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"Shipping books through US mail?" Topic


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1,215 hits since 8 Jan 2013
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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IGWARG1 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian08 Jan 2013 3:53 p.m. PST

I ordered rule books from UK several times and always received them in a specially designed cardboard box for books. I wonder if such a box exist in USA.

How do you send your books or magazines through US mail? What was your experience? How much does it cost? Any other points on the topic I can't think of right now?

Thanks in advance…

Personal logo BAMeyer Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Jan 2013 3:56 p.m. PST
Chef Lackey Rich Fezian Inactive Member08 Jan 2013 4:04 p.m. PST

No special boxes from the US Post Office. Books (not magazines) qualify for Media Rate mail, which is significantly discounted for its weight and still surprisingly fast.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian08 Jan 2013 4:14 p.m. PST

A lot of small bookstores are packing the books in unpadded but very tough gray plastic pouches that seem to be shrinkwrapped to fit. I've been skeptical, but it actually works as well as any other method I've seen.

Chef Lackey Rich Fezian Inactive Member08 Jan 2013 4:29 p.m. PST

Those work well if the binding on the book is sturdy enough. Myself, I like Amazon's shipping boxes best.

RudyNelson08 Jan 2013 6:37 p.m. PST

The USPS priority padded packet is great. It is a small packet flat rate. You cannot get it at the post office but have to order it on-line.\

A priority medium box will hold a lot of books.
There are also priority style boxes for sale if you want to send them media rate but they are not free. You have to buy them but they are reasonable at the post office or at any number of office supply stores.

Mako11 Inactive Member08 Jan 2013 6:55 p.m. PST

Just ask for "book-rate" shipping at the post office, once you get the stuff packed up.

That'll help save you some dough, especially since postal rates are going up again at the end of the month.

Seems like that is almost a quarterly event now.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2013 4:17 a.m. PST

I didn't know that about magazines. I ship all of the magazines I sell via media mail and will continue to do so.

Chef Lackey Rich Fezian Inactive Member09 Jan 2013 5:51 a.m. PST

The USPS priority padded packet is great. It is a small packet flat rate. You cannot get it at the post office but have to order it on-line.\

A priority medium box will hold a lot of books.
There are also priority style boxes for sale if you want to send them media rate but they are not free. You have to buy them but they are reasonable at the post office or at any number of office supply stores.

If you use Priority Mail boxes, you'll pay Priority Mail prices no matter what's in them – that's why the boxes are free. That's pretty foolish, since Media Rate is much cheaper by-weight – for ex, a 5-pound box of books (roughly a packed load for a medium flat rate box) would be $11.35 USD by Priority, but only $4.15 USD for Media. Priority is maybe two-three days faster and might gets handled a little bit more carefully, but it isn't worth the upgrade in my experience.

I didn't know that about magazines. I ship all of the magazines I sell via media mail and will continue to do so.

I worked for a comic shop that thought the same way, and they're out of business in large part because of it. Eventually, they'll catch you with a random spot check. I'm not sure whether they deliver a "postage due" notice to the customer or return it to the shipper these days, but either way it not only costs someone a lot more money for postage, it gets your boxes flagged by the postal inspector till the end of time, and can lead to a mail fraud investigation in extreme cases. Every Media Rate box is potentially subject to inspection, and with businesses they know if you cut corners like that once, you're likely to be doing it regularly, so they keep checking offender's boxes.

Note that there are quite a few non-book items that can potentially qualify, but magazines and catalogs are any of them. To quote from the USPS site:


Media Mail is not sealed against postal inspection. Regardless of physical closure, the mailing of articles at Media Mail prices constitutes consent by the mailer to postal inspection.

Media mail is used for certain types of books, films, manuscripts, printed music, printed test materials, sound recordings, play scripts, printed educational charts, loose-leaf pages and their binders consisting of medical information, video recordings, educational reference charts, and computer-readable media.

Video games, whether on CD-ROM, diskettes, or similar software, or playable systems including computers, do not meet the standards for Media Mail. Storage devices such as "portable hard drives", "thumb drives", "flash drives", "jump-drives", and "USB drives" for use with computers are not eligible for Media Mail prices. For specific eligibility please see DMM 173.3.

The maximum size of an item in combined length plus girth (distance around the thickest part) is 108 inches.

Mark each package "Media Mail" in the postage area.

It's an incredible bargain, which tempts people to abuse the system, hence the risks of doing so.

JeffGrein Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2013 10:24 a.m. PST

One easy way to guess if something does not qualify for Media mail is that if it contains any kind of adds it will not qualify. I am pretty sure that nearly 100% of magazines contain some kind of advertisement in them.

Panfilov10 Jan 2013 5:54 p.m. PST

Special Boxes are a HTF item where I live (Darkest Arkansas), or anyone not in a Major Metropolitan Area, and even there you will probably have to hunt for a reliable retail outlet.

I just ordered what may be enough (book size) boxes from U-Line to last me the rest of my life. Certainly for ordinary ebay shipments, the next year or two, but it was order boxes now (Great sale terms throught Sunday), or pay a 300% markup to the local "retailer"; he want's $.80 USD for a 4x4x4 box, and $1.05 USD for the 6x6x6; He charges about the same for the padded mailers I use when shipping books (Amazon).

Needless to say, I won't spend a dime with him.

The Priority Mail Flat rate envelope is probably still the simplest way to ship Magazines or similar flat itmes domestically in the US (Catalogs). By the time you buy a padded mailer, well, that is $.50 USD wholesale, or around $1.50 USD/$2 even at WalMart.

The Gray (Tyvek) envelopes are charachteristic of the "Megasellers" who have ruined the used book business with us small timers in the last five years or so. Yes, you bought that title for $.01 USD plus shipping, but..

I wonder where the Megasellers get their labor? County Jail Work Release or something.

Gamers, make shure your heirs understand NOT to donate your books to "Charity."

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