PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘How to Wrap a Book’

Dear Librarian; Story Time with Soldiers, Wrapping Books Better

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Dear Librarian-  I am so thrilled to give to the Story Time with Soldiers program!  Why don’t you have a program to send books directly to the soldiers, though? I would love to give credits for that. – Patriot in Patalaska

Dear Pat,

We’d love to make that available!   Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to source the right type of books (our current sources are for children’s books) and the costs of buying books and shipping them overseas are just prohibitive.   We are working on it, though, and maybe someday we will have a solution.  In the meantime, folks who want to get books to soldiers can check out Books for Soldiers – they are doing a great job!

And thanks for giving to Story Time, Pat – we know that by doing that you have made a real difference in the lives of these children, who are truly our country’s littlest soldiers.

Dear Librarian –  I got a book that barely made it through the mail!  The packaging was hanging off the book and the sender used Scotch tape.  The wrapping job was appalling.  It is sheer luck that the book got to me and wasn’t lost or severely damaged.  How can we tell people to wrap better?   – Determined in Detroit

Dear Troy,

We have all that info in the Help Center about wrapping, and the information about not using Scotch tape right on the wrapper itself!  What you may not realize is that the package probably looked pretty good when it started its journey, but along the way the tape peeled off and the wrapper tore.  We can tell folks all day long in the Help Center (and we do) about wrapping, but nothing brings the message home like a helpful word from a member who actually got the book at the other end.  Just let this sender know that the USPS journey was tough on this wrapping, and that Scotch tape doesn’t hold up very well in general, and we bet that your advice will have more effect than a zillion reminders from us.

Please be gentle, if you do have to give feedback about wrapping to a sender.   Remember that the person was trying to get the book to you and was doing his or her best.  Even if it looks like their best was “appalling,” it probably did not start out that way, and if the sender knew that the wrapping would fall apart, he or she would have done better.  Give him or her a kind and positive helping hand to know how to do better next time.  It will make the club experience better for everyone – including the books!


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Dear Librarian,

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Dear Librarian- I got an offer of a book on my Wish LIst and then I got a Personal Message from the other member, saying it is an ARC and asking if I minded getting an ARC.  What’s an ARC? What if I don’t want it?  Should I click “Cancel” on the request?–Flummoxed in Florida

Dear Flo,

An ARC = Advanced Reader Copy.   ARCs (also known as Uncorrected Proofs and Review Copies) are not permitted for swapping here.  Actually, each time a member posts a book she or he is asked to confirm that the book is not an ARC. We don’t allow ARCs because they are not the “final” copy of books – changes can be made before the final version is printed.   Some members will post their ARCs anyway in violation of the rules — if they do this and send the book out, they have to refund the credit if the requestor asks (and the requestor does NOT have to send the ARC back!).  So posting ARCs, just like posting any unpostable book, is not a wise thing to do!

If someone posts a book that is on your Wish List and then tells you in a PM that it is an unpostable copy and you don’t want the unpostable copy, you should say “Please do not send this book to me” in your Personal Message but still click the button on your account to accept the offer – this is the only way to stay on the Wish List for the book.  The SENDER needs to cancel in this situation, so that you stay on the Wish List.  (The sender should not repost the book after cancelling, obviously.)

ARCs and other unpostables can be swapped in the Book Bazaar Discussion Forum or offered as “freebie incentives” to request books from a bookshelf.  So they can still be exchanged here; it is just that they must not be posted to PBS Bookshelves.  All books posted to bookshelves must meet swapping criteria.   You can find new homes for your unpostables using the Book Bazaar – the items can be described in the Book Bazaar and members will know what they are getting.  The Book Bazaar is in the main list of Discussion Forums, accessible under Community at the top of any page on the site.

Dear Librarian-  I got my empty wrapping back for a book I mailed, along with a “sorry” note from USPS.  Does this mean someone in the Post Office stole the book?  What do I do now? — Stumped in Sweetwater

Dear Sweetie,

We’re sorry that this happened!  No, it is exceedingly unlikely that anyone stole the book.  Sometimes wrapping can tear and the book can fall out.  Take a look at your packaging.  If you used an envelope, was it taped down tight around the book, with no flaps to catch in postal machines?  If you used a PBS Wrapper, did you use tape to reinforce the corners and seams of the package?  Not that this situation always is attributable to wrapping inadequacies; even the best-wrapped package can fall afoul of the mighty USPS machines, but your chances of a mishap are greatly lessened if you wrap well.  You can read about this in the Help docs on wrapping in the Help Center.   If you are using other wrapping besides the PBS wrapper (envelope, padded mailer, brown paper, etc) you can place the “information for the receiver” inside the book itself.  This can increase the odds of your book being “reunited” with its packaging, or being sent on to the requestor, even if the package gets ripped open.

Now that the book has been separated from the packaging, it most probably is lost.  USPS may recover it  – but if they do, they should send it back to you.  The requestor should not have to wait for the book to be declared “lost” before she or he gets credit back to try to get another copy.  If you get a notice of loss (or the empty wrappings for a book) back in the mail, let the requestor know in a Personal Message, and then contact us and ask us to cancel the transaction, as explained in the Help doc “USPS lost the book I sent” in the Help Center.  When we cancel, either the request will be passed to a new sender (if there are more copies in the system), or the book will go onto the requestor’s Wish List and she or he will get credit back.

If you wrap well, this will be extremely unlikely to happen again!


Cool stuff…we’re always working on cool stuff. But you knew that. 🙂

TIPS AND TRICKS: Newsletter – November 2008

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The weather outside is frightful… But recycling’s so delightful! Try using the (clean, dry) plastic bag your newspaper gets delivered in to wrap your books before packaging them to mail.  The inner layer of plastic is terrific for protecting your book from the rains and snows, and the effort is really appreciated by the requestor.  And re-using the plastic is so much better than putting it into the landfill!

Never too soon to mail! USPS is setting a “deadline” for Christmas mailing to APO/FPO addresses and overseas of November 13th for Media Mail.  The deadline doesn’t mean you can’t mail after that date, but that date is the last mailing date that will guarantee your package arrives by December 25th.  See the USPS table of destinations/postal rates/deadlines to mail here.

Keep in mind… Newsletter – November 2007

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Keep in mind… The fires in Southern California last month caused a lot of upheaval.  We have heard from some members that their incoming mail has been delayed.  A member from Southern California wrote in to us “Please let everyone know that most of us are fine but large areas needed to evacuate for safety.”   So if you sent a book there, or requested a book from a member in that area, please be patient.  We are glad that things seem to be contained now, and we send our best wishes to all who were affected.

PBS (W)rap. Ahem. Mike on?  Testing, one two three…

Members write to us with things they want to mention/And we thought we’d put them here, just to get your attention.

If you’re sending an audio or a bound book in the mail/Try to wrap it up so it gets there without fail.

Check out the Help Center info on wrapping your book/You may have read it already, but it’s worth a second look.

Now we’re not talking about spending money on materials/You can get creative–try an inside-out box that once held cereal!

Your book needs protection to keep it safe on its trip/Think of the postal machines, and what can cause a rip.

If it’s going where it’s rainy, use an inner layer of plastic/The book will get there dry, and that will be fantastic.

If you use the manila envelopes that have the metal clasp, these can scuff/The cover of the book, and it arrives looking rough./ Cover up the metal with just a little piece of tape/And your book will get to the requestor’s mailbox in terrific shape!

If you’re Wishing for a book, the way that works best/Is to set that item to Auto-Request.

We know you’re really busy, but don’t send your books out late!/Put them in the mail within a day of the deadline date!/If your shipment is delayed for an unavoidable reason–we don’t doubt it/Just send a Personal Message telling the requestor about it./People won’t re-order a “lost” book if you tell them that it’s coming./Send that PM, and keep the swapping process humming.

And above all, the most important thing to remember–Don’t offer a “bad book” to another member./Don’t post books that don’t meet the guidelines for Book Condition/It’s not okay to post and then send a PM description!/If the book doesn’t measure up, you can’t put it on your shelf–instead/You can offer the book in the Book Bazaar Damaged Book thread!

We know that that this whole thing was pretty lame.  Oh, well/We are good at wrapping, not rapping…thanks for reading LOL

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – December 2006

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

The One-page label option on the Wrapper Settings page is designed for use as a label for an alternate method of packaging, not as the sole means to wrap a book. Members wanted a way to print out the address on an adhesive label to apply to their package (padded mailer, envelope, etc), so we did the programming to make this possible. But one page will not cover a book properly for mailing. If you plan to use the PBS Wrapper as the external packaging for your book, please choose option (1) or (2) on the Wrapper Settings page. Remember, your book should be completely enclosed in the wrapping, and seams and corners should be reinforced with tape (shipping, not Scotch). An inner layer of plastic around the book is a wise precaution in this wet season. Whatever your wrapping method, it should protect your books, so that they get to their new homes safely!

Look for the big red W on your TBR (“To Be Read”) Pile when trying to decide what to read next: the red W next to a book there means it is currently on at least one member’s Wish List, and if you read the book and post it, you will be fulfilling a Wish and getting a credit when the book is marked received by the requestor (or when your DC barcode is scanned by USPS and that information is transmitted to us). The big red W means everybody Wins!

The One-page PBS label is here! Newsletter – November 2006

Monday, November 6th, 2006

You spoke, we heard. Many members wanted a one-page option so that they could print out the address on adhesive labels, and we have provided this. You will see the option in your Wrapper Settings page the next time you go to print the address to send a book.

TIPS&TRICKS: Newsletter – November 2006

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Tape, tape, tape…but not to the book itself! If you reuse bubble envelopes or other packaging to send your PBS books, good for you! PBS is all about giving used things new life. But be sure to tape the worn places on the packaging (always with shipping, not Scotch, tape) so that your books get where they are going safe and sound. And again, don’t tape to the book itself—this often results in damage to the book cover when the package is opened.

Don’t include “extras” with your books. USPS Media Mail rules are quite strict about what can be included in a package in order to qualify it for Media Mail postal rate. The second page of the PBS wrapper counts as an invoice, so that is okay, of course; so is a note saying “Happy Birthday” or “Enjoy your book”. But non-media items, letters or cards, and all promotional material are not permitted. USPS opens Media Mail packages randomly for inspection. Don’t risk having a book returned to you (or destroyed!) because of this. You can read the Help Center item “Can I include anything with my book?” under the heading “Sending a Book” for guidance, and more details.