23 February 2009

Adventures in niche knowledge.

I do the receiving four days out of five at work, which is great since that means most of the store's inventory has literally been held in my hands at one point: tactile record, visual impression. It's also given me extensive experience of how the various publishers pack their books for shipment. Since we save boxes and packing materials for returns, I've developed preferences:

MPS wins on both counts. Lovely sturdy boxes that can hold roughly 40 pounds, lovely packed air with perforations so you can use a little or a lot.

Simon & Schuster and Harper have good boxes, but they tend to use stiff bubble wrap, which works fine just filling in space on top but is lousy for crannies, and boxes of books are always full of crannies.

Hachette and Penguin use this horrible gray slick shrink-to-fit nonsense, which is probably super easy and economical for them but nigh impossible to reuse. Penguin in addition ships in strangely shaped boxes ill-suited for multiple applications.

And don't get me started on W.W. Norton's packing peanuts.

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