Corrugated Mailing Boxes

I want to talk to you for  a minute about shipping books. I owned a used bookshop for 4 years and learned a thing or two about shipping books, both from the sender’s end and the receiver’s end. To throw out some numbers, and keep in mind we were a small family shop, I sent out over 5000 books and probably received close to 700 – so I know a bit about the topic. Let me tell you right now that corrugated mailing boxes are the way to go.

B-Flute as they are known around the business. Of the 5000 books that I mailed out, would you care to guess how many were returned do to damage? Zero. Like to know how many negative remarks we received on Amazon and eBay due to our packaging? Zero.

Corrugated Mailing Boxes may not be the prettiest things to look at but the are:

  1. inexpensive
  2. easy to use (fast to package)
  3. fits just about any sized book
  4. get the job done

We wrote a pretty extensive article on corrugated mailers in another post, complete with instructions and images. I’m sure you’ll find the process quite easy to implement. This post is just a reminder for those thinking of starting out selling online. You need to get a grip on expenses right from the start or they can get out of control. If you plan on becoming an Amazon dealer and hope to sell a certain volume then why spend $1.00 per book or more when you could be spending about $0.30. Some bulk clear food wrap, some tape and staples to go along with your b-flute and voila! cheap corrugated mailing boxes custom fit for any sized book.corrugated book mailer

One other quick point on why these mailers are great for books, the books do not move inside the packaging. This is crucial. It’s the sliding around inside the packaging that causes the corners to get bumped. I’ve received (and sent back) my share of quality books tossed into oversized bubble mailers. Not fun.

There are many dealers that voice opinions against this method of book mailers and perhaps some will add their opinions to this very post. Granted – I would not use corrugated mailing boxes on higher end items. If a client is giving you $100+ for a book, the least you could do is wrap it up in finer, prettier boxes. (I’ve heard of some using a fine glueless wallpaper to add an extra appeal to the interior wrapping). But if you’re selling at volume and are concerned about margins/per book then consider this inexpensive solution. Corrugated mailing boxes, or b-flute is the way to go.

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20 thoughts on “Corrugated Mailing Boxes”

  1. B-flute may be better protection for the book and you’ve had a good track record at it but I’ve shipped around 6000 books and have used a bubble mailer on each one and have received 2 negative feedbacks because of packaging. 2/6000 ain’t bad and when you consider how much time and money I saved doing that it’s more than worth it. I’ve even had a dozen or so people tell me it’s GOOD packaging!

    The average online book buyer does not care how it’s packaged as long as it’s adequate. In my opinion, save your money and time and take the .023% negative feedback. It makes more business sense.

    1. Hi Adam,

      Costs? how much is a bubble mailer? the b-flute method works out to about 30 cents a book.
      It comes down to our own experiences. I received a book for my collection from California in a loose bubble wrapped envelope. Two of the corners were badly banged – I had to return it. We’ve shipped about the same amount – I’ve had 0 negative feedback, guess we can call that one a draw.

  2. I pay about 22 cents for my bubble mailers. I’ve seen what some go through to wrap the B-flute around the book, put it in plastic, etc. It just doesn’t seem to make business sense to me if you’re not sending collectible books but to each his own I guess. 🙂

    1. Hi Adam,
      22 cents is a great price. What size and quantity are you buying and where do you get them? I don’t ship books very often, and can’t seem to justify the cost to buy 250linear feet of corrugated so the bubble wraps seem like a better solution for me. I checked stapes and they were about .89 cents per env.

      Thanks in advance!


  3. I have shipped probably more than 20,000 books using various kinds of methods but haven’t tried the B-flute yet. My main concern is time. If B-flute can save time, I will definitely want to try it. I have heard this method of packaging and received books using it, but I still would like to know whether it saves time comparing to bubble mailers.
    I tried the cut-and-tape method for big books. What I do is to pick some recycled flat cardboards from Sam Club and cut them to fit the books and tape them. It is time consuming.
    Of course, majority of my books are mailed in a bubble mailer if they fit in there. I also wrap a plastic or some other warppers around the book before I put a book in a mailer. Still I do not like the time I spend on packaging.
    How much time do you spend on packaging? Say 20 books per day? I mean oversized textbooks.

  4. I run into this all the time buying textbooks on Amazon. If the book is relatively light, then a bubble envelope seems to be adequate. However, if the book is anything more than a pound or so, the bubbles on the corners are quickly deflated, and the packaging offers little more protection than a regular manila envelope.

  5. Can someone answer for me what type of bookfold boxes Amazon uses? They’re the ones that fold in from the sides at the bottom rather than in the middle and then fold over fully with a self-adhesive flap. I can’t find them anywhere and I don’t know what they’re called.

  6. Hi All,

    I’d like some of those fold in flap boxes like Amazon too, maybe someday when we know the name…

    When training my packers with the bubble envelopes, I always say fold the envelope over to seal it so that there is no room for the book to shift in the envelope.

    Anything over 1.5 pounds must be cardboarded.

    1. They’re specially made for companies like Amazon and Ingram by RockTenn, who doesn’t currently ship small orders to bookstores like mine but might in the future be able to accommodate us.

  7. Cardboard can be found by looking through your yellow pages for b-flute or simply cardboard wholesalers. And as for time, yes I did calculate it. Once you get the hang of this is can be done very quickly – under 30 seconds.

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