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The Book Fulfillment Process and How it’s Different

Kaylin Maples

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When reading a good book, it can feel as if you’re journeying through a new world. But did you know that your book goes through a journey itself before it even makes it to your hands? Now, it’s not an epic journey, but shipping can be intense for a book. How can you make sure your hero, the book, survives its quest? In this article, we go through the process of book fulfillment and how you can safely deliver your hero to its desired location. 

stack of books

The book’s equipment 

Every hero needs a shield, sword, and sometimes a trusty steed. In this case, your book needs protection. However, the protection varies on how many books you’re trying to mail. Are you planning on mailing one book or a library? This simple question can help you decide which gear your book needs to successfully journey to their new destination. 

One vs a library

For one book, it can be as simple as bubble wrap and a padded envelope. However, you need to take into account the size of your book. If it’s an epic tale that is told in 600+ pages with hardback covers, you might opt for a sturdy box instead of the padded envelope. You also need to take into account the sleeves. 

books on shelf

For a library or more than one book, you will need the trusty steed i.e. the sturdy box. Why a sturdy box? One book can be light, but it starts to get heavier once you start to add more books. A thick, heavy-duty box will be essential for shipping to ensure the box doesn’t collapse under the added weight from the boxes you’re sending out. And, do not skip on bubble wrap! Like mentioned before, the shipping journey can be rough on a package. Bubble wrap will act as a shield for your books as it makes its way to the recipient’s address. Last, you need infill to eliminate the space between the books and box. By eliminating the space, you reduce movement within the box when it’s being loaded into a shipping container and hitting the road. 

Preparing for the book fulfillment journey

Once you grab the book’s equipment, it is time to prep. For this, it’s important to ensure the books are safe and ready for their journey. Prepping a book for travel can be very similar to shipping fragile items. If you haven’t noticed, bubble wrap is key. For the best results, it’s important to tightly wrap each individual book in bubble wrap and secure it with tape. However, it’s important to ensure that no tape is placed on the surface of the book. By only placing tape on the bubble wrap, you reduce the risk of damaging the book’s cover. And If you are concerned about the potential of water damage when shipping, you can place each book individually in poly plastic bags for extra security. 

Into the box we go

If you are shipping one book and you chose a padded envelope, you’re almost done! Simply slide the neatly wrapped book into the envelope and move on to the next step. However, shipping multiple books needs a few extra steps. 

packing books in box

Once you’ve wrapped your book individually, you need to find the right box. Think of picking your box like you are Goldilocks. Nothing too big. Nothing too small. It needs to fit just right. Bear in mind, you need to have just a little wiggle room to add additional padding around the books. And like mentioned before, the box needs to be sturdy if you are shipping multiple books. You do not want to run the risk of your box collapsing or your books falling out of the bottom during its treacherous journey. 

Packing your box for the book’s journey

Now that you’ve found the right box and have wrapped your books securely, it’s time to start packing. One does not simply throw books into a box, there is an art and a science to pick and pack methods. In this case, it involves adding extra security for your books. 

When you start to pack your box full of books, you need to first add a protective layer to the bottom of the box — this could be infill or bubble wrap. By doing this, you reduce the pressure the bottom book has when the box is placed in the truck and is out on the sometimes bumpy road. 

Then, you need a protective layer in between each book, like bubble wrap or parchment paper. Even though each book is wrapped in bubble wrap, it’s an extra level of security that can keep your books safe. 

And finally, you need to place infill around the books to fill the gaps between the books and the box. By adding infill around the books, it will reduce movement during shipping and keep the books in place if there is a shipping mishap. 

This may seem like a lot of infill and protection, but we all know the adage “better safe than sorry” — and it’s extra important for easily damaged items like books!

Time to hit the road

Your hero is finally ready for its journey. In this step, you need to make sure you pick the right carrier and figure out the weight of the package for cost. You need to complete this step to get to the finish line and complete your book’s journey. 

books sitting next to box

Weight of the package

The weight of your package will help you calculate shipping costs. There are two ways to determine how much it will cost, DIM weight and actual weight. DIM or dimensional weight is mainly used by national carriers and is based on the dimensions of the box rather than the actual weight on a scale. However, actual weight is used if the item is heavier than the DIM weight. Here’s how to calculate DIM weight:

(L x W x H)/DIM factor = dimensional weight

Find the right carrier for book fulfillment

Finding the right carrier can be simple. However, it’s good to do your research to find the right carriers that benefit your shipping costs. For FedEx, the carrier offers flat rate shipping that removes the need to weigh your items or find the DIM weight — making the cost predictable each time you ship your books. Similar to FedEx, UPS offers flat rate shipping where you can pick from five flat packaging rates and the four shipping speeds. However, USPS offers Media Mail or book rate that specializes in mailing media from books to DVDs. 

If you choose Media Mail, there are restrictions:

  • Packages cannot contain advertising 
  • Packages can weigh up to 70 pounds and measure up to 108 inches
  • Surcharges for packages over 25 pounds

Once you pick your carrier, then it’s off to the races. You can go online and fill out your forms and print off your shipping label from the convenience of your own home. Each national carrier has an easy step-by-step process to schedule your package pickup online through their individual portals. 

Once the package is dropped off, it’s time for the book’s journey to start. And by following the book fulfillment tips above, your hero will be well-armed and protected to handle the treacherous shipping process. And before you know it, your recipient’s reading the journey printed across your book’s pages. 

reading a book

Shipping items can seem complicated. If you have other items that you need to ship, why not check out our “How to Ship” series to learn more. 

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