SHIPPING COMICS, AND SOME OTHER STUFF I KNOW
We have all been victim to, or heard of bad shipping that results in either a Christmas Miracle, or destroyed comic; and it's often the latter. Considering how much everything in comics has changed since my last shipping article in 2015, and even Brian Wood's 2016 How To Properly Pack A Comic For Shipping, I've been wanting to write an update for quite a while. Below is just that, and a whole lot more.
There are many different methods for sending books. So if you get nothing else from this article, let it be that you should always ship something the way you would want to receive it. Bottom line, this will dramatically lower your chances of unsatisfied customers, damaged goods, and increase repeat business.
Below is a method Ben S. author of CBSI's Top 10, who can also be heard on the Tales From The FlipSide Podcast, showed me. This is a low cost, yet secure way to ship raw comics using mostly the free supplies from the USPS*. I always salvage shipping supplies from my own purchases, and even ask the LCS for old Diamond boxes they're just going to throw away.
What you will need:
Light/Medium tape and box cutter of your choice
For affixing your label I would recommend a Tape Gun and packaging tape. Unfortunately Amazon suppliers can change, which means product quality can change from order to order, so always shop around. If you need bubble wrap for the method you use, this is good stuff here.
Never put heavy duty tape directly on bags to hold a comic in place. It will tear the bags when the customer opens it.
**Tab every piece of tape**
This makes it a lot easier for customers to open your package safely without using a blade.
Right about here is where I almost Paul'd it up. If your cardboard is cut too big it won't fit into the Tyvek.
Sealing the Tyvek is optional, but can help with water protection.
The self sealing envelope is nice, but always add tape for security
Some mail carriers treat these requests as challenges to cram packages into mail boxes etc.
I also cut off the top and bottom portions of my labels. It saves space, but I also I don't like packages advertising eBay in case someone gets curious about what's inside.
Shipping cost $3.18
Never include your trash in a package, it's just rude.
Make this method your own and let me know if you do something different in the comments below. Additional comic supplies can also be found under CBSI's Recommended Supplies list, as well as these websites (in no particular order).
- Gemini Flash Mailers
- Paper Mart 8 ½” X 11” Corrugated Sheets Item #261811
- Paper Mart Vari-Depth Mailers 11″ ¼ X 8″ 3/4 X ½ – 2 Item #07160
- Paper Mart Tear-Proof Mailing Envelopes 14″ X 17″ Item #179-#-3
- ULINE Corrugated Sheets 8 ½” X 11” Item #S-2437
- ULINE Easy-Fold Mailers 11″ 1/8 X 8″ 5/8 X ½ -2 Item# S-165
Now lets talk about shipping slabs
Again, everyone has their own methods, and the golden rule applies.
First put your slab inside two USPS Bubble Mailers. I always double box with a USPS Priority 1097 inside a USPS 1092 box. Other people use the USPS 1092 inside a USPS 1095 box which is a bit bigger. If you want to go wild, each of those boxes will fit inside a Regional Rate Box B2 box as well.
Adding additional cardboard in or around the bubble mailers, and filling this space is at your discretion. Just remember ounces lead to pounds, and pounds lead to payment. Just don't use packaging peanuts, everyone hates them and they are just as annoying as the strips pictured above.
Add a little extra tape for security
1 slab= 1lb 13oz
Shipping Ohio to Virginia: $7.40
Shipping Ohio to Florida: $8.15
Shipping Ohio To California: $10.80
Shipping Ohio to Canada (1st class): $9.99 *see below
The box on the left is the Regional Box B. So if you wanted to add more slabs or padding maybe order a set of these and see if they would work for you. If you use this box, line it with another box to give it extra protection. Worst case, trace the B's out for a few shipping boards if they are too big for your needs. I have also heard of people wrapping these boxes in brown kraft paper, or even Christmas paper to ship Media Mail. Again though, golden rule.
Buying postage, and shipping in bulk
To save yourself the hassle of going into the post office either print your labels from eBay, Paypal, or website of your choice, then schedule a pickup or just drop it off at your local post office. They should have a designated drop off area which will always put a smile on your face when the line is long.
Once you've logged into PayPal go to https://www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create/ and your screen will look like this.
Enter your shipping information and you're off to the races.
Shipping internationally can get tricky. If you are doing this for eBay, understand that their Global Shipping Program charges buyers an arm and a leg and can dissuade buyers. A better option may be to have international buyers contact you and establish an amount through PayPal. Further details in a future article.
First log in like above, choose the country of your choice, and input the information.
The maximum weight for First Class is 4LB, and the 1lb 13oz Slab was $9.99, so plenty of wiggle room. So unless it's a rush delivery, don't use Priority to Canada.
The customs is where it gets tricky, especially for sales. Talk to your buyer about setting this up; usually anything above $20 will incur import fee's for the person receiving the items. If customs searches a package and the value is determined to be higher, they will charge the receiver of the package. Adjust numbers at your own discretion.
Your label will look like this. Don't forget to sign/date before you tape it to your package (you know I've done it!).
The above process is virtually the same for other countries. Your biggest challenge will be making sure you get the address, and customs form correct. You will probably need the USPS Customs Envelope for any country other than Canada
So someone wants to buy your Wolverine Vol 2 #0-192……for bulk shipping anywhere I recommend Lowes heavy duty boxes
Line these boxes with extra cardboard and use the method of your choice following the above processes.
Shout out Ben S, Ben C, Shaun, Jimmy, and Brian W for helping with this article! Next time I'll try to ask twice as many people twice as many questions!
Let me know what I Paul'd Up in the comments below!
*The USPS website states supplies are only to be used for Priority shipping, and penalties may occur if used improperly.