Shipping Large Boxes of Books Revisited

This is the second part of my “Shipping Large Boxes of Books” In the first part of this I related the story of shipping a large set of “The Encyclopaedia Britannica” to a customer at a US Embassy. Early in October I got another order for a set of “The Encyclopaedia Britannia.  This order was for the large format version of this edition which was printed on fine rice paper.  This again was the 1910 / 1911 edition which is considered to be the last great version of this set.  This was a very heavy set of books.  The total weight of the books was almost 100 pounds. If memory serves me correctly I sent one box which weighed 43 pounds and another which weighed 48 pounds. These books were shipped from Pennsylvania to Washington state – completely across the country!  I wanted to insure that the books arrived in the condition they left my shop. I wrapped each book in kraft paper. I chose heavy duty boxes which I purchased at Staples.  The boxes were designed to handle up to 75 pounds per box, so I had a good margin of safety.  In addition to wrapping each book individually I placed bubble wrap on the bottom of the boxes and around the empty spaces in the boxes.  I taped the boxes with 2” wide packaging tape.  I shipped the 29 volume set in 2 boxes. In retrospect I think I should have used 3 boxes.  When I took the boxes to the post office the clerk who assisted me seemed to have difficulty lifting the boxes.  The boxes felt heavy to me, but I did not have difficulty moving them.  Next time I will limit my boxes of books to 35 pounds or so.  I insured both boxes of books.  I shipped 2 boxes and I insured each box for half of the total value of the books.  I thought about insuring each box for the total value of the set – there is an argument that could be made for doing that – the entire set would be worthless if just one of the boxes was damaged , but I decided to take the risk of insuring each box for half of the total value.  I shipped the books via USPS media mail. I could have also shipped them via UPS ,but I have had good results with the USPS.  I obtained delivery tracking and confirmation for both boxes.


With a bit of trepidation I took the books to the post office to begin their journey.  The boxes  were scanned in at the local post office ,but several days later they showed no movement through the USPS system which caused me concern.  The next time that the USPS web site showed any movement for the books was when the books were received in Washington state.  One box showed that it was received in Washington state and had been shipped our form a sort center.  Several days later this box was delivered.  The second box showed no movement at all.  I contacted the customer to find out the condition of the first box.  The customer reported that the first box arrived in good condition with no damage to the boxes or the books.  I went to the Post Office to see if they could provide me with any more information concerning the second box.  They had no more information than I could obtain my own , but they instituted a search and told me that I would be contacted provided with additional information.  I was never contacted by the Post Office.  A few days later the second box appeared at a sort center .  Within 2 days it was listed as “delivered” and I breathed a sigh of relief.  I contacted the customer to find that the second box of books had arrived in good condition and again there was no damage to the books or the boxes. The customer complimented me on the good packing job and thanked me keeping in touch with him during the shipment of the books.  When I had initially gotten the order the customer told me that he had been reluctant to order the set due to unpleasant experiences with getting poorly packed shipments of books in the past.  I was happy with a job well done, a set of books sold, and a happy customer.


Large boxes of books can be safely shipped – even across the country.  As a book seller I am not afraid to ship large sets of books . I learned  lessons in both instances of shipping the two sets of Encyclopaedia Britannica.  I still won’t ship large boxes of books to an Embassy or another large faculty , but I won’t be afraid of buying large sets and I will be more confident that I can ship them safely.


I hope this proves to be helpful !


I am


John Pollard

Brick and Mortar and on the Web