Thursday, 26 August 2010

BOOK PACKAGING - Brand New or Recycled - Help Please!!

Since opening my store in 2001, I have always packaged books for mail-out using recycled cardboard and bubble wrap. I make sure that whatever we use is clean and durable enough to protect the books on their journey through the post (which is often a bumpy one). My philosophy has always been that if we can use recycled packing material then we are not only reducing the end cost for the buyer, but also the environmental impact of our business. In almost 10 years of operation, we have received no complaints about this packaging method.

The only negative I see with using recycled materials is that upon opening their parcel the buyer is not presented with visually appealing packaging. Let's face it, recycled cardboard and bubble wrap can look a little scruffy. The only solution to this negative impression that I can come up with is to have a small sticker made to put on the packaging highlighting the environmental benefit of using recycled materials (and my logo of course).

After some web surfing, I've noticed that among my secondhand bookselling counterparts there are some pretty extreme views on packaging. Most believe that brand new packaging is best as it leaves the buyer with the best buying experience. However, I wonder whether in a climate change conscious world my little sticker might, in fact, pack more punch.

So I thought I'd ask your thoughts on the matter. What kind of impression would recycled packaging have on you if you opened such a parcel? Is my sticker idea a good one? All feedback, pro or con, is welcome and thanks in advance for helping me out.


  1. I buy from a few different sources on line and I pretty much accept that packaging will be recycled materials because a) it keeps costs down and b) is sensible. There is nothing detrimental at all as far as I'm concerned about clean cardboard packaging re-purposed. It may be a cultural issue though. Unless the Japanese have changed radically in the last 10yrs, you may find they expect brand new and multiple layers of packaging. Personally I resent a lot of glossy packaging.

  2. I typically resent a lot of packaging. I want the thing inside. All I care about is if it is protected and that I can easily get to it. However, using a recycle sticker might be a good idea to show that you are being more "green" and not just cheap :)

  3. I think that if you haven't had any complaints in 10 years from your customers, I don't think you have anything to worry about!

    I expect reused packaging when I'm buying/receiving from a person not a place. So, from amazon or b&n, I expect their packaging. When I buy from someone I know is a person, I don't care as long as my book isn't damaged at all.

  4. Because my blog and my work are strictly about WWII and books for kida and YS readers, I buy a lot of used books online. I would prefer the seller recycle packaging than to get new packing each time. I have gotten books wrapped in old ceral boxes and really don't care. if the packking is in decent shape, I will even reuse it myself.


  5. Thanks to everyone who commented on this post about New versus Recycled packaging materials. We have listened to your advice and decided to stick with our recycled packaging policy, but we taken your feedback on board and in response have designed a sticker that will go on all book parcels to explain our philosophy. For more information check out our most recent blog post -

    Thanks again, Amber.
    Reading Habit


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