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.