PaperBackSwap Blog

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – April 2006

Don’t forget to mark your Lost Books received when they arrive!
What happens when a book that was supposed to come to you doesn’t arrive by the system action date on the request? It becomes a Lost Book and goes into your list of Books Lost en Route to Me, which is accessible from a link at the top of your Completed Transactions page. Does this mean the book is really lost? Quite frequently, no. Most Lost books aren’t actually lost–they are simply delayed en route to you, and will eventually arrive. When a Lost book does arrive, it is very important to mark it received, so that the sender’s account shows that he or she sent the book. If you do receive a “Lost” book, make sure to mark it received. You can do this by logging into your account, clicking Completed Transactions on the right, then clicking the link at the top of the page “Books Lost en Route to Me.” Locate the book in this list and click the Was Book Received? button. After you have completed the process of marking the book received, the transaction will move to your Completed Transactions list.

How to Wrap a Book.
We know you want your books delivered in the same condition in which you sent them! We know you don’t want to have your books get separated from the wrapping en route. Here are some tips for keeping your books safe while they are in the arms of the USPS:

Using the PBS wrapper. If your book is small enough, you just need to use both printed sheets as the wrapper. See the photographs of how to do this at http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/how_to_wrap.php. *PLEASE NOTE that these photographs predate the Media Mail postal rate increase; 4 first-class (letter) stamps no longer suffice to send a typical paperback. See the FAQs for current media mail rates; check your wrapper for the specific required postage for your package; when in doubt, take it to the post office.*

Many members use an inner layer of plastic, around the book, to protect it from wet weather or accidents en route. Plastic grocery bags, Ziploc bags, clean inverted bread wrappers, saran wrap all work great! Just don’t use the “press and seal” wrap, as that has a tendency to stick to and ruin books.

For larger or heavier books or multiple book shipments, you’ll need to make a sturdier package, using a padded mailer or manila envelope or even a cut-down paper grocery sack. You can cut out the address from the first page of the PBS wrapper and tape it to the outside of your package. Slip the second page into the package with the book. If you use an unpadded envelope of any kind, make sure the excess envelope material is taped down to avoid catching in the postal machines. The key to packing multiple-book shipments well is to prevent the books sliding around in the package en route. They will be jostled a lot on the way to the requestor! You don’t want them to tear through the packaging.

No matter what wrapping method you choose, TAPE is the most important component! Use plenty, especially over the corners. Tape down every seam with packing (not Scotch) tape. It’s always better to use too much tape than not enough.

Our USPS does a great job, but packages are jostled en route and good packaging will protect them for many reads to come.

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