Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Amazon seller Bversek: Don’t illegally use USPS materials! Also, don’t wrap books in newspaper!

This is a little lesson for the new booksellers out there.
When you get an order that you’re going to send Media Mail, you’ve got to find your own packaging material.
You can’t just use USPS pre-provided Priority Mail or Express Mail packaging.
The seller who sent me the below parcel didn’t know that.
I ordered from Bversek on Amazon on September 6.
The postage for the item was printed on September 8.
At 5:11 PM on September 10th, the item was scanned at acceptance by the US Postal Service. This was 4 business days after the order. Amazon requires that you ship within two days of the order, so that scan should have taken place on the 8th, not the 10th.
My carrier scanned the item as 'Out for delivery' at 9:14 AM. The item was scanned as delivered at 4:29 PM, which is when it was physically delivered. Kudos to the carrier for being honest, as some carriers have a bad habit of scanning packages before they actually get to the destination.
I saw the book on the evening of September 14th, and it came in this package (not that I have edited the images to conceal the source and destination:

Not cool. Media Mail needs to go in something besides USPS Priority Mail packaging. Them's the rules!
What happens much of the time when you send USPS Media Mail in Priority Mail packaging is:
- The USPS catches it and makes your customer pay the difference between Media Mail and Priority Mail. Your customer gets ticked!
- The USPS catches it and returns the book to you with a stamp saying ‘Insufficient Postage’. Your customer gets ticked!

I’ve left negative feedback before for this kind of thing, but the guy is basically brand-new, so I won’t neg him. He tries hard, and was responsive in our earlier email correspondence, although he made one other mistake: he packed the book in newspaper. Newspaper’s ink has a bad habit of rubbing off on items you pack in it, which really isn’t that big of a deal if it’s a plastic cup, but stinks if you’re mailing a book. I got lucky, no damage this time.
If you want to be a successful bookselling pro, you can order quality packaging materials here:
I suggest these products:
For valuable books, I like this box:

11 3/4 x 10 3/4 x 2 1/4" White Literature Mailers

Fill the voids with this stuff, which is reasonably economical, and has no ink to rub off on your books:

30 lb. Kraft Paper Roll - 24" x 1,200'

Less valuable items may be packed in these guys, but please be careful about bending softcover corners and sending excessively heavy items in them:

Uline Poly Bubble Mailers

Notice this guy’s feedback. He seems to be pretty new:

Feedback Rating: 
5.0 stars over the past 12 months (1 rating)

Feedback30 days90 days365 daysLifetime

Recent Feedback:
5 out of 5: "Great seller! Contacted me about late delivery, but it still came in earlier than expected. Item in great condition, just as he described. Highly recommend" 
Date: September 6, 2010     Rated by Buyer: Ben M.

Bad bookseller Bversek! No cookie!

You've got two days to ship, per this Amazon page.
The USPS frowns on using Priority Mail boxes for Media Mail.

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