A Note to the Shipping Department

Josie Leavitt - April 21, 2015

Dear Big Five Publishing House Shipping Department,
I am writing today because I can’t take it anymore. Every day I receive books from your company and every day I despair a little more. No, not because the books are damaged (I’m actually surprised at how infrequently this happens, so yay, you!) but at the sheer waste that has been happening lately. I know you’re busy with therightpig merger and dealing with the kinks of combining two shipping departments, but this is crazy.
The bubble wrap to the right (I put the foot-high flying pig penny holder in the photo for perspective) represents the bubble wrap I got for three boxes of books. Here’s where my real issue takes hold: all of this bubble wrap came to protect five books.
I’m sure you’re scratching your collective heads right now, thinking surely, five books did not come in three boxes. Yes, yes, they did. Five books, picture books at that, came in three fairly large boxes. I understand why there was need for protection as we all know books packed in large boxes without copious amounts of bubble wrap or air pillows are far more likely to get bounced around and damaged during shipping.¬†But I have a suggestion: why not combine the shipments into ONE box? ¬†Books are friendly things and they like being together with other books.
And I cannot recycle this kind of bubble wrap where I live, so now I have to throw it out or somehow save it in my already crowded back room, where I currently have six feet of bubble wrap waiting for someone in town to move who wants free packing materials. And while it looks like it should stack well, it doesn’t ,and is forever falling to block our access to our restocking shelves. While I didn’t have to pay for shipping on these (thank goodness for that, or I’d have written a far less pleasant note) I didn’t actually order these books. They were complimentary copies. Please don’t get me wrong, I love getting your books and particularly love getting free books from you, but not in three separate shipments that create more work than necessary for my already overworked staff.
So, since you’re probably still shaking out the kinks since you merged, I have a few ideas that you might want to start adapting.
– Use the right-sized box for shipments. It feels like the folks in charge of printing boxes with your name company name only have made HUGE and LARGE boxes and no mailers or small boxes. If you forward me the name of the person, I will write to them as well.
– Perhaps ask stores if they want these free books before you send them out. Not all freebies are created equal (this is what no one will tell you, so you can thank me for my honesty later). Again, if I get the name of the person to speak to about that, I will draft a note post-haste.
– Maybe it’s because I live in Vermont, and we care about landfills here, but to not use material that can be easily recycled seems very 20th century, and isn’t your new company supposed to be an industry leader? Lord knows you’re big enough to be setting a better example.
Thanks so much for your time and I hope you all have a great day.
Josie Leavitt

6 thoughts on “A Note to the Shipping Department

  1. Trish Brown

    Thanks from all of us who unpack boxes of books, Josie! We have a very small storeroom, and the bubble wrap piles up quickly, especially now that Penguin & Random House have combined.

  2. Monica

    We used to have a similar problem with the company that we get most of our library’s books from. They would use their largest box to send us 1 DVD. Started with them about 8 or 9 years ago and it’s only been the last 2 years that we have seen small mailers. They do eventually learn!

  3. Lynne

    In the meantime, you could contact your local Habitat for Humanity store. Ours is in constant need of bubble wrap.

  4. Kimberly McGee

    While I agree with all the comments and I too have had to live with the daily absurdities of book shipping, I think some of you are protesting too much. When some of our book distributors pack our orders in large boxes it results in crushed pages, torn covers and other sad abuses. We reuse our bubble wrap for kid’s events or donate them to people who can use it. What if the publishers send us multiple books instead of just the ones we request? That would make me very happy! I am old-school and need to read printed advance copies once in a while not just the instant gift of a digital copy so I am grateful to the publishers who still provide this service.


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