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7 Tips for Shipping Books

Posted in Packing, Shipping on Jul 14, 2014, tagged with household goods

Shipping your books sounds simple, right? You might think that all you have to do is place them in a box and tape it up and you’re good to go, but it isn’t that easy.

Moving or shipping your books creates opportunities for damage like bent spines and water damage. Use the following tips to safely ship your books: 

1. Declutter your library

Before you start packing your books, sort through your collection and set aside any volumes you no longer need. Old textbooks, duplicates, and children's books your kids have grown out of are all good candidates for donation. 

2. Clean your books

Books are notorious dust collectors. Before you pack your beloved collection into a box, take the opportunity to clean them. You can use a paper towel with a little Windex on it, or simply use a slightly damp dishtowel or paper towel to remove any dust from the cover. 

3. Protect books from leaks and water damage

Water and moisture can damage the pages, as well as the hard or soft covers of your books. You can prevent leaks and water damage by packing them into grocery bags, as long as you make sure the bags are properly sealed using tape. You can also use a padded envelope to protect paperback and more fragile books—this will protect them from getting bent, and will help prevent water damage too. 

A layer of tissue paper along the bottom of your box can also help preserve any hardcover books and slipcovers.

4. Use the right sized box

Books should be packed into small, strong boxes. This will prevent any one box from getting too heavy, and will also help you avoid packing other items into a box alongside your books. Books are heavy, and any bumps that cause them to shift can easily result in damage to anything else sharing space in a box that's too large. If you only have large boxes, use bubble wrap or crumpled packing paper to fill any extra space.

5. Pack books flat

Don't pack your books vertically—this can damage the spine. Instead, lay them flat on the bottom of the box. 

6. Use a lot of tape

Don't worry about using too much packing tape to construct your moving boxes—there's no such thing as "too much tape" when it comes to packing books. Since books aren’t always considered “fragile” goods, don’t count on movers to treat them like they’d treat a box of fine china. Take responsibility and make sure that the books are secure and the box is taped shut correctly to ensure that they arrive safely. Reinforcing the bottom and top of boxes with extra tape will prevent the box from breaking or tearing open. 

7. Label the box

Even if your moving company knows where all of the boxes are going, it’s possible for boxes to get misplaced or separated from the rest of your shipment. Make sure all of your boxes are clearly labeled on multiple sides, and write the destination address and your name on the top of the box.


Packing books for moving or shipping is not as simple as you might think. Follow these tips to make sure your books make it to their new home in good shape:

  • Clean your books before packing
  • Protect books using plastic bags and tissue paper
  • Use the right box, and lots of tape
  • Pack books flat to avoid damaging the spine