Bookpost

#1 Mar 1st, 2006, 14:07
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  • davyd is offline
#1
Today I am happy I got one of my numerous bookpost parcels from India.

This one, with new LP guidebooks to China and Tibet, books about Nerhus-Gandhis by Tariq Ali, on British kings and queens, few other invaluable reference books from Oxford and on Indian politics, was sent by me from Ernakulam in Kerala. As everybody knows Ernakulam is one of the biggest cities in South India, bigger than Trivandrum, and I dragged my books to this city, in hope of effortless sending.

I booked my train ticket to Mangalore (departure about 12.45) and was planning to spend that morning before departure in post office. I stayed in hotel on Shanmugham Rd and nearest post office was behind on Broadway. I came there where worker adviced me to go to particular shop to wrap parcel. Fine. I went across the street and found jewellery shop. When I asked them do they pack parcels they after bit of uproar said yes - for 250 or 300Rs. This was going to be dear affair like wrappinf jewellery I thought and refused -book post parcel by sea costs me usually 171 Rs and pay more for wrapping...
However to find simple tailor who can wrap and stitch book parcel proved to be time consuming. One hour I with books on my hands uselessly roamed all area to the north from post office including Jewish bazaar. So I was to know this area in such a way. Excursion. Fine. All tailors do not work till 11AM and with much effort I found the one who stitch my parcel for about 100Rs.

Return to the post office was useless - first they said they do not accept such parcels, then demanded to fill in custom declaration. When I exhausted all means of persuasion that declarations for book posts are not necessary I moved by rickshaw to main post office on Hospital Rd. Again failure - this time they demanded to open my parcel fully from one side - my two holes were not enough for them. Then one girl worker who was making absurd demands refused to serve me, closed the window and directed to neighbouring window with long queue. Even my appeals to her supervisors who were sitting behind her proved useless. Finally I asked for scissors, cut completely one side of parcel and sent my books in that neighbouring window, served by old lady.

Now I feel lucky my books were not lost or stolen - in Sheremetevo custom on Russian border one side of the parcel was neatly taped with notice - Arrived in damaged condition. This condition was caused by incompetent and very rude post workers in beautiful city of Ernakulam. Ernakulam post system is the worst in India from my experience.

postscriptum - I sent around 20 book parcels from many Indian cities and usually one hole in the middle of one side is enough for inspection. I asked the tailor to cut two holes. Useful tip - only in Mumbai GPO I was able to send magazines and newspapers by bookpost - everywhere I had to send them by ordinary post.

What do you think about my experience and what do you think about work of Indian postal system? Any thoughts and accounts are welcome. I am still waiting for more parcels from India and on reception of them (my fingers crossed) I will be ready to share new thoughts.
#2 Mar 1st, 2006, 14:39
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This is a useful post to inform newbies that there **IS** such a thing as book post in India - yes, a special postage rate, just for books, that is a lot cheaper than normal. As has been mentioned, there is a special way of packing books - you need to leave a slit in the side of the parcel to prove that it contains only books. Best to check at the post office for the exact requirements BEFORE you start packing, though, to avoid Davyd's hassles - if you can't find someone to do pack it for you, a needle and thread doesn't cost much !! I found the most difficult part of the procedure was locating a shop that sold parcel-wrapping cloth.

Generally, there are usually guys near all the big post offices who operate a cheap and efficient parcel-wrapping service. The best one I ever found was at Darjeeling - the guy there took SO much time and trouble to do a good job, insisting on a waterproof under-layer, and only wanted 60rs.

I have sent a number of book-parcels, and have never experienced the hassle that Dayvd did. I would recommend the service to anyone - books in India are often much cheaper than in Europe/USA, and there are often second-hand bargains to be had as well.

Tim in Ireland
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#3 Mar 1st, 2006, 15:38
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IŽve had about the same experiences as Tim - but the tailoring part has involved some probs, lengthy explanations and in two cases having it redone. Next time IŽll bring with me a picture and rely on that instead (IŽll post it here).

As for the Indian postal service, I have nothing but good experiences once the package has been accepted. IŽve also ordered on several occasions from an Indian bookstore (vedamsbooks.com) and they are always delivered 7-8 days later, normally beating my Swedish online store.

Re the guidebook to Tibet : if you have an opportunity, also check out "Mapping The Tibetan World" (www.kotan.org). Badly needs an update, but very good on the background.
#4 Mar 1st, 2006, 17:58
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Hi to all, just shortly
-hassles that Davyd...- yes, it was the only time I experienced hassle for three years in India - I mentioned only 20 5-kg book posts but now think I sent around 30 for 3 years and numerous ordinary parcels with gifts and personal belongings. Later I will write about positive experience.
#5 Mar 1st, 2006, 18:10
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Would it be easier to take some flat boxes (the type amazon etc use) which you could just build and drop your books in ? Just do not seal them untill you have shown the people at the post office what is inside.
#6 Mar 1st, 2006, 19:22
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Originally Posted by shere Would it be easier to take some flat boxes (the type amazon etc use) which you could just build and drop your books in ? Just do not seal them untill you have shown the people at the post office what is inside.
No, there needs to be a permanently open slit or window in the side of the package for then to class as 'book post' in India.

Tim in Ireland
#7 Mar 1st, 2006, 20:29
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Originally Posted by TimMakins No, there needs to be a permanently open slit or window in the side of the package for then to class as 'book post' in India.

Tim in Ireland
I have ordered 40 to 50 books over the last few years from various book shops in Delhi. They have all been sent in sealed carboard boxes with no slit or window in the side of the package. They all have book post clearly marked on them. So are these book shops exempt from this rule ?
#8 Mar 1st, 2006, 20:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shere Would it be easier to take some flat boxes (the type amazon etc use) which you could just build and drop your books in ? Just do not seal them untill you have shown the people at the post office what is inside.
Could u post a picture if u have of one of these boxes?
#9 Mar 1st, 2006, 20:37
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Originally Posted by shere I have ordered 40 to 50 books over the last few years from various book shops in Delhi. They have all been sent in sealed carboard boxes with no slit or window in the side of the package. They all have book post clearly marked on them. So are these book shops exempt from this rule ?
Yes they 're because usually the post offices have a parcel services (commercial) for book stores which gets included if asked for before. This is slightly expensive then doing things on one's own but if money is criteria then do it by oneself. On the otherhand, if done by the book-stores then it's the shop+post-office's responsibility that it reaches you in good condition. In some cases even insurance can be also held if the books are pricey/rare.
BTW davyd u didn't try your charm, I'm sure the girl would've served u better
#10 Mar 1st, 2006, 22:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shere I have ordered 40 to 50 books over the last few years from various book shops in Delhi. They have all been sent in sealed carboard boxes with no slit or window in the side of the package. They all have book post clearly marked on them. So are these book shops exempt from this rule ?
I have no idea - I am just passing on the information given to me in the Indian post offices.

This is the Indiapost website:
http://www.indiapost.gov.in/

perhaps if anyone is really interested, they could send these guys an email enquiry...

This page:
http://www.indiapost.gov.in/Parcel.html
talks about parcels, and gives details of how to post live bees, Human and other viscera, Plague culture, Anthrax Spore vaccine, and other every-day articles but no mention of books...

Tim in Ireland.
#11 Mar 6th, 2006, 22:36
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Hi, good thread!

My 5-months stay in India will be over in 10 days, can't believe it's already time to go home... I guess u all know this feeling!!

But anyway, I slowly have to organize how to get all that great stuff I bought home, so my question is: How long does it take to mail books home with book post? And are there different prices for air- or shipmail? What are the prices for 1 kg?

Thanks, Carolin
#12 Mar 6th, 2006, 23:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerlili Hi, good thread!

My 5-months stay in India will be over in 10 days, can't believe it's already time to go home... I guess u all know this feeling!!

But anyway, I slowly have to organize how to get all that great stuff I bought home, so my question is: How long does it take to mail books home with book post? And are there different prices for air- or shipmail? What are the prices for 1 kg?

Thanks, Carolin
Hi, Carolin

I sent many book parcels only by sea - last year I waited for some parcels to arrive for 5 months, I even a bit worried but they arrived. Normal term is 3 months, but this year I sent them not in the spring as usual but in the winter - I was twice surprised to get parcels (2 times) after exactly 2 months. Also I had been sending them on my travel (4 months) and I received first 3 parcels on my arrival to home.

I think you should get them even earlier - Germany has good sea connection with India and not so big as Russia where parcels had to go to European port like St Petersburg, go through customs, then by rail, by bus, by car to Far East where I live.

By air I sent only letters and ordinary parcels from India - mail went from 10 to 15 days, parcels usually one month. Of course to Germany these terms should at least twice less.

Now about your questions. Book post is special kind of parcel with any printed materials like books, magazines and newspapers (not notebooks with your travel notes) of 5 kg each that goes without custom declaration on special (discounted price). The parcel should be wrapped with hole from one side allowing custom official to see that it is bookpost. Disounted price means that you pay for not 1 kg but for 5 kg parcel even if you have books say 3 kg. Price is very small - to Europe it should be 171 Rs (for 5 kg) by sea and around 1000Rs (for 5 kg) by air. Exact price you will know only in post office or from packing mail agent because they usually type destination on computer and computer give them price.
Sea book mail is 10 times and air book post is roughly 2 times less than ordinary airmailing of 5 kg parcel.

Hope your bookposts will arrive to your home quickly.
#13 Mar 6th, 2006, 23:35
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Mine took 3 months back to Ireland, but all arrived safely !!

Tim in Ireland
#14 Mar 7th, 2006, 01:11
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A lot depends on the skills of the packer. I have long and treasured relations with book companies that do this for me and all have arrived, shukraallah. One to India took 8 months (big print books for mother in law) but it arrived. I haven't had any luck with non book parcels..
#15 Apr 1st, 2006, 22:45
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In the start of march I received parcel with some not so dear but useful stuff like backpack, sandals, sweater and so on. I send it from Mumbai, the place of my departure from India at the end of January. I thought no need to pay all that absurd rates for extra luggage on planes (I need to take 3 flights to reach home).
Interesting thing - though I sent it by sea mail it's arrived in fact by mix of sea and air (the latter inside Russia). And I'm still waiting for another parcel (very big one, around 16 kg) that I sent from Delhi at the end of November 2005 by sea mail (4 months passed). So parcels from Mumbai take a flights, what is a route of big parcel I don't know. Maybe it stucked in Indian customs - from Delhi I sent it through parcel company on Paharganj in Mumbai I had to go through all unenviable custom process on thrird floor of building behind Mumbai GPO with ridiculously serious custom officer. Just before me one old gentleman was trying to send some English language books on surgery and neurosurgery - that officer seriously was reading them about 30 minutes. What if state secrets are revealed in them? Funny.


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