5 Tips for Shipping Books

May 24th, 2023 Comments off

Back-to-school shopping for both grade schools and colleges has been on the rise. According to the National Retail Federation, 2022 yielded almost $37 billion for grade shopping and almost $74 billion in college shopping; 4.5% of this amount includes books. 

Although the school year is coming to an end, the time for summer courses and recreational reading is at hand. Not to mention summertime tends to fly by, so it’ll be time for the next school year before you know it. Your customers are reading year-round, so learning how to ship books can boost sales. With the help of our five tips, you’ll be a book shipping expert in no time. 

1. Learn Media Mail guidelines and restrictions 

Media Mail is a service offered through USPS for merchants who ship books and other media-based materials like CDs, DVDs, and test materials. However, like most carrier services, Media Mail comes with its own set of restrictions. Comic books and marketing materials aren’t eligible for the service. Also, Media Mail can only be used for domestic shipments and is subject to inspection. Restrictions aside, Media Mail does include free tracking and can be used for shipments up to 70 pounds with a girth of 108 inches. 

2. Compare shipping costs 

Media Mail can be a great resource, but we recommend comparing rates before making a final decision. If a shipment is on the lighter side, Priority Mail® may prove to be the more affordable option. Stamps.com users can compare shipping rates in real time with Rate Advisor to find the best available service for your shipment. After entering all of the information for your shipment, expand the Service or Carrier drop down menus and select Compare Services and Rates. Then, explore the given carrier service options to find the carrier service that fits your needs. 

3. Use free shipping materials when available

If Priority Mail does prove to be your carrier service of choice, take advantage of the free shipping supplies offered by USPS. These supplies are sent directly to your home or business and can be ordered from your Stamps.com account. If the 7-10 delivery window doesn’t work for your business, most post offices also carry free supplies for customers. Priority Mail shipments can weigh up to 70 pounds, so the boxes and envelopes work perfectly for books, CDs, and other products.

4. Communicate shipping times with customers 

When using services like Media Mail, delivery times might be a bit slower than customers are used to at an estimated 2-8 days. Share delivery windows at checkout to avoid a negative customer experience. Our recent study found 31.5% of customers are less likely to give a store repeat business if their shipment arrives later than communicated, so keep your customers in the loop and provide accurate delivery windows up front. Your customers can look forward to curling up with a good read and be more likely to shop from your business in the future. 

5. Utilize Stamps.com automation rules

Once you’ve found the service and package that works for your business, avoid manually entering information for each new order with Automation Rules. Automation Rules automatically apply carrier information and packaging to shipments within the given criteria. For example, you can create an automation rule where items with a specific SKU assign Priority Mail as the carrier service. Automation rules help get shipments to customers faster for ample study and/or reading time. 


Your customers are looking to your business to provide a new adventure or a helpful resource for class. Compare shipping rates, select a service, create a label, and get ready to send your book on its way. Then, do it all over again with automation rules until your customers have every book in the series. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but Stamps.com does make shipping as easy as it looks. 

Open a new chapter and start your 30-day free trial to Stamps.com today.

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

September 24th, 2014 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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