Media mail vs 1st class or priority mail shipping

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This guide should help you decide whether or not to select media mail as a shipping option when purchasing books, cds, audiobooks, cassettes etc.

(All amounts are current as of January, 2015 - no increases yet in place for 2015)

Please vote below if you find this guide helpful!

Why choose media mail?

Pros - Low Shipping Costs!!!

It costs a lot less than sending qualified items through 1st class mail or priority mail.  The first pound is only $2.69 and each additional pound is 48 cents. If your purchase weighs over 8 pounds each additional pound is 46 cents from 8 pounds on.

ADD ONS ARE AVAILABLE - just like 1st class mail and priority mail

  • Delivery confirmation - I use paypal to create my shipping labels.  So, instead of being charged the $1.05 that you would pay if you got your delivery confirmation at the post office, it only costs .23 cents.  This keeps the cost of shipping and handling lower for my customers!!! 
  • Insurance (currently $2.10 for the first $50)

Cons - SLOW SPEED

  • Media mail is delivered at the same speed as parcel post.  Items are sent via surface shipping methods, and all other forms of USPS shipment get priority (i.e. - 1st class, priority, express etc.) over media mail.
  • Between Thanksgiving and Christmas and at tax time the speed of delivery can be slower than the USPS's advertised 2-9 business days.
  • There is no guarantee on the speed of delivery
  • Delivery to Alaska and Hawaii from the Continential US can take 3-6 weeks!

Why choose 1st class mail?

You are purchasing a lower weight item and you want quick delivery

PROS

  • Faster shipping speed than media mail
  • Cheaper than media mail for packages that weigh less than 5 ounces.

CONS

  • Limited to 13 ounces
  • Cost is generally higher than media mail for media mail qualified items

Why choose priority mail?

You want your item fast and cost is less important than speed

Pros

  • Faster Shipping Speed (2-3 days generally)
  • Flat rate envelopes and boxes are available than can sometimes reduce cost

Cons

  • More expensive and can make purchasing certain items cost prohibitive

What are qualified media mail items?

  • Books (8 pages or longer)
  • Film (16 mm or narrower)
  • Printed Music
  • Video and Sound Recordings (Cds, DVDs, Cassettes)
  • Computer readable media (not blank media - i.e. something must be on the CD not a package of blank CDs)
  • There are a few other items - but not really relevant to ebay sales.  You can always check the USPS website if you have questions.

Restrictions

  • Books may not contain advertising other than incidental announcements of other books.
  • Other advertising (including magazines with advertising) If I am ever in doubt (because this is muddy area) I check with my local postmaster, and what they say goes!
  • Items not specifically listed above

 

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