Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shipping Books

As I said earlier, I've been ordering books from Amazon and buying them on eBay. Quite a few of these have arrived over the last week and some... And I'm quite annoyed.

Wrapping the book in a layer of newsprint and dropping it into a manila envelope does not constitute proper packaging.

Even if the envelope is lined with cheap bubble wrap or foam.


Out of five books received from amateur booksellers, three have been damaged because of poor quality packaging. One (a tall thin hardback) arrived actually creased! When I brought up the matter with the bookseller she replied, "We are not responsible for what happens to books after we ship them". Now I'll be the first to admit that she is (mostly) correct. But booksellers are responsible for packaging books to survive shipping. If you fail to package a book properly, you are just as responsible as if you personally had damaged the book.

Have you ever ordered a book from Amazon itself? Next time you do, take a close look at how it is packaged - stiffened with cardboard, padded with bubblewrap, and protected from contacting the sides of the cardboard box the books are placed in. (Though their packagers aren't always as careful to pad on all six sides as they might be.) That is the only way to properly package and ship a book.

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