Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Q & A: How to safely ship books

Q: What’s the best way to ship books?

A: The short answer is, “Carefully!” The long answer is, “As you would package any delicate item for shipment.”

A lot depends on what you might be shipping with the book and under what conditions it will be shipped.

If you are shipping a book with soft items you need less protective packaging for the book. However, if you’re shipping a book with metal, glass, or breakable plastic items, you should use bubblewrap or other protective packaging.
If you are shipping the book to a warm, humid climate, consider enclosing some moisture absorbent packets and enclose them in a sealed or sealable plastic bag. If the book will travel in the cold, such as by plane, truck, or rail, enclose it in a sealed plastic bag. If the book will travel by boat or stored for any time in a warehouse or storage facility, seal it in a couple of layers of sealed plastic.
Even if you wrap the book for holidays, enclose the whole package in sealed plastic.

If you are shipping the book (or books) separately, use a protective envelope and seal the envelope well. If you are shipping in a box, use a larger box with lots of space around the book(s), and surround the book(s) with shipping peanuts or wadded newspaper or other shipping filler.

The ideal conditions for a book are 60 degrees temperature and 60 percent humidity, housed in a clean environment. Try to match those conditions as much as possible, considering you have little if any control over the shipping circumstances.

Note: Despite any appearance to the contrary, a book is a delicate item. It is made of cardboard and paper exposed on three ends. When it encounters water or other liquids, the tendency of the paper is to absorb or wick the liquid, which is true for each and every page in the book. Wet pages warp and ink smears. Mold thrives on damp paper in dark places. Paper will deteriorate under these conditions. To preserve the value of the book, protect it from these elements.

Ready to wrap and ship? Pakmail and other consumer shippers can help advise you and many even have the materials on-hand, so don't hesitate to involve a pro.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holiday Shopping Made Easier!

Looking for good books for holiday gifts? Here’s a list you should consult, the 100 Notable Books of the Year from The New York Times (online). Also contains links to similar lists for 1997 through 2004.

The list covers 3 pages and is broken down into the following categories, listed alphabetically by title:

  • Fiction and poetry
  • Nonfiction

If you need any help, feel free to send me an e-mail: or visit the leisure reading section of my online bookstore:

Happy browsing and easy shopping!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"Lamb" Bookclub Discussion

Lamb by Christopher Moore contains wonderful laughs and inspiring ideas. It’s the story of Jesus Christ as a child, as told by his childhood pal, “Biff”. Moore tells it not like it is – no one knows about Christ’s childhood – but as it might have been, with a large dash of tongue-in-cheek. You’ll journey with Christ (called by his Greek name, Joshua, in this book) and Biff as they learn about the world and come to terms with Joshua’s role-to-come as Messiah.

Editorial Reviews from and Publisher’s Weekly
(scroll down below fold)
Other books by Christopher Moore
Christopher Moore interview on

Discussion Starters (click on "Comments" below):
● Did you enjoy this read? Why or why not?
● How did you feel about reading a fictionalized story about Jesus?
● What was the most compelling part of the story for you and why?
● Was the story believable? Explain.
● Did the story end the way you thought it would?
● What lessons did you learn from the story?
● Would you read another story by Christopher Moore? Why or why not?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Q & A: How to care for your books

Q: What’s the best way to care for a new book?
A: Here are some general-care instructions that work well for both new and used books.

  1. Never leave books in direct sunlight. Sunlight can warp coverboards and bleach colors.
  2. Never bend pages wide open. This applies to both hardcover and paperbacks. In addition, never curl back paperback covers.
  3. Never turn down page corners (dog-ears) to save your place. Instead, use a clean, unmarked piece of paper, leather, or other thin card.
  4. Store books in a cool, dry place. Ideal is 60 degrees and 60 percent humidity, but that isn’t comfortable for humans, so get as close yet as comfortably as possible.
  5. Do not use a book as a hard surface for writing. Writing on top of a book may create marks or dents on the book’s cover or pages, which will lower its value.
  6. Never write or mark in a book. A book will last much longer if it is kept in as prestine shape as possible.
  7. Dust books periodically. Dust may contain chemicals that can make the paper deteriorate and yellow.
  8. Use a dry or slightly moist cloth or paper towel to clean spills on books. Let the pages dry before closing the book. Never use harsh chemicals or wipes!
  9. Store books upright on the natural bottom edge. Do not lay them flat on their backs across uneven rows of other books. Leave enough room between books to be able to grasp a book by the covers – do not pull at the top of the spine.
  10. Use bookplates to indicate your ownership. Do not write your name or other information, which may detract from the value of your book.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Life of Pi to be filmed

I just ran into an article announcing that Jean-Pierre Jeunet will direct the filming of Yann Martel's Life of Pi (October 2005 Booksville book club discussion; see below).

This is from the October 24, 2005, Killer Movies website.