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When you ship a rare book, you can chew through your nails hoping it gets to its destination without damage. Luckily, you can take some precautions in how you package it. This lets you ship antique books safely and without worry.
- Have the book appraised. This can be difficult, but knowing its worth is paramount. If you’re looking to sell the book, an auction company will usually arrange shipping itself. However, auctions usually result in less money than private sales. If you’ve sold the book yourself, you want it shipped by a professional shipping company that is capable of handling antiques and expensive cargo.
- On anything that’s very expensive, you want to get insurance. Something happening en route is very unlikely, but you want to be protected nonetheless.
- Take pictures or video of the book and its condition before sending it so that you have a record of this condition. This protects you against the seller claiming damage as well.
- You’ll want to wrap the book in tissue or craft paper. Do not use newsprint, as this will rub off on the book and damage it. Tissue or craft paper will keep the book clean and initially padded from dust and grit. Wrapping firmly will also help the book hold its shape. Yes, books are solid, blocky objects, but binding can still be shifted and worn, and older books often struggle to hold their pages in. Wrapping will help reinforce the shape during shipping.
- We recommend bubble wrap next. Wrap this around the initial wrapping paper. Wrap around left to right, and then wrap around top to bottom. This secures anything from directly damaging the book. Tape the bubble wrap so it will stay.
- Then, place the entire package in a sealable plastic bag. This helps guard against moisture build up.
- Place this package into a box with padding all around – top and bottom, front and back, and sides. This “floats” the book and its padding so that it doesn’t bang up against the sides. Before you close the box, slip an invoice or card with return address.
- For extra protection, you can put this box into another box, “floating” it with padding all around for extra safety.
- Use strong tape, such as shipping tape or filament tape, to seal the entire package. Do not use a weak tape. Avoid craft, transparent Scotch, masking, electrical, or even packing tape. You can take the utmost care when you ship antique books, but if you skimp on the tape, packages can still come undone.
That’s how you ship a rare book safely. We’re happy to answer any other questions you have or to provide an estimate for your shipping needs!