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How to Lower Shipping Costs – Use Media Mail

May 28th, 2010

When it comes to shipping books, DVDs and other media, nothing beats U.S. Postal Service’s Media Mail rate.  This  blog-media-mailcost-efficient shipping class allows you to send pounds of media for a fraction of the cost, which can save your small business money.

Media Mail rates can be 50% lower than Priority Mail
Media Mail starts at $2.38 for the first pound and 39 cents for each additional pound. If you mail a 3-pound package of books through Media Mail, it will cost $3.16 compared to the $10.20 it would cost to mail the same weight placed in a Priority Mail Flat Rate Medium Box.  That is a 69% savings! Packages shipped via Media Mail can include other USPS services, such as package insurance, Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation and COD.

Items that can be mailed include books that are at least 8 pages, film that is 16 mm or narrower, printed music, printed test materials, video and sound recordings, play scripts, printed education charts, medical information contained in binders or loose-leaf pages and computer-readable media.

USPS has restrictions for Media Mail
Although Media Mail is a great way to send media while saving money, it does have some restrictions. The package can’t contain advertising except for incidental book announcements. All Media Mail packages are subject to inspection, and if postal employees find something that isn’t supposed to be included, like a birthday card, your package will be returned to you.

Another common complaint about Media Mail is delivery time. It can take 2 to 9 days for Media Mail packages to arrive (some message boards claim even longer during the holidays), so items that need to be delivered on a short time frame should be sent using other services, such as the 2-day Priority Mail.

USPS assumes no liability for packages sent through Media Mail unless you buy package insurance. That means that if you are using Media Mail to send items of value to your customers, you should request the buyer to purchase package insurance and delivery confirmation tracking.  Stamps.com customers only pay 19 cents per package for delivery confirmation (the post office charges 70-80 cents), which is an inexpensive way for a business to give its customers piece of mind about the location of their package.

  1. October 21st, 2010 at 09:14 | #1

    Following up on my prior post on media mail here — looked through the labels advice in some detail. Despite my CDs and books being small they are rigid, and thus parcels, so Media Mail is my best bet.

    I would like a way to print postage on a stamp-size label, and keep my own branding on the packages, and not cover it all up with a stamps.com-specified mailing label.

    Minimum media mail is 1 pound, currently $2.38. If I print a first class stamp from a stamps.com sheet (currently $2.41), and mark the package with a Media Mail marking, will USPS accept it?

  2. Eric Nash
    October 18th, 2010 at 13:10 | #2

    @Kevin Long Hi Kevin, Yes, you can print Media Mail without Delivery Confirmation but it will require you to print postage on a mailing label rather than a shipping label.

    In the Print Details section, on the “Printing on” drop down where you choose the type of label or paper you will be printing postage on, you would need to choose any mailing label from SDC-2200 or SDC-3100 and after.

    That will allow you to print a Media Mail label without delivery confirmation.

    Hope this helps!
    Thanks!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  3. October 17th, 2010 at 15:13 | #3

    Can I print media mail at stamps.com without being forced to purchase delivery confirmation?

  4. Eric Nash
    October 7th, 2010 at 17:39 | #4

    @Marc
    Hi Marc, Unfortunately the USPS does not offer a pickup service if you are only sending Media Mail. You’ll need to send a Priority Mail, Express Mail or International package in order for them to offer free pick up. (Note: No single package can weigh more than 70 lbs.)

    Thanks!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  5. Marc
    September 20th, 2010 at 08:20 | #5

    Can USPS come to my residence for a large media mail shipment that I can’t carry? I will be shipping about 200 lbs of CDs and don’t have the ability to get this all to the nearest post office. Thanks for your help.

  6. July 22nd, 2010 at 21:53 | #6

    In many cases Media Mail costs more than 1st Class mail. I have found that be be true in many of my shipments. Check what it would cost you to send it 1st Class before using Media Mail.

  7. Eric Nash
    July 14th, 2010 at 13:19 | #7

    @Marsha Seawright
    One option could be Priority Mail Flat Rate Box (either Medium or Large). You would save on packaging since the boxes are free. But you might find regular Priority Mail or Parcel Post to be cheaper if you are shipping to Zones close to your house.

  8. Eric Nash
    July 14th, 2010 at 13:16 | #8

    @Carolyn McStoots
    USPS definition of products eligible for Media Mail are books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes).

    Product catalogs are not eligible for the Media Mail postage rate.

    Eric
    Stamps.com

  9. Marsha Seawright
    July 6th, 2010 at 09:54 | #9

    I am just getting started and I am trying to decide the best shipping method for my products, I will be shipping baby set, which include sweaters measuring around 10′ inches arcross the chest and 10 in length I have them in white chip board boxes already with the clear top. So how would I ship this product, And do I just add the state tax into my over all shipping price Help!!

  10. July 6th, 2010 at 04:02 | #10

    Does anyone know if I can ship our product catalogs via media mail? The ring binders are 3″ think 9 x 12 so they are heavy and costly to ship.

  11. adelaida
    June 18th, 2010 at 21:55 | #11

    I am excited about the media mail. It’s a very cost efficient shipping class.

  12. May 28th, 2010 at 16:20 | #12

    I *LOVE* media mail. I ship a LOT of 1.5# hard back books media mail for $2.77. Haven’t had a problem yet. Even had one package that went 3000 miles in 4 days in March. Not bad.

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