Designed to send books, sound recordings and certain media items with an educational purpose, USPS Media Mail makes it more affordable for your business to mail packages that may be large or heavy. However, to take advantage of the lower prices, you'll need to make sure your shipments follow the USPS Media Mail rules. These rules include restrictions on the contents of Media Mail packages, the presence of advertising and the size and weight.
Basics of Media Mail
USPS Media Mail is considered an economy mailing method that takes longer for your packages to reach the receiver. Generally, it takes between two and 10 days, but delays can occasionally extend this time in transit. USPS can also search your package at any time if it thinks your package contains materials not allowed with the service.
Despite the slower delivery time, USPS Media Mail can save your company significantly in mailing costs. You will have the benefit of tracking your packages to make sure they reach customers.
USPS Media Mail Requirements
To prevent people from misusing the low-cost service to ship non-media items, the USPS has strict Media Mail qualifications that senders must follow. These include:
- Allowed contents: To qualify to use Media Mail, you need to send certain types of printed material, CDs, DVDs or film. The USPS requires that a book have eight pages or more and that films are 16 millimeters wide or less. Examples of other acceptable materials include educational charts, sheet music, recordings, manuscripts and binders containing loose-leaf pages related to medical studies.
- Banned contents: USPS Media Mail rules ban you from sending storage drives or video games in packages using the service. This applies even if a computer drive contains documents, multimedia items and e-books. USPS Media Mail requirements also restrict advertising materials. The exception is if you have a book that simply mentions related books or media items but not for the main purpose of advertising these for sale.
- Size and weight: USPS allows you to send Media Mail packages weighing up to 70 pounds. USPS Media Mail restrictions set 108 inches as a maximum combined girth and length for a package. Larger packages of up to 130 inches (combined girth and length) can use the Parcel Select service instead of Media Mail.
USPS Media Mail Pricing
Currently, USPS charges for Media Mail based solely on the weight and doesn't consider the mailing zone like it does for other services. If you buy Media Mail in person at your nearest post office, the price begins at $2.80 for a single piece weighing less than 1 pound, and the most postage you'd pay is $40 for a 70-pound package.
If you qualify for commercial pricing, the rate starts at $2.10 for a single piece weighing less than 1 pound and can be as little as $39.30 for a 70-pound Media Mail shipment. USPS notes that you may have to pay a surcharge if your package weighs more than 25 pounds.
Purchasing USPS Media Mail
Currently, USPS doesn't allow you to buy postage for Media Mail packages on its website. Instead, you'll need to head to your post office to get your shipping label if you want to go directly through USPS. However, you can purchase Media Mail online through shipping services like Stamps.com and PayPal Shipping Center. You can often qualify for the slightly lower commercial rate when buying online through these providers.
Ashley Donohoe started writing professionally about business topics in 2010. Having eight years experience running all aspects of her small business, she is knowledgeable about the daily issues and decisions that business owners face. She also has earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a leadership and strategy concentration from Western Governors University. Some other places featuring her business writing include JobHero, LoveToKnow, PocketSense, Chron and Study.com.