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Military Report on the Sinai Peninsula
Towards 'An English Fourth'
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text
Paperback edition
'The Mint' and Later Writings About Service Life
Boats for the R.A.F. 1929-1935
reports and correspondence


The Forest Giant


Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw
Correspondence with E. M. Forster and F.L. Lucas
More Correspondence with Writers
Correspondence with Edward and David Garnett
Correspondence with Henry Williamson
Translating the Bruce Rogers 'Odyssey'
Correspondence with the Political Elite 1922-1935


Check for programme updates on our News page


How can we pack books safely for shipment to addresses in the UK and overseas? We have tried various solutions.

In our experience it is rare for damage to occur to the flat sides of books during transit. More commonly, parcels are dropped causing damage to the edges, and especially the corners. If a package weighs around 2kg, even a thick box will dent when that happens. So there needs to be a "crumple zone" between the corner of the package and the corner of the book. That is what we aim to achieve.

The first stage in our box packing is an inner layer, usually consisting of a paper wrapping and sealed bubble-wrap. The paper protects the book-cover from marks, while the bubble-wrap should keep out a reasonable amount of damp if the parcel is left on someone's doorstep in the rain. For paperbacks, the bubble-wrap layer is replaced by plastic shrink-wrap or a plastic bag.

This inner package is put inside an outer package. For single books sent to addresses in UK, as well as some lighter books sent overseas, the outer package may be a heavy-duty book-mailer. This has a crumple zone all round. It can look a bit battered by the time it has been through the post, but it generally works well. Thus far, we have had very few reports of damage to books sent in these mailers.

When using a mailer for a heavier book, we reinforce it with sheets of carton. We also add protective cardboard if the book is in a thin card slipcase.

We pack heavier books (and sometimes even lighter books sent overseas) inside a conventional double-wall cardboard box, big enough to leave crumple-zone around the book's inner wrapping. We fill this space with large bubble-wrap or polystyrene chips. Although the outer box is often dented in transit, the crumple zone usually protects the book.

Sometimes we add an inner layer of carton around the book, inside the outer carton.

Almost all our shipments get through unscathed. On the rare occasions when damage does occur, it is usually because the package has encountered something very sharp or heavy. In one case, some kind of blade punched dagger-like into one end a parcel. It left a small slit in the outer packaging, but penetrated a slipcase and the book inside, starting at the bottom, until it was more than half way up. The force required to do that must have been very large indeed. On another occasion, something went through the side of a box like an ice-cream scoop. It gouged a hole in the side of the book nearly 2cm deep and 3cm across. In another case, tyre-tread marks on the box showed that it had been under the wheel of a van or fork-lift truck.

Thankfully, such incidents are rare. The only way we could protect against them would be encasing our shipments in heavy-gauge steel. As it is, we spend more on packaging than many mail-order companies.

There comes a point where the cost of further protection is more than most customers would be willing to pay. All our shipments are insured, and when damage does occur, we replace the book. But we do everything reasonably possible to ensure that there is no damage.

Some customers have noted that the paper of our inner wrappings has been re-used. We receive sheets of good-quality paper from printers and binders. Although most of the sheets have been folded, they are clean and perfectly usable as inside wrapping. It is hard to justify throwing away usable good-quality paper, so we re-use these sheets when possible.

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