How to Pack and Ship Comic Books

How to Pack and Ship Comic Books Whether you sell vintage comic books on eBay or just want to gift a few of your favorite comics to a friend, you should know how to pack comics properly and choose the best shipping service if you want them to arrive in a timely manner and intact. Let us share a few tips on how to pack and ship comic books that might come in handy.

The main concern when shipping comic books is how to protect them from bending, creasing, and other damage while in transit. Comic books, especially vintage ones, are too fragile for a simple padded envelope, so you will need to take a few extra steps to make sure they are properly protected.

The first step is bagging and boarding each of the comic books you’re shipping. If you’re an experienced comic book owner, you know what we are talking about, but let us explain it for casual comic book readers who might not know. A comic book bag is a clear plastic sleeve designed to protect your comic book from the elements, and a comic book board is a piece of acid-free cardboard to keep the comic book flat and prevent creasing and bending.

Comic bags and boards come in three main sizes depending on the comic book size: Golden Age, Regular/Silver Age, Current/Modern Age. It is important to choose the right size to keep your comics safe during shipping. The easiest way to bag and board your comics is to insert the board into the bag first and then insert the comic. Each comic should be placed in its own bag.

The next step is protecting your comic books with cardboard. Boards are enough to protect comic books from bending while in storage, but you want extra protection during transit. Before putting comic books in a shipping envelope or box, you need to sandwich them between two pieces of clean, flat, uncreased cardboard that are a little larger than the comics.

Place the comic face down onto a piece of cardboard and secure it in place with three pieces of painter’s or masking tape (one on each side except for the spine). Never use shipping or packing tape because it will make it very hard to unpack the comic. If you ship multiple comics, stack them on top of one another in such a way that their spines do not align. Cover the comic or comics with the second piece of cardboard and tape it on all four sides using the same kind of tape. The resulting “sandwich” must be secure but not too tight.

If you ship between 1 and 3 comic books (maximum 5 if they are really thin), you can place the “sandwich” in a padded envelope. Bubble wrap inside the envelope will provide an extra layer of protective cushioning, so we highly recommend using padded envelopes instead of regular ones. Then place the envelope inside a sturdy shipping box made of corrugated cardboard that’s not too large for your stack of comics.

We recommend against shipping comics in just an envelope if you want to be sure they won’t get bent. If you choose to ship comics in an envelope, do not forget to stick a “Do not bend” label to the front and back of the envelope, or write the warning with a permanent marker.

If you ship more than 3–5 comics, you can forego the envelope and simply wrap the stack in bubble wrap before placing it in the box. This will protect the corners and edges of the comics in case the box is dropped and deformed. Fill any remaining space inside the box with packing peanuts, crumpled paper, or any other suitable cushioning material. After that, all that’s left to do is to tape the box shut, print a shipping label, affix it to the box, and label your package as fragile.

What shipping service should you use? This depends on your priorities. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is more affordable, but you can use FedEx or UPS if you want your package to arrive a little bit faster or simply because shipping with private couriers makes you more comfortable. We recommend that you compare all available shipping options and use the one that fits your needs the best in terms of quality, speed, availability of tracking, and other factors and services.

The one shipping service you should NOT use is USPS Media Mail. USPS Media Mail was conceived as an affordable way to ship educational materials, and the USPS guidelines explicitly state that comic books are not educational materials and cannot be shipped via Media Mail. Media Mail packages are subject to inspections, so if you try to ship comics via Media Mail, there is a chance that you will get caught and the package will either get returned to you (with no refund of the postage) or be reclassified as Priority Mail, and the recipient will have to pay the difference in postage.

If you ship rare or vintage comic books, we suggest purchasing additional insurance against loss or damage that will cover their entire cost instead of the default coverage (typically in the range of $50–100) included in the shipping cost. We also recommend that you pay a little extra for Signature Required/Delivery Verification just to be on the safe side.