Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Packaging Books

"How to" package books for shipping. 


   - You might save $$ shipping parcel post. The rules are strict for the $2.50 shipping rate, but not hard to comply with. Add your cute card and note on the outside of the package instead of inside!!!  The Post Office ships cheaper than UPS or shipping stores that can only ship First Class.  Ask the clerk for the "best price" when they're weighing your package. They often assume you prefer speed over price.

Note: Post Offices often have large-ish lines. Bring a book to read!!

   - Shipping out of the country anywhere from the USA is "First Class Air" even a mile across the Canadian border. You want your book as LIGHT as possible and as SMALL as possible.

Most of us have packaging lying around from a recent book arrival. The Post Office prefers to have any markings that don't originate with you blacked out. If you're re-using a box that contained hazardous substances before, make sure to black it all out.  (Yes, I've done that before.) If you're shipping a book in an Amazon book box, you can probably get away with it, no prob.  If you find the one PO clerk that demands you follow their rules or you won't get a great shipping rate, we can swap horror stories.

For my packaging, I re-use paper grocery bags. They're kinda nostalgic even without tying 'em up in string. Plus they're small and light and un-marked. The PO clerks are very friendly when I bring 'em in, which makes me feel like a happy deliverer of brown paper packages.

I know they look all cute -n- fancy stacked up, but they're super-duper simple and easy to package. There's only one thing I am hyper enthusiastic about - sticky packing tape!!!

I've tried all kinds, so paleeeeeze take my advise on this!!!!  Don't buy the Scotch Packing Tape for $8/tiny roll!!! (It's too thick and not sticky enough.) Don't use regular wrap tape!!  Glue sticks won't work, either!!!  You want the ultra-cheap packing tape that comes in rolls for $2 - $3. It comes with it's own lil' dispenser or you can get refillable rolls for these fancy-schmanzy tape dispensers.

Back in the day I put in my graveyard hours at a shipping company (like UPS, only different) and these dispensers are THE BOMB for wrapping lots of big boxes with super-human speed. But for this size of package, I just get myself wrapped up in the excess tape. (It's fun, if you wanna give the big dispenser a try. Kinda like that scene in Christmas Vacation when what-his-face gets sap all over his fingers.)


1 paper shopping bag.

1 roll of cheap sticky packing tape


Blank card & envelope

Stamp to decorate card

Stamp ink


1 -  Cut the paper bag in half

2 - Wrap the book like a gift, grocery art inside.

3 - If you're shipping items with the book, overlap the brown paper to strengthen the side with the goodies. Chocolate &/or pens should be wrapped in plastic in case they burst in transit.

4 - Add your personal touch!

I found these blank cards on discount for $1.50/10 cards. I knew it was a "deal" but I've never used 'em 'til now.  Same with my stamp... think I grabbed it out of a $10 bucket years and years ago, but I rarely write random notes to people where a cute girl writing at an ol'-fashioned desk is "cool". (Weird!)  They're perfect for this!!!

Note: Use whatever ya got lying around!!

I write the address on the outside of the card and then tape it onto the package (with my sticky packing tape!). The address should be as boringly easy to read as I can make it with my writing skills 'cause I want it to arrive at it's destination. But I go wild with my calligraphy practice inside the card!!!

Out of that big stack of books in the first picture, I paid $2.50 for half of 'em.  Four of 'em went outside of the USA, but only two of those cost (a little) more than $10, which is NOT BAD!! It could've cost me $80 bucks to ship all those, but I paid less than $35.

Giveaways are fun!!  Trading books is so fun!!  Figuring out how to ship 'em was pretty darn cool, too!  Do you have some fun hints to share?!


  1. Excellent ideas! Thanks so much for posting this. A great way to save money and recycle!

  2. Neat post!

    In fact, I had been wondering for the longest time how to send a book through the mail. However, Google didn't give me much results on the first page, and I was too lazy to show off my Google-fu.

    I'll bookmark this and keep this in mind if I decide to do a giveaway. Once I get a signed book and a larger audience, of course.

    But I like the paper bag wrapping. Good way to reuse resources while inducing an awesome feel and texture and aura to it.

  3. This is an awesome post. Gave me a lot of ideas. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Thanks for the tips. This was a great post. Especially since I'll be mailing some books next week. :)

  5. The post offices around me all add the price of a first class stamp if a card is taped on the front, and some will not even allow the parcel to go media mail if it has a card taped to the front. You most have awesome post office employees by you! Paper bags do make awesome book wrapping for shipping - done that a few times myself.

    1. Good to know! Although... that's $.44 right? I'd still want to throw a mini-fit. Lol.

      I had a fiasco the day I figured out that I couldn't ship "parcel" if there was anything at all with my writing inside the package.

      You think they'd at least coordinate their odd-ball rules.

      Thx for sharing!

  6. Great post! Thanks for sharing super awesome shipping ideas. I honestly never thought about packaging in a paper bag-green and shabby chic. LOVE IT! Do you mind if I pass your idea along on my blog??
    Thanks so much for sharing!!

    1. How fun!!! I hope you liven it up a little 'cause every time I look at this post I wonder where my brain went. Sometimes I get so.... so.... demonstrationy. Is that a word?!

  7. Woah ... I once received two heavy hardcover books packed like this (the books came from the US, I live in Europe) - let's just say I'm glad the books survived, because the paper was ripped open at the corners (needless to say, the books were damaged in those spots). So while this might work for smaller books, I do not recommend sending heavy and/or bigger volumes with this method.

    1. Hm... I haven't heard anything negative about my bags, but that's GREAT point that they need to be sturdy or our treasures are in danger!!!!

      Then again... I have been known to be excessive with the sticky tape, too. On occasion. For strengthening purposes!! (or whatever!)

    2. Maybe two books can't be packed like this, too.

      Just sayin'... always good to have brain turned on.

    3. Meaning... do yer best to make sure it's secure.

      I got a book once where my postal deliverer jambed it in my box all twisted and it bent the paperback binding. Can you believe that?! It was quite irking to read 'cause I'm so careful about my pages and binding. Makes me want to find a big dog to introduce to the substitute delivery kid.

      Oh... I HAVE a big dog. Hehehehehe

    4. Oh man... it's late for me. Sorry for all the comments. I'm going to bed.

  8. I am so wrapping books like this from now on. I don't have cute cards though, but if/when I ever start a blog...I know the perfect way to do it! ;) I dunno if I'm in the minority but I always keep whatever the person sends with the book. So I have your card tucked into my book to use as a bookmark! I like little mementos, even if they're just blogger cards. Except, when they're on post-its. Then I just stick em to the inside of the back flap.

    Also, on the topic of damaging, I think as long as you tape the edges and bottoms so it doesn't fall out it should be good? I overuse tape like it's nobodies business...because I actually received a signed book from an author and the entire bottom was ripped open. The post office had to put it into a clear plastic bag with little "sorry your package ripped open" all over it. So ever since that, I'm super careful! I'd hate for that to happen to someone on account of me not taping the ends.

    1. Do tell!!! What's "the perfect way to do it"?!?! :-D

      I rec'd a package once that was a solid block of tape. It was hilarious. A Christmas package from an enthusiastic aunt, I think. It took us knives and much too much time to peal back the layers to get in. jajajajaja Ever since that, I leave untaped edges for easy GENTLE access. Besides, that... I'm with you on the tape. It's very protective and fun to layer on thick!!!! Lol

  9. love this post! never heard of those wrapping ideas but I sure will try it, thank you!

  10. I recycle my shipping supplies too. Love your ideas!

  11. Great post, I love the idea of using paper bags I have so many in the trunk of my car. I also like to put cards in giveaway books to personalize it.

  12. Great idea! I reuse the envelopes that I get books in from authors & publishers. They're usually padded or those cardboard envelope things. I also *always* wrap my books in plastic wrap before packing. (I use the cheap stuff.) It keeps the book dry "just in case" and it there's a book jacket, it keep it in place so it doesn't get bent. I try to put hardcover books in boxes, but if I use an envelope, I put a piece of cardboard on either side of the book and wrap it in the plastic wrap like that. It keeps the edges from getting bent. It does add a little weight, but not much and it protects the book and jacket.

    1. What I LOVE about your comment is the care you take with books. Seriously. I just lent a few of my precious babies to family to read and I about fainted when one of 'em tossed a hardback into a bag to take come. If that book doesn't come back in the condition I lent it in........ that relative will suddenly find she needs to get another source for good reading. She knows how my books stay looking "new" regardless of reading them. She knows!!!! That's enough fore-warning to me. Just talking about it makes me nervous & irritated.

      My point is... I wish everyone was as careful as you regarding books, especially hardcovers and especially anyone borrowing one of 'em. HELLO!!!!!

  13. Packaging is one of the most important things in shipping your goods. Because you have to make sure that the product will be delivered to your customer safe and damage-free. So everyone really should invest on materials that they know is effective and effective. Anyway, thanks for sharing these tips. You just proved to everyone that an effective packaging doesn’t always have to be expensive.

    Thelma Bowman @ Quality Strapping


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