5 Tips for Shipping Books

August 4th, 2016 Comments off

277753_New-creative-request-blog-images-Stamps-1If you sell new or used books, you’re likely seeing an upswing in sales as the start of school approaches, with back-to-school retail expected to rise 2.6 percent compared to 2015 and ecommerce alone jumping 15.3 percent during the same period, according to eMarketer.

While it’s true back-to-school keeps booksellers busy, books are popular with shoppers year-round. Reviewing your options regarding book shipping can help streamline your business’ process plus help your bottom line. The United States Postal Service’s Media Mail Service – formerly known as Book Rate – is a cost-efficient method of shipping educational materials, and is calculated purely on weight and size.  This makes Media Mail a great option for ecommerce sellers who deal in books and other heavy media items.

The table below illustrates the vast price difference for mailing four books, weighing 15 pounds total, from San Francisco to Atlanta (Zone 8).

USPS Shipping Choice


Media Mail


Priority Mail

Priority Mail Flat Rate – Large Box


Now that you know a bit about Media Mail, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re shipping books:

– Understand Media Mail Service’s requirements. Media Mail is restricted to books of at least eight pages, including play scripts and manuscripts; CDs/DVDs; sheet music; computer-readable media, 16mm or narrower film; printed test materials and reference charts; and loose-leaf pages and finders of medical information intended for medical professionals and hospitals. Items that do not qualify for Media Mail Service include advertising materials, loose photos and comic books.

– Be honest about what you’re sending. If you choose to use Media Mail, understand that in return for lower cost, you are also permitting postal inspectors to open and look over your mailing to ensure it’s eligible for the special rate.

– Expect slower shipping times. USPS deems Media Mail lower priority for delivery, so if speed is an issue, you may want to explore other options.

– Consider multiple shipping options. While Media Mail Service is designed to account for the weight of books and other educational material, sometimes it’s even cheaper to use Priority Mail’s flat rate packaging, especially if you’re sending several items together, or unusually heavy books.

– Stamps.com makes sending via Media Mail simple. The service’s Cost Codes feature makes it easy to differentiate eligible Media Mail shipments from your other products, and it’s even possible to print out a mailing label that hides the amount spent on shipping.

The Bottom Line
The Media Mail service provides ecommerce sellers with a consistently low-cost method of shipping books and other educational materials that can add up weight-wise under other shipping methods’ pricing. Understand the requirements and the tradeoffs versus faster options, and prove to your customers – and yourself – how book smart you are as an ecommerce seller!

Media Mail: Summary of April 2016 USPS Rate Decrease

April 21st, 2016 Comments off

What is Media Mail?
Media Mail is a cost-effective way to send media materials through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). You can send books, videotapes, DVDs, CDs, printed music and other sound recordings through Media Mail as long as they weigh less than 70 pounds.

What is the Estimated Delivery Time for Media Mail?
It can take between 2 to 10 days for your Media Mail package to be delivered to its destination.

Changes to Media Mail in 2016
On Sunday, April 10, 2016, the USPS implemented a postage rate decrease, as a result of which it will now cost less to ship a Media Mail package.  Prior to the change, it would cost $2.72 to ship a 1 lb. Media Mail package which will now only cost $2.61.  The table below lists the decrease in Media Mail rates for packages weighing up to 25 lbs.

266057_Image for Media Mail Blog Post

Save with Media Mail
If delivery on your shipment is not time sensitive, Media Mail can help save you a lot!  If you’re a Stamps.com customer sending a 1-pound package, it will cost $5.75 and up with Priority Mail (using the Stamps.com discount) and only $2.61 with Media Mail.  Using Media Mail in this situation will save you around 53% in postage costs.

How to Lower Shipping Costs – Use Media Mail

May 28th, 2010 12 comments

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.

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