If you’re an avid comic books collector or reader, you’ve probably experienced the joy of receiving your long-awaited comics in the mail. And the frustration of finding them bent or damaged otherwise during the transit. That’s one of the risks when using international shipping. But like all other risks, it can be minimized with proper means, i.e. the right packaging.
If you’re sending comic books overseas, you might be looking to save money by finding the option for international cheap shipping. But at the same time don’t forget to be considerate of the receiver and pack your comics properly. Here are the key points on how to do it.
Let’s jump in.
Get the right packing materials
You might think that all you need to send your items internationally is an envelope or a box. But that’s not true for international shipping of comic books. You also need to get the materials for wrapping each comic issue separately.
Comics, like other paper products, can get damaged by humidity. So it’s a good idea to waterproof them by putting them into plastic bags. Most comic books are not hardcover which makes them vulnerable to getting bent during the shipment. That’s why a backing board is advisable as well. Especially if you’re packing vintage comics for shipping overseas.
You can get special bags and backing boards at comics or online stores. They come in different sizes depending on the era the comic book belongs to (i.e. Golden Age, Silver Age, or Modern). Be sure to grab some pieces of cardboard with tape as well and you’ll be ready to start preparing your items for shipment.
Sandwich your comic book
Start packing your comics by placing each individual issue into its own bag with a backing board. It’ll serve as a means of waterproof and as a basis for protection against bending. But that’s not enough to ensure a safe international package delivery.
Imagine how great of a distance your parcel will cover if you’re shipping to Poland from the USA. That’s crossing to a different continent! So it’s best to add extra protection by sandwiching the comic book.
Take two sheets of cardboard. You can buy or cut them out yourself. They should be slightly larger than the comic issue and the backing board. Place the bagged comic book face-down on one of the cardboard pieces. Attach it with masking or painter’s tape to prevent it from moving. It’s very important to immobilize items when shipping internationally since your parcel will be lifted and put down many times.
Finally, place the second cardboard sheet on top and secure it on all four sides with easily removable tape. If you’re sending several books, you can try putting 2-3 issues between one pair of cardboard sheets. But it’s recommended to sandwich comics individually for better protection.
Pick proper external packaging
There are many types of external packaging for international shipping. If you’re sending one comic book, it’ll easily fit into an envelope. Even a few comic issues can fit into a bigger envelope since they’re not thick. So getting a cardboard box (even if a small one) may not be worth it in such a case.
The key is to pick a padded envelope. These come with bubble wrap inside. Bubble wrap serves as great protection against impact damage. That’s why it’s often used for shipping fragile items overseas. Just keep in mind that bubble wrap alone may not be enough to protect your comic books. You need to sandwich them before putting them into the padded envelope.
Although there’s a great selection of padded mailers, their size is limited. And they’re not sturdy enough for shipping heavier items. So if you have a stack of comic books to ship internationally, you’ll need a box.
Boxes also come in various sizes, so you need to be careful to select the right one. It shouldn’t be too small so that you’d need to stuff your items with no space left. It can’t be too large either. Too much empty space is risky when using services for international package shipping.
Add plenty of cushioning
If you’re using padded envelopes, you don’t need to worry about the cushioning. It’s already there. But if you’re sending comics in a box, you need to add padding materials.
You can buy cushioning materials at a shop. There are plenty of choices. From packing peanuts, air cushions to bubble wrap. Any of them can help to protect your comic books when sending them internationally. You can even use materials that you have at home. Newspapers or crumpled paper are also great for cushioning.
Start by placing some cushioning at the bottom of the box. Bubble wrap or newspapers are the best for this task. Then, put in your wrapped comics. Finally, make sure to fill the remaining space inside the box. The padding materials will safeguard your comics from outside pressure. They will also prevent your items from tumbling around.
Use correct labels
Proper packaging is essential, but not the only component of smooth package delivery. You need to pay attention to the labels as well. When international shipping is concerned, it’s very important to write down the address correctly and to fill out the customs declaration.
Different countries have their own address format. They also have their own customs regulations. Be sure to do thorough research on both these aspects. Double-check if you have written the full address before handing your parcel to the international shipping company. And see if you have attached all the required documents for customs clearance.
If you’re worried that the carrier might not treat your comics carefully enough, you can also add informative labels. You can mark your package as “fragile” to let the delivery man know that it needs special handling.
Sometimes even notes on the envelope or box, such as “Do not bend”, help to inform the carrier that the items inside the package are prone to this kind of damage.
Packing comic books for international shipping requires effort and patience. But everything pays off when the items reach the recipient in perfect condition.