New Order! So reads the email subject. You’ve landed your first order and now comes the real work of selling records: securely packaging and mailing them.
Until there’s a magical hole in which buyers can reach through the internet and grab their records from your crates, you’ll need to entrust the postal service when shipping records. Things get broken, bent in half and stuck in machines. So how do you protect your record from the abuse it’s about to take on its mystical journey? This is why packaging records for shipping is equal parts science and art. With a little effort, your customers will thank you and come back time and time again.
Steps to Ship Vinyl Records:
So suppose this fine fine record is sold to a very lucky buyer. The first thing you’re going to want to do is prep the record for shipping.
Remove Vinyl from the Jacket
That crumpled old sleeve might have been fine until it sold, but your customer will appreciate receiving their new record with a fresh, crisp sleeve.
If the inner-sleeve is custom printed or an original company inner-sleeve, consider keeping them inside the jacket with other fragile paper inserts, like lyrics sheets, while the disc is outside the jacket in a new sleeve.
Use a Protective Sleeve
Protective plastic sleeves are also a great finishing touch that will show your customer that you appreciate their purchase.
Pack the disc outside the jacket in the plastic sleeve. This will prevent seam-splits and help prevent the disc from getting scuffs by moving around during shipment. If there is more than one disc, you can place one on top and one on bottom of the album cover with both inside the plastic sleeve.
Place in a New Cardboard Record Mailer
At this point, I recommend purchasing new folding-type cardboard mailers for packaging records for shipping. If you are considering using the UK style white envelope types, don’t. Even with stiffeners, in my experience, they are frequently responsible for dinged corners and are generally too fragile for shipping records. The number of headaches saved in the long term will be worth the extra investment.
We have these nifty reinforced cardboard shipping boxes with protective air cells in the Discogs Shop. Granted, they are more expensive than mailers that are not reinforced but are an extra precaution that should be considered for expensive records or international orders. You can also find box liners, sharpies, fragile stickers and other goodies in the Discogs merch shop.
Generally, once a mailer is used it shouldn’t be re-used again. They are designed to withstand one mailing and may no longer be structurally sound enough to withstand the hardship of shipping another record. Recycling mailers not only makes you look cheap as a seller but may expose the address of the last person to someone who shouldn’t need to know.
Improvising mailers from recycled cardboard is generally frowned upon as well. We will not remove negative feedback if you ship a record in a used pizza box. I cannot stress this enough.
Insert A Package Stiffiner
I have used both cardboard and bubble wrap with equal success. Whichever type you use, sandwich the record between two pieces. The goal is to immobilize your record in the center of the package to prevent it from rattling around in the box and possibly get damaged.
I have also used dollar bin freebies to service as stiffeners with great success in the past, though this may not be economical for international orders.
When using cardboard for packaging records for shipping, you can add added sturdiness by placing the stiffener against the grain of the cardboard mailer. Every bit counts.
Fold and Tape the Record Mailer
Fold your box up and tape it shut. I recommend making multiple passes around the center and sealing up the sides as well.
Write Fragile and Place Shipping Label
Finally, write FRAGILE – VINYL RECORD – DO NOT BEND on both sides of the box. Have better handwriting than I do.
After that, all you have to do is slap an address on it and bring it to the post office. If it’s expensive, take a gamble and throw insurance on it. It’s generally less than $2 and will really save your hide in a jam.
You’re ready to ship records! Start buying and selling vinyl records in the Discogs Marketplace!