Affordable shipping practices for booksellers

October 24, 2014 at 4:24 PMAdministrator
Shipping books is a simpler process with supply chain management software.

E-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses specializing in the sale of books require specific shipping parameters. Used, new, reference and textbooks all have one thing in common: They are heavy. Paperback books are more susceptible to damage than hardcover books, though all reading material runs the risk of arriving with bent corners or scratched jackets.

The following methods should be used when shipping books:

Packing materials
Bubble wrap-lined envelopes and folders are not ideal for shipping books, unless they are placed inside a cardboard box. This material will likely bend the corners and cannot protect from jostling in transit. Plus, purchasing boxes in bulk may be less expensive than padded envelopes. Newspaper is also a bad idea for wrapping books, as the print could very well smear itself onto the cover, damaging it. Wrapping a book in saran wrap or sealing it in a water-resistant casing is a good idea, especially in regions with excessive rainfall. 

If a book is wrapped in clear material like plastic or bubble wrap, use a colored tape to seal it together. Buyers can more easily find the seams this way, avoiding causing damage when they open their purchase.

Shipping costs
For a relatively small item, a book can weigh a lot. For business owners, this added expense due to weight is never a good thing. Luckily, the USPS offers a service called Media Mail. This is a much more affordable method for shipping educational materials. While the list of acceptable items is much more extensive, generally speaking sellers can ship books, catalogs, music, sound recordings, test materials and manuscripts. Video games and anything with advertising is prohibited.

The Medial Mail service guarantees delivery in 2 to 8 business days and costs significantly less than a regular shipment of the same weight. The maximum weight is 70 pounds.

Software implementation
Using the services provided by supply chain management software can also help book sellers save on shipping. Customer profiles can be more accurately managed, so if someone orders more than one book, they can be shipped in unison rather than separately. Plus, having the ability to shop around to different carriers can ensure a business finds the best method of shipment for their particular item. Bookstores may sell additional merchandise that does not qualify as Media Mail. In this case, it pays to have a software system that supports the business.