3 Things You Should Know If You're Going to Ship Books

Tips for Shipping Books Books aren’t particularly fragile and won’t spoil during transportation, so they are not that hard to ship. However, there are still things you should know if you want to ship books cheaply and reliably. Let us offer you a few helpful pointers and tips to help you pack books for shipping and save money.

Choose the Best Shipping Option

If you need to ship books domestically, there are several affordable shipping solutions for you to choose from. They include, for example, USPS Priority Mail, USPS Flat Rate, USPS Media Mail, USPS Parcel Post, and UPS Ground. Which of them is the best in your particular case is up to you to decide.

USPS Flat Rate envelopes, for example, are a great solution when you need to ship a single book. USPS Priority Mail, USPS Parcel Post and UPS Ground, in general, are reliable and affordable; the cost of shipping in each case will depend on the weight/dimensions of your package and the distance it needs to travel. The best way to compare your options is to use our shipping calculator.

USPS Media Mail deserves a special mention because the United States Postal Service created this service specifically for shipping various forms of media and educational materials: books, video and sound recordings, manuscripts, printed music, etc.

It is significantly cheaper than other shipping options, but not without its drawbacks: Media Mail takes longer to deliver, it does not include coverage (so not the best option for shipping expensive or rare books unless you purchase additional insurance), and you aren’t allowed to ship non-media items in the same package as books.

The above options, however, are only available for domestic shipping. When it comes to shipping books internationally, the shipping calculator comes to the rescue once more: it’s hard to recommend a specific shipping solution without knowing the size and weight of your package, as well as the destination country. Use the shipping calculator to compare all the available options and choose the best one.

Wrap Each Book Individually

If you’re shipping several books in one package, you should wrap each one individually for reliable protection. The first step is wrapping each book in plastic to protect it from moisture and damage to exposed pages. You can use plastic wrap, a Ziploc bag, or a plastic newspaper bag (if it is the right size for the book). As a last resort, you can wrap the book in a generic plastic bag and secure it with packing tape.

The next thing you need to do is protect the cover of the book from wear and tear. The best materials for it are plain cardboard sheets or corrugated cardboard in a roll. If you’re using plain cardboard, cut two rectangular pieces of cardboard, which should be a little larger than the book, and sandwich the book between them. If you’re using corrugated cardboard, wrap it around the book tightly and secure it with tape.

The final step is to wrap the book in packing paper to keep the cardboard in place and provide additional protection from dirt, dust and moisture.

Properly Arrange the Books Inside the Box

When you’re shipping multiple books of different sizes in the same box, it’s a bit like a game of Tetris: you need to arrange the books inside the box so that they don’t shift during transportation. Take a box that is slightly bigger than the total volume of the books you’re shipping and keep rearranging the books inside until you’re satisfied with the result.

The two preferred methods of packing books are laying them on their side or placing them vertically with the spine facing down; please, avoid packing the books with the spine facing up in order to prevent deformation. If there is any free space left in the box once you’ve arranged the books to your liking, fill it with crumpled paper, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or another suitable packing material.