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Posts Tagged ‘Shipping Books & USPS’

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.

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – October 2008

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

It’s that time again. The time of year when the weather can get wet – rainy or snowy – along the route your books will take to their new homes.  Help them get there safe and dry by using an inner layer of plastic in the package.  A clean plastic grocery bag, the wrapping from a roll of paper towels – it’s all good.  Tape it well around the book (don’t tape directly TO the book!) and put the external wrapping around that.  You can also use some clear packing tape over the name/address on the label so it doesn’t smear if it gets rained on.  Nothing’s sadder than getting a wet book – except knowing how easily it could have been avoided!

Read before you click! If you get a request with Requestor Conditions on it, remember to read it carefully before clicking to decline.  We get some anguished messages from members whose requests were declined because the sender misinterpreted them.  Declining means you will not be able to send that book to that requestor – she will not be able to re-request it from you.  So please be sure that you really do not want to send the book to her before you click “My Book Does Not Meet Conditions”.   You can read more in How to Use Requestor Conditions in the Help Center.

Postal rate changes: Newsletter – May 2008

Monday, May 5th, 2008

On May 12th, USPS will raise the price of Media Mail.  Packages up to a pound will cost $2.23 to mail (a dime increase) and packages weighing one to two pounds will cost $2.58 (11 cents’ increase).  But you won’t sweat the dimes and pennies because you’ll be using PBS Printed Postage, and saving the gas money you would be using to drive to the PO for stamps.  See the new rates here.  (PBS Help Doc with just MM and FC rates here.) And If you use stamps, you’ll want to stock up on Forever Stamps now–they cost 41 cents until May 12th, and on May 12th they’ll be worth 42 cents.  The PBS system will be adjusted for the postal rate change on May 12th, so if you have packages to mail after May 12th, remember that the postage will be different on that date.   One good thing–the cost of electronic Delivery Confirmation will not change (it will still be 18 cents).

Mail, we get mail… Newsletter – January 2008

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

even some we shouldn’t get.   If you use the PBS offices return address on your wrapper, and you send out books that are returned, they come back to us.   The most common cause of returned books lately seems to be the “13-ounce rule”: if you mail a package over 13 ounces using only stamps for postage, it needs to be handed to a PO employee (this is a USPS regulation).   A package over 13 ounces bearing postage stamps that is NOT handed to a PO employee is returned.  If it comes to us, we have to make a trip to our local PO to mail it.  We will notify you if this happens, and each account gets a “free” remailing from us; but if this continues to be a problem with a sender, we will charge a credit for the trouble of each PO trip to re-send your books.  Gas is nearly as expensive as gold these days.   You can easily avoid this problem by using PBS Printed Postage to mail your books–the 13-ounce rule doesn’t apply, since the postage is traceable to the sender  Plus, Printed Postage gets you Instant Credit when you mark the book mailed!  Can’t beat that.

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

NEWS: Newsletter – September 2007

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Just Put Down the Stamps, and No One Will Get Hurt. PBS Printable postage is here!  Yes, now you can print the postage to send your books right onto the PBS Wrapper.  Just click Print Wrapper as usual, and you will see the new Wrapper Settings page with the option to choose postage (PBS-DC included), just PBS-DC, or neither.  Check the package weight estimate and correct it if necessary, then print the wrapper and mail!  Because printed postage is not subject to the “13-oz regulation” (all packages bearing stamps that weigh over 13 oz must be handed to a postal clerk at the PO), you can mail your PBS-printed-postage-package (say that three times fast) with your outgoing mail, drop it in a blue mailbox, etc.  If you don’t have a postal scale, you should check out the one in the PBS Store–it’s a great deal at $24.99.  Remember, you can opt to use printed postage with any package, or not; there is no monthly subscription fee.  It’s as easy (and inexpensive) as we could make it!  Now get a-printin’!  PBS Postage will also become available for Box-O-Books and Custom DC very soon.

She’s in the Money...Well, in the book credits, at least.  The Winner of the PBS Third Birthday Contest (and 50 book credits) was Dawn F., who made a spectacular guess of 1,477,378 for the total available books as of noon on September 1st.  The actual number was just ONE book more: 1,477,379.   We got guesses all over the spectrum (a couple of you thought we’d have seven million books!), and some very close to the number, but no one as close as Dawn.  We don’t know if she’s pyschic or lucky or what, but we will be asking her to choose our lottery numbers for sure…

Apology from PBS. We had significant server trouble on August 20th; it took down the whole site for several hours, a really unprecedented length of downtime for PBS.  It took a while to track the problem to its source: the PBS Daily Digest and Daily Wish List.  These emails really put a strain on the server.  We think we have fixed the problem now.  We know you all love your Digests!  We are sorry our servers found them…well, indigestible.

New USPS regulation: Newsletter – August 2007

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

After July 30, 2007, all packages weighing more than 13 ounces (it was previously 16 ounces) that bear stamps as postage must be handed to a postal employee to be mailed. If you use metered postage (such as postage bought from an APC), this regulation does not apply. The regulation says:

Due to heightened security, the Postal Service is revising standards for depositing mail bearing only postage stamps as postage…Effective July 30, 2007:

  • All mail bearing only postage stamps as postage and weighing more than 13 ounces must be presented to an employee at a Postal Service Retail service counter for acceptance. This mail may not be deposited in collection boxes or lobby drops.
  • Carriers will no longer pick up any mail weighing more than 13 ounces bearing only postage stamps as postage from customer mailboxes or at a business’ outgoing mail collection point.
  • Mail bearing only postage stamps as postage and weighing more than 13 ounces that is not presented to an employee at a Postal Service retail service counter will be returned to the customer.”

A reminder of this regulation now appears on the PBS wrapper in the upper right hand corner. Read the official announcement on page 64 in this pdf from USPS. Thanks, baccsurfs, for the heads-up and sending us the pdf link, back when this was just a rumor according to the information we could find ourselves.