Here are some quick tips on things not to do when you’re shipping books.
1. Never permit any corner of any book to be without delay against any corner or any box.
2. Don’t pack loose books (books must be wrapped up in paper or placed in bags in the box).
3. Do not use 2nd hand boxes. Used boxes that have lost their shape have also lost their structural strength.
4. Do not use shoe, donut, gift-wrapping or tissue (Kleenex) boxes for shipping books. Boxes should be of corrugated construction and multihead weigher at least two hundred pounds per square in. bursting strength. Heavier weight boxes or doubled boxes might be needed with awfully heavy or frail books.
5. Do not use non-compressible fill around books. The force of an impact will transfer through the fill and damage the books. Compressible yet resilient fill is a total must. It can be reused and includes all of the following: froth loose fill cushioning (‘peanuts’), froth or cellulose roll cushioning, shredded paper, crumpled paper (papers are perfect), bubble wrap, corrugated sheets and pads, and so on.
6. Do not tie boxes with string, rope of bands. This is still a commonly used system in Europe but isn’t sufficient in the US and with excellent reason. These ties have a tendency to get stuck in machinery with potential damage to both the package and contents. Far worse is the common EU practice of wrapping books in a number of layers of bubble wrap and then tying the package with string. The string invariable leaves dents and or groves in the books. Rather than using these ties, use fortified tape round the box, in both directions, if required.
7. Don’t use padded mailers (jiffy bags) for shipping soft bound books or catalogues unless they’re first wrapped up in at least a double layer of heavy card with the catalog immobilized inside. The card must be bigger than the catalogue so that the corners won’t be crushed. It’s not always safe to ship even a light weight hard bound books in a padded mailer as there’s little protection from bending and corner banging. Use padded mailers only parsimoniously and with additional internal protection.
8. Don’t ship packages that aren’t correctly sealed. All box flaps must be sealed and in addition, on heavy boxes or packages shipped overseas, all the folded edges should be taped too. Giant or heavy boxes need more tape. One layer of the standard 1.8 mil carton sealing tape applied down the centre of the box flaps is not enough for any package! [I have received boxes weighing forty pounds and more sealed in this fashion. In a particular case the tape was damaged and the books prepared to fall out. In another case some to the books were missing and in another the box was empty]