Guidelines for Packing Books into Boxes for Commercial Shipping

  • Use sturdy boxes in good condition: clean, no holes, and able to fully contain the books.

  • Unlike local transfers, boxes shipped commercially must be fully packed to the top. This will prevent the box being crushed by weight from above.

  • Pack books in the box flat in either one or two stacks (spine to spine). See images below.

  • Pack boxes to no more than 40 pounds (25 lbs max for fragile or special collections).  If you haven’t filled the box when you get to 40 lbs, use a smaller box.

  • Distribute the weight evenly in the box to reduce risk of dropping and ergonomic issues.

  • Packing material

    • Packing material may include clean scrap paper, bubble wrap, or other cushioning material.
    • A single layer of clean, dry, flat packing material (like thin bubble wrap) is sufficient protection on the bottom and/or top. 
    • Further packing material should be inserted into empty spaces to immobilize the books from the side, but not so tight that they are difficult to remove.
    • If you need to use a lot of packing material, use a smaller box.
  • Oversized volumes may not lean diagonally inside the box. Place anything too big for the standard box in a larger box.

  • Make sure that the box is fully closed and securely taped shut before mailing. 

Books packed flat, single stack        Books packed flat, double stack