What's the best way to move 2000 books cheaply?
January 19, 2004 4:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving about 2000 miles across the continental US and I have around 2000 books. What's the cheapest way for me to get them there? Just get my movers to do it (lots of weight), ship 'em via book rate at the post office, rent a uhaul and drive? Advice appreciated. Selling them isn't an option.
posted by warhol to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would drive them myself (unless you're absolutely sure that you can't sell or donate a whole bunch of them--then I would ship them book rate in boxes)
posted by amberglow at 4:37 PM on January 19, 2004

Give them to me.

No, seriously, U-Haul is probably the cheapest option by far.
posted by rushmc at 4:51 PM on January 19, 2004

Last time I had to do this -- with about a quarter of your books -- I shipped them via Greyhound.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:52 PM on January 19, 2004

There are companies such that:

*You load up your stuff into their truck and put up a partition
*They drive away, combining your stuff with other people's stuff, or with commercial freight
*You unload the truck

These can work out to be cheaper than uhaul, once you figure in gas. They're almost certainly cheaper than uhaul if you figure in the increased time cost (uhaul makes for slow traveling) and aggravation of driving a big pokey truck that handles like a pregnant yak and can't accelerate out of its own way.

I've used a couple of them, but can't remember which they are. Quick googling should find them.

Don't forget to drop by your local big-public or university library to ask for boxes. Book boxes kick ass for books, as you might guess. Cheap file boxes with handles are also good.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:59 PM on January 19, 2004

Amtrak. I shipped 31 boxes of varying sizes from Boston to Oakland for under $300. They charged less than 50 cents a pound (in 2001) and everyone I dealt with was friendly and helpful. It took about two weeks for the boxes to arrive, they called me when the boxes came in, and I just had to go pick them up.
posted by bendy at 5:52 PM on January 19, 2004

I would use a shipping company, there is a reason why companies use them, and many will go into residential areas if you tell them what the deal is and package it properly.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 6:44 AM on January 20, 2004

Follow-up to ROU_Xenophobe's last point: if you decide to haul the books yourself, those cheap file boxes are great (less than a buck at office depot, etc; much cheaper than the 'book boxes' from U-Haul and Ryder). The handles make for easy lifting, the lid protects them, they're all the same size (makes stacking them in compact piles easy when packing), it's easy to see what you've written on them in magic marker. They will probably not stack more than 5 or 6 high tho, so if you want to go higher get heavy-duty milk crates (not the flimsy ones from office stores, Target, etc.).

If you fill a U-Haul with 2,000 books, pay attention to how you balance the load throughout the truck; i.e. not all at the front, or all at the back.
posted by carter at 7:35 AM on January 20, 2004

Cardhouse seconds the Amtrak solution, after extensive and edutaining research.
posted by jga at 8:09 AM on January 20, 2004

if you decide to haul the books yourself, those cheap file boxes are great (less than a buck at office depot, etc; much cheaper than the 'book boxes' from U-Haul and Ryder)

Yeah, but boxes from the library are free, and they're designed and intended to hold books. Much stronger than file boxes, but no handles. I'd imagine you can stack 'em to the moon.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:52 AM on January 20, 2004

How much does it cost to buy a flat-bed trailer? They are everywhere and cheap. Then when you arrive resell it, always in demand. Assuming your driving anyway, your total cost could be very little, and even make a profit if your lucky.
posted by stbalbach at 6:54 PM on January 20, 2004

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