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Buswell Delivery Service

This guide explains how our library provided remote service and library-owned materials to our campus students, staff, and faculty when the library was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have questions, please email buswell.delivery@wheaton.edu.

If you have questions, please email buswell.delivery@wheaton.edu.  We will reply and also post the questions and answers here.

I went to the Endicia site and noticed a $17.99 per month service fee.  Is this what you pay? 

We will be paying the $35.99/month for Endicia Professional, after a promised 90-day free trial we obtained from the Endicia rep. The media postal rate we can get pre-paid only through Endicia is 30-40% of the costs for the next cheaper ground shipping services from either UPS or USPS. Essentially, that means if we receive 6-10 books back per month through the Endicia service, we have saved the $36/month fee. Another viewpoint we took is that it would cost us more than the monthly fee to replace even one book not returned. Either viewpoint led us to decide the monthly fee is worth the investment.

Do you have any sense of how many patrons have taken advantage of the ReturnMyBooks service?

Last week we sent a large number of emails to student borrowers. The first few days we only got a few requests, but now that graduation is over, we received 25 label requests in one day. We've only just begun the return service, so it's a bit hard to estimate the response.

What might be the  average cost of returning 3-5 books at the reduced rate through ReturnMyBooks?

We calculated an average weight for paperback books of 0.75 lbs/book, and an average weight for hardcover books of 1.10 lbs/book.  If borrowers are unable to weigh the books, they enter the number of paperbacks and hardbacks, and we estimate the weight. The estimates are intentionally a little on the low side. If the package is heavier than estimated, then we get billed the extra later. If it’s lighter than we paid for, we likely won’t get our money back. Weight is rounded to the next highest whole pound. The rates are then calculated by Endicia, currently based on the USPS rate for media mail, which is the lowest rate individuals use for mailing library items. So, for 5 hardcover books, we’d estimate 6 lbs ($5.45). For 5 paperback, 4 lbs ($4.39).

We might be able to reproduce what you are doing in JotForm by using Qualtrics, but I wonder if you know if there is a cost to obtain/use the Endicia software?

There is no fee to obtain Endicia software, since it's an openly available service on the web. However, there is a monthly fee to participate in their service.  (See more about this in the first FAQ above.)

Is there anything else I should be thinking about for the ReturnMyBooks process?

  • Our library leadership did have to provide an estimate of costs to obtain approval from the campus for the expense, so we had to provide some numbers regarding items checked out to our own patrons.
  • Library leaders also worked with a Chicago United States Postal Service representative and our Wheaton campus postmaster to be certain the plan had their support.
  • Almost all our students are remote. We wanted to make it as easy and equitable as possible for people to return things so we would get a maximum number of items returned, particularly from people graduating.  We did, however, renew items for returning students to August 31, so if they desire, they can keep things over the summer in anticipation of a possible partial opening in the fall.

We are concerned that some students don't own printers and can't print out Return labels.  What would you advise a student who expresses this?

We will print out the label at the library and send it to them in the postal mail.  There is no restricted time window or specific date range for using the return label, so it will still be valid when they receive it.

What happens if the student changes their mind and does not use the pre-paid label?

The labels do not have a mailing deadline.  However, the library will get a credit if the pre-paid label never enters the USPS system. 

Our campus does not have a subscription to JotForm. Can something else be used?

Smart Sheets, Google Forms, or a similar electronic form service could work.

Why are you using "Media Mail" rate rather than "Library Rate"?

Endicia and USPS do not offer Library Rate for returns. Library Rate is only for the use of libraries sending items elsewhere. Media Mail is the  cheapest rate for individuals to mail books, DVDs, and similar library items back to the library.

Does Endicia automatically store the shipping information for you? For instance, if you need to look at a tracking number later, is it easily accessible or do you need to export or save that information elsewhere?

The process we've created (JotForm to Google sheet to Excel file) provides a complete record in Excel containing all information about label requests. We also save a pdf of the label itself, which displays the patron’s name and the tracking number. So there are multiple ways to access information later.

Does the Endicia software have an accessible online platform for use or is it limited to the computer(s) to which it is downloaded?

Endicia is a web-based online platform that can be accessed from any computer. However, there is some initial set-up involved when using it for the first time on each staff person's computer (whether onsite at a library or remote) to insure that the billing aspect functions for the same institutional account that any/all employees will be using.