On Uline, the prices for bubble-lined envelopes when bought in bulk are $0.30 to $0.40 each plus postage. The smallest boxes run $0.50 to $0.60 plus postage. The difference is not that great. A handling fee will cover the cost of the box easily. Why not use a box?

stratomiker said...

I have been selling books by mail since 1965. Well-wrapped books in protective envelopes were always acceptable until recently with the growth of online sales and the increase in traffic and, thus, accidents to books.

On eBay you have to guarantee your sale by refund. That's enough for me. I just sent yet another refund today for a book that did not arrive during the holiday excess. I'm not going to start using boxes, too, for every book, because I know THAT IS NOT THE PROBLEM.

Most of you want to blame the problem on the lack of boxes when the real issue is lack of service. I find it already a bit too much to have to guarantee the post office's job, without adding the insult that I have to Fort-Knox pack an item so that some dumb sorter or carrier won't ruin it.

I understand the issue at hand - getting the book to the customer in its best condition. But, that part is not my job, even though I am guaranteeing it.

What you are are calling for, and doing, is a mass enabling of our postal system to do lousy work by not making sure that they, tHEMSELVES, treat every package with the respect due it and they, THEMSELVES, make sure it gets to the customer in its best condition.

And, dumbly, we are allowing sites like Amazon and eBay to put ALL the responsibility on us while they charge sky-high fees that make it difficult for us to even make any money while doing all this!


Paula said...

It's not just the Post Office - it's UPS and FED EX too. I've had plenty of regular non-ebay products I've had to return, etc. - mulitple times in some cases - before the item was delivered in the condition it was shipped out. Unfortunately, the emphasis is on efficiency in shipping, and time is money, and being careful takes time.

So basically, I assume anything I ship is likely to get tossed/thrown around any which way into and out of a truck or whatever, and that large heavier items will be thrown on top of it. So I pack accordingly. If you don't like to unwrap allot or or you don't like peanuts - oh, well...! Come on people, it's not that hard to put a book in a plastic bag, wrap it in something soft, and put it in a box or cardboard so that it's somewhat protected and not jumbled all around during shipping. It's either lack of supplies or laziness. I can understand the casual ebay seller not having the right supplies on hand, but that is not an excuse. It's part of the job of selling. I don't buy boxes, I just save good ones when I get them and reuse, or ask for them at a store, or post a "seek" on my local Freecycle group. Same with packing peanuts. I have a large bag of them that rarely runs out; whenever I get them with a package I put them in the big bag. If you need some free, ask your local bookstore - they get them regularly and throw them away. (At least they did about 5 years ago when I worked at a local Waldenbooks.) Or again, lots of people have them on Freecycle.

Since we're not going to change the Post Office, why not share ideas of how we can pack securely and inexpensively? I'd like to know what others do. Especially if you have a large lot of books - how do you ship that amount of weight securely? I'm sure I'm not doing it the "best" way, but I know it's secure.

Jennifer White said...

Those people who have just recently begun having problems with envelopes are very fortunate. I have been having trouble with books mailed in envelopes for most of the last 15 years.

Since I have had the disappointment of having some important books damaged, I remember those instances clearly. I decided to check to see when I received those books.

My Dana Girls #29 was received on October 17, 2001. It was mailed in an envelope, which had a tear in it, and the book was scuffed on the cover.

My Farah's 11th edition arrived in a torn envelope and had a light scratch to the cover, caused by the damage to the envelope. I don't have an exact date, but Farah's 11 edition was published in 1999, and I bought it as soon as it was published. The damage was extremely minimal, but it is another example.

My first printing of Linda Joy Singleton's Talking Snowman was mailed in an envelope. I received that book on February 4, 1998. The envelope and the book had been folded in half. The book was badly damaged. I still have it somewhere and have been disgusted by it for the last 13 years. I can't stand looking at it, which is why I don't know where it is right now. It's a shame.

Anyone who has not been having problems until recently is very fortunate. I have been having problems with books mailed in envelopes since the late 1990s, as my records clearly show.

This is a case where we will have to agree to disagree.

stratomiker said...

A few years ago there was a woman clerk at the local post office who would throw each book package at least ten feet across the back area into a bin. Like she was a basketball star or something.

One day I asked her, "Why are you throwing my packages? There are nice books in those boxes and envelopes."

She said, "They ain't marked fragile! And you should see how they throw stuff around in the back!"

So I then began to mark every package fragile, and still do.

This problem is an example of the deterioration of the American work ethic, where few people really care about doing a good job. They just want to put in their time and collect a paycheck.Inefficiency and rudeness are everywhere.

I needed a simple form to fill out from the hospital. I called for 7 weeks, was told 5 times it would be mailed, but it was never sent. I had to go to the hospital in person to get it. Yet they manage quite well to mail me the bills and donation requests.

It's no wonder all the jobs are being shipped overseas - people here really don't want to work.

Even if we wrap a package so that Godzilla himself could not damage it, it still does not guarantee that the post office can't!


Jennifer White said...

You are definitely right about that! While many people are hardworking, I find so many others that are lazy. Whenever I get an extremely efficient (as in very, very fast) clerk at Walmart, I never see that person again.

We used to have one guy in the post office who would talk and talk the entire time he was printing up postage labels for the packages. He seemed to be worse whenever the line was long. I believe he did it on purpose.

One time he was helping me and began discussing his favorite books. He got so involved that he quit working on the packages, and I had direct his attention back to the task at hand. I wanted to get out of there sometime in the near future!

keeline said...

Packing well *IS* the responsibility of the seller. You can't push it off on the carrier. If a package is damaged without appropriate packing, regardless whether it is marked "fragile", they won't pay the claim.

Getting your $12 bucks back for a book is hardly a replacement for the one you won't see for many more years to come.

At the bookstore around 1990 we had a copy of the 1970 Children's Books In Print come in a shredded bubble envelope. The front board was torn from the edge to about 1/3 to the center. We had it repaired because it was an important reference book. In the decade after we were unable to find another copy.

Even if you must use padded envelopes because you own stock in the company or can get them free (they are somewhat expensive to buy) there's nothing to stop you from using cardboard to wrap around the contents. I was concerned when a half dozen magazines arrived in a flat-rate Priority Mail envelope. Fortunately, the seller wrapped the fragile contents in a cardboard cover.

Priority Mail boxes are free and can be delivered in quantity to your door at no charge. This means that Media Mail is not an option with these materials.

If you're going to sell more than a half dozen books, is there really a justification in not taking your clients seriously by taking a few simple steps to help ensure that they have a fighting chance to arrive in the condition in which you sent them.

I was at an antique sale last weekend and saw a number of 1930s Bomba books in C&L editions with DJs. They had a significant price on these ($40) each for what they are and yet they did not take the step of wrapping the jacket in a plastic protector.

The same is true for retail stores which have a demo copy of a coffee table book and the others in shrink wrap. Why not cover the sample so it is not a complete loss due to the handling? DJ protectors are a little bit of a hassle to get from Demco, etc. but would you send out a jacketed book without one? Perhaps I don't want to know the answer.

I agree with the sentiment of looking to the positive and exchanging ideas for inexpensive packing suggestions.


Jennifer White said...

I used to save all my boxes and turn them inside-out for my packages. It got to be too much trouble, since the boxes were all different sizes and took up too much space. Additionally, as my sellers seemed to pack worse and worse, I received fewer boxes that were good enough to use again.

I had quit saving any of my boxes, but I have begun saving the Amazon boxes again. I use them for international packages so that I don't have to charge those buyers a $1.00 handling fee.

Many sellers use B flute for wrapping their books. It seems more expensive to me than a good box would cost, but that is what many book sellers use.

I find that all shipping supplies cost a bit, but if you buy in bulk, you can get prices that are low enough to be covered by a decent handling fee.

Paula said...

I've received books from Amazon in the flute carboard and was kind of shocked at first. It temporatily sticks to the book and secures it by sticking together all around the book. The new book I received didn't appear to be damaged but I'm not sure I would be a fan of this for vintage books. I suppose though, if a vintage book was wrapped in something else first, and then wrapped in the flute cardboard it would be okay. Has anyone here tried this packing method?

I agree with James re: the dust jacket covers. I use Brodart brand (they happened to be least expensive when I comparison shopped), but many sellers use Demco I think. That is step 1 in protecting the dust jacket.

James' experience with the magazines and mention of the fluting cardboard reminds me of a way of packing that I heard about for shipping one book in a padded envelope. First wrap the book in a plastic bag to protect from water damage. Then put the book inside a manila folder (or cardboard) and staple the folder closed around the book so that it doesn't shift around inside. This also creates a kind of protective edge around the book. Then put the folder containing the book inside a bubble/padded envelope. This gives an additional level of protection that is not very expensive and may make the difference. It's still not as rigidly protective as a box, but it's *way* better than just throwing the book in the envelope otherwise unwrapped.

No one has replied yet about how to securely ship a lot of books? Jennifer, if you ship a bunch of books, say 15 or more, for one buyer how do you do that? Does the additional heavy weight of the package cause you to pack differently? (I guess I'm expecting to sell allot of books - LOL! ... No, actually I might sell a set of books in the future and I want to be prepared for how to ship it.) Thanks!

Jennifer White said...

I don't do anything different for a large lot versus a small lot, with one exception. When I used to sell complete sets of Nancy Drew #1-56, I would always mail the books in two boxes. This makes it easier on the boxes, the books, and the people who have to handle the boxes. The heavier a box is, the more likely it will be damaged.

I purchase the 12" by 12" by 12" cube boxes from Uline for larger groups of books. For the complete sets of Nancy Drew books, I would pack #1-28 in the first box and #29-56 in the second box. The boxes would end up weighing around 20 pounds each, which is heavy but much better than shipping a box weighing 40 pounds. I wouldn't want to have to carry a 40 pound box into the post office. :)

What I do is for those large lots is get the books arranged into two stacks and then wrap each stack in stretch wrap until the books are secure. I use newspaper to pad the box.

On that subject, some people are very against newspaper because it compresses. Peanuts can get smashed as well, but the difference is that compressed newspaper is not messy like smashed peanuts.

I hate peanuts for that reason. They should never ever be used in heavy lots. I have had to spend 30 minutes cleaning up after unpacking heavy lots mailed in peanuts that got smashed. They go everywhere and stick to everything including the books.

Bubble wrap is probably the best packing material, but it gets expensive. I'm going to stick to newspaper.

The main thing with newspaper is that the books must be wrapped up before the newspaper is used, since the print rubs off easily.

Unknown said...

Wow - a lot of dissatisfied buyers! I've had it too - flimsy envelopes and crushed boxes - MOST of the time, my books have been packed very careful which is the only reason the books survived. One time I bought a beautiful early Lilac Inn and had it sent in a regular envelope! No wrapping - nothing. Naturally, when it came, the dust jacket was half off of it and had very small tears! I DID complain, but kept the book. At least hopeful that the seller packs her books better in the future. Boxes have been rained on, crushed, arrived partially opened - I've had it all. You just never know! I would have to say, though, that most sellers are very good and careful. And I hate 'peanuts' too!!!