Confessions of a mail order man


mail orderYou can’t outrun your past.

Many years ago, I used to buy and sell paper collectibles.  Comics, magazines, books, stamps, cards…all sorts of paper-based items.  I advertised through trade periodicals (get an idea how long ago this was, now?) and all my business was conducted via the USPS or UPS.

Only two items could mess up the sale:  bad condition or bad packing (the second of which could lead to the first).  Being a conscientious dealer, I took great pains to ensure the purchased items were properly protected and safely secured (protecting well doesn’t help if the items can move around in the package).

That skill now comes back to “haunt” me as the first of my Goodreads giveaways comes to a close.  I will soon receive a list from Goodreads of the winners of a free print copy of What if?, the first book in the Jeremy Shuttle Adventures trilogy.  Once I have the list, I will need to ship out the 50 copies to the lucky winners.  Though I could easily just slip the copy of the book in a USPS priority envelope (hard flat paperboard), my history as a packer precludes me from such an “easy out”.

So, I will pack the books as I did in the past.  First, slip the book in a protective plastic sleeve, then tape the sleeve to a flat backer board (a piece of heavy stock paper) and then flip it and tape the other side to another backer board and then slip it into a safe (and snug) envelope.  No shimmy, no slipping, no exposure of the edges or covers to any outside contact.

Packing 50 of those in one sitting will be unlikely.  Getting them all done before I go on vacation next week seems improbable.  Still, if I get the list the day after the giveaway ends, it is possible and that’s what I’m striving for.  I’m sure the wave of nostalgia packing up books for shipping will fade long before I get to the 50th copy!

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