Almost everyone has been the recipient of at least one book buy gone wrong. Whether it was that the book seller didn’t know any better or simply just didn’t take the time to do the whole packaging thing the right way, he or she obviously didn’t realize how off-putting receiving a poorly packaged, or worse, damaged book could be. If you’re the one doing the selling, don’t let that be you. Learn the specific challenges your book packages are likely to face en route, and discover how to most effectively protect them from these encounters in as few steps as possible with these tips.
Most Common Challenges of Sending Books through the Mail
Most people think books are sturdy and unlikely to get damaged during shipping. While books can withstand a lot with their heft and relatively uniform shape, they are susceptible to damage from rough handling and other challenges that may arise during transit. Some of the most common issues with shipping books include:
Whether it’s zipping through an automated book sorter or being tossed around by an overzealous postal worker, books do face a lot of impact during shipping. This impact can cause significant damage – both from the outside and inside depending on how you choose to package the book.
As a book seller, you have little control over when and where your book is left after it leaves your hands. That means it may sit on a recipient’s porch in the rain or be privy to a clumsy mailman trying to finish his morning cup of joe. Either way, liquid damage is a real concern you need to address when shipping texts.
While no one wants to think of their packages getting swiped, it can be a real possibility. It’s important to keep in mind that the perceived value of the package, in this case book, places it more at risk for getting picked up by someone other than the recipient. You can reduce the risk by keeping packaging discrete as well as attaching certain security measures to your shipment depending on the value of the book.
Just like a damaged book can leave a new customer with a poor buying experience, so can a book that appears to have been packaged with little care. A book doesn’t need a golden ribbon around it to be nice, but you should at least consider your customer’s “unboxing experience” when receiving your book packages.
Being able to easily open the book package without damaging the contents is another important consideration when packaging books for shipping. You want to protect the book, but you don’t want the recipient to have wrestle with excessive packaging when the book arrives.
While this consideration affects you as the seller more than the buyer of your book, it’s still an important consideration. The more you put into packaging your book, the heaving it is, and the more expensive it’s going to be. Just keep that in mind as you’re considering the best packaging options for your items.
Best Practices for Packaging Books for Shipment
With each of these challenges in mind, there are a few simple ways you can keep book packaging simple but still protect the books during transit and give your buyers the best experience. Follow these suggestions to keep your books from being damaged during shipment:
- Wrap the books
To protect your books from liquid damage, wrap them in plastic. A large Ziploc bag is a great option. Alternatively, you may be able to pick up a newspaper delivery sleeve or another plastic or produce bag to use as wrapping.
- Splint the book with cardboard
To protect the book from getting bent, create a makeshift splint out of cardboard pieces to surround the book. All you need for this is to rectangles of cardboard that are roughly the same size as the book to place on either side of it in the package.
- Choose the shipping material
Envelopes or book wraps are the most cost-effective options for packaging books. They’ll withstand the impact of transport but are still easy to use and open once they’re delivered. Opt for a padded envelope or bubble mailer to provide a little more cushion for the book during shipping. Avoid sending your books in boxes unless they’re precisely sized for your texts, as added movement in the box could cause bent corners, etc. during transit.
- Address the package
Clearly address the book package using either a label provided by the post office or shipping company or a blank sheet of paper. Protect the label with clear packing tape to make sure that it is not smudged during shipment.
- Mark the package “fragile”
A “fragile” label doesn’t guarantee your book will arrive undamaged, but it does let shippers know to handle the package with care. You can write directly on the package with a red marker, or ask a postal worker to stamp the item for you.
- Add insurance and/or tracking
To add an extra level of security to your package, consider adding additional insurance to the item. This step again won’t guarantee that the item is delivered in mint condition, it does mean that you’ll get money back in the event that the item is lost or stolen during transit.
Use these suggestions as a guide to better shipping for your books. Or you could just do it the easy way, and sell your books through BooksRun. Pricing is simple, shipping is free, and payment is delivered within 4 days!