Thursday, November 06, 2014

What is Media Mail?

The US Postal Service Offers a wide variety of shipping methods but one you may not be aware of is Media Mail.

What Is Media Mail
Media Mail is only for the use of shipping books, CD's, VHS Tapes, DVD's or printed music. The US Postal Service restricts items that can be sent using Media Mail.

When I've used Media Mail to mail books, I've been told by the people at the post office that if they think there is something other than what is supposed to be in the Media Mail package, they have the right to open it and inspect it and if it is found to have other materials, the recipient can be charged the difference in shipping costs. Media Mail used to be referred to as "Book Rate" according to my mother.

Media Mail Is Very Slow
Media Mail packages can take up to 4 weeks to be delivered to their destination. I've had books shipped to me Media Mail take 4 1/2 weeks to get to me and during the holidays it takes longer because of all the other mail being delivered.

Media Mail is Not For Fragile Items
I was told at the Post Office that anything sent Media Mail is put into bins with much larger boxes and packages and because of this, if its not packaged securely it can get squished, smashed, torn open or broken.

I've had several packages sent to me using Media Mail where the large manila envelopes were torn open and the books inside were torn because the person sending it didn't package it securely. Putting a small book in a large envelope and hoping for the best, is not the best way to use Media Mail.

Using Media Mail for CD's and DVD's and only using a bubble padded envelope could cause the jeweled cases to be broken, shattered or smashed. Using a more secure envelope with some cardboard or some other stiff box-like material is a better way to package something fragile using Media Mail.

Why Media Mail Might Not Be The Best Way To Ship
While shipping a large box of books will be quite a bit cheaper by sending them Media Mail, it will also take twice as long to get to its destination. The box of 50 books I bought using Ebay , was sent to me using Media Mail. It took 4 ½ weeks to get to me and when I received the box it looked as if it had been kicked, rolled in some kind of black dirt and it had a rip in the bottom right hand side of the box.

The box looked like it had survived a car accident before it had been delivered to me. Media Mail is a great service if you are shipping a large box of books and don't want to pay an outrageous price, as long as the person getting it doesn't mind waiting up to 4 weeks to get their box and all the books are properly secured inside the box. But I don't use Media Mail for shipping any longer because I don't like to wait so long for my books and CD's, and I'm sure others don't either.


  1. Never even knew there was such a thing, sounds like extra work though.

  2. I'm so jealous of the US postal service's media mail program. We have nothing comparable here in Canada which is why I rarely ship my own giveaways because it is sooo expensive! There are obviously a few downsides to it, but you can't beat the price.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads.

  3. sounds good for books I guess, but not so much for everything else.

  4. i do remember 'book rate'. nice to see some things are still around - including the 'wreckage' it endures. :)

  5. That is such a great way to save. Basically when you get this package, order your next so by the time you are done, it will arrive.
    I agree it might be slow but probably well wroth it.

  6. When eBay was new, I remember a lot of people sent things media mail and, yes, it took forever. My problem with it is the damage you mention. I wouldn't want my items to arrive all beaten up!

  7. I use media mail a lot with the blog and it can be pretty handy. I usually ask when they'll be delivered though. They don't give exacts but can give a range and usually it's been within 2 weeks so not too bad. But have had a couple take a good long while too.

  8. I order DVD sets of TV series through Media Mail a lot and luckily I've never had an issue.

  9. Pat- it is and if you're just sending one book it only saves you a few cents.

    Carmel- The price is good but I've had so many things ruined because people don't realize that you have to pack it carefully.

    Adam- That's exactly right.

    TexWisGirl- My mom sent me to the post office with a book to mail and told me to tell them book rate, the younger lady didn't even know what I was talking about.

    Lady Lilith- It can be very slow.

    Stephanie- Yeah I remember that too.

    Anna- I can deal with 2 weeks but 4-6 weeks is a bit much for me.

    Keith- Good you haven't had a problem with it.

  10. I have had to use it b/c I do so many giveaways. The USPS people have told me there CAN be a note or a bookmark, and other peeps at the USPS have said they cannot. I tend to send any other stuff in an envelope separate from the books.


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