game, game. repeat.

How To Ship a Used Book

Mon 25 May 2009 #misc


So you sold your used book on Amazon, you’re basking in the glow of your success, and then it dawns on you that the buyer is expecting you to send them the book.

No worries, here’s how you do it: 1) print the packing slip from Amazon; 2) put the book in a padded envelope with the packing slip; 3) address the package to the buyer; 4) weigh the package; 5) look up the postage; 6) put the right postage on there; 7) write ‘media mail’ beneath the stamps on the package;8) stop by your local post office and drop it off in person. Easy.

FAQ…or at least, PAQ–predicted to be asked questions:

Q: Why ship USPS rather than UPS or FedEx or DHL or courier pigeon?
A: USPS is usually cheaper for books (and other “media”) because they offer a special rate for them.

Q: Why do I have to write “media mail” underneath the stamps?
A: That’s how the post-office knows to charge the lower, “media mail” rate rather than the higher “first class mail” rate.

Q: What if the book gets lost in the mail?
A: Then you’ll have to refund your customers money. The vast majority of items arrive without any problems…I only consider buying insurance on shipments worth more than $20.

Q: What if someone fibs and says the item never arrived, but it really did?
A: Then you are out of luck. A high rating by your buyers dramatically improves the amount you earn and the speed with which your items sell, so its in your interest to refund their money and keep them happy no matter what you suspect. The vast majority of buyers are honest folks, this is so rarely an issue–it’s usually not worth protecting yourself with insurance on the package but you always have that choice if you want to pay in order to reduce your risk.

Q: Why buy the bulk package of envelopes linked to in this post?
A: Padded envelopes are typically 2-5x more expensive from Office Depot or your local postage supply store. Unless you only plan to sell a couple books, buying in bulk will save you a good amount of money.

Q: Why buy the big envelopes linked to in this post?
A: An envelope that is too small isn’t any use, but one that’s too big can be folder over and used. Buying in bulk, rather than buying small quantities of various sized envelopes saves you money.

Q: Why should I drop the package off in person? Why not just put it in a nearby mailbox?
A: The post office will return any package that weighs over 13 ounces unless it’s dropped off, in person, at the post office. Blame all those crazy people shipping bombs and poison through the mail.