Last updateFri, 13 May 2016 3pm

Anatomy of a book mailing

We have successfully mailed copies of our book “Outdoors in Western Mexico” to people living overseas, but never without a certain amount of tragicomedy, mystery and surprise, which all too often accompany a visit to Correos de México.

One of those mysterious and surprising events took place two years ago when a post office clerk casually mentioned that they no would longer allow a book to be mailed in an envelope, even if that book is a thin paperback. “The book must be mailed in a box,” we were told unequivocally.

A check of several shops suggested that nowhere in Guadalajara could we purchase a box close to the size of our book. As a result, I became a box maker, hand-crafting custom-made boxes for people in far-flung places who — for some reason — wanted a book about hiking in western Mexico, with the understanding, I should add, that the book would take at least a month to arrive... about as long as it would take a burro to carry it to the border, I calculated.

Then one day something unbelievable happened. We, ourselves received a book from a friend in Mexico via Correos … and it was in an envelope! 

Off we went to the Post Office, where we were told: “You are wrong. That book was not in an envelope, señor, it was in a sobre acolchado (bubble-wrap envelope)... con esos no hay problema.”

“It makes perfect sense in Correo-Speak,” I told Susy. So ended my box-making career, and our next book went to the Post Office in a you-know-what lined with bubble-wrap. This time, however, we were told that the price of sending books had suddenly increased. “It will now cost you 140 pesos to send that 200-peso book,” the smiling clerk told us, “but you will be happy to learn this new price includes tracking.”

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