How To Ship Your Comic Books and Comic Art
The best way to ship your comic books and comic art is to use a box. I repeat, USE A BOX! There is no better way. I've bought a lot of original art and comics online and the only times my items have been destroyed were when someone shipped them flat. It's very easy for items to get bent if you ship them flat because the shipping carriers don't have time to treat them like fragile items. From my experience about 25% of items that were shipped flat arrived bent. Sometimes I would get lucky and my comic art or comic book will still be in acceptable condition. However, it's always sad to see these items get destroyed when it could have easily been avoided.
Advantage of Shipping Your Comic Art and Comic Books in a Box
- It's really hard to bend a box.
- It's easier for shipping carriers to handle and stack boxes.
- It's harder for the item to get lost since a box is bigger than a flat envelope.
- Your buyers will be happier since their art/books will arrive undamaged.
Tips for Shipping Comic Art and Comic Books in a Box
- Add some type of cardboard or stiffening material with your art or books. If you do this, you'll have extra protection in the rare case that your box does get bent.
- If you really want to protect your comic art, put it in a plastic top loader. This will almost guarantee that your art will not get bent, even if the box is destroyed. I've see some people mail comic art flat, by itself, in an envelope and top loader, and the item arrived undamaged. The plastic top loader helps a lot.
- Add packing material. If you just throw your comic book or comic art into an empty box, then it's still pretty easy to crush the box. You need to add some type of packing/filler material in the box. This helps support the box structure. Some shipping carriers won't even accept your package if there isn't any packing/filling material inside because they know that increases the chance that the box will get crushed.
Shipping Comic Art or Comics Books Flat = Bad Idea
Imagine how your item is being handled through the mail. It passes through many vehicles, hands, machines. It goes through various sorting facilities. It's too easy to bend something that is mailed flat. If you are going to mail something flat, mail it with a hard board. This is like a piece of particle board that is very stiff and will not bend (unless you break it). Or, put your art/comics inside a hard plastic shell (e.g. a top loader).
Packages get thrown around all the time. Sometimes I even hear my package get thrown against my door (when I'm working at home). You can find videos online of how poorly packages are handled. So, be safe and use a box.
If You Must Ship Flat...
Ok, so you aren't convinced. Well, if you must ship flat, then use the following techniques to minimize the risk that your comic art or comic book gets bent. I'm not a fan of these techniques but they should reduce the risk of damage:
- Use a plastic top loader or plastic holder. Plastic is a lot harder to bend than cardboard.
- Use a hard board as the backing. These are kind of like the boards used on clip boards. They are very hard and difficult to bend as well. This would be the best option if you have to ship something flat.
- Consider using a mailing tube, but make sure it is a thick mailing tube. Mailing tubes can also get bent, if they aren't thick enough.
- Use a lot of stiff cardboard. This is probably the worst option, but if you are going to use cardboard to ship your comic art or books flat, then use a lot of it. Also, try to use cardboard that is thicker. Some people use USPS boxes as their cardboard (which isn't allowed by USPS, but people still do it anyways), however, the USPS box cardboard doesn't work well to stiffen your package. The USPS cardboard is really easy to bend.
- Reinforce your cardboard with other materials.
Other Tips on Mailing Your Comic Books and Comic Art
- If you are mailing an expensive item, buy insurance and/or add signature confirmation. My opinion is that signature confirmation is a must for items worth over $100. Signature confirmation protects you from fraudulent buyers.
- Writing "Fragile" on a package is pretty useless. If anything, I think it encourages people to handle them poorly. It seems like the items I get that are marked "fragile" actually gets treated worse than the ones that are not marked "fragile".
- Use strong and sticky packing tape on your boxes. Some cheap tape doesn't stick to boxes well. It's always best to test your packing tape out. Put it on your box, wait for a week, and see if it's still holding. Most packing tape will hold well, but there are some that don't. I've even bought expensive Scotch packing tape that didn't hold well.
Where to Buy Boxes?
- If you are mailing out comics, you can get free Priority Mail boxes from USPS.
- If you are mailing original comic art, which are usually 11x17 inches, then you can purchase boxes from online shipping supply companies (such as Uline).
My main advice is to use a box when shipping our comic art or comic books.