How to Package a Paperback Book Through Media Mail

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Paperback books are less expensive to ship via Media Mail.
Paperback books are less expensive to ship via Media Mail. (Image: old paperback books image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com)

If you sell a book or want to send one as a gift, the most economical way to ship it is through the United States Postal Service (USPS) Media Mail option, which is used for books, CDs or DVDs, sheet music and videotapes, as explained on the USPS website. Qualified items weighing more then 70 pounds can't be shipped with Media Mail and it isn't as fast as other mail services, but it will get your well-packaged paperback book to it's destination at a reasonable price.

Things You'll Need

  • Bubble wrap
  • Wrapping tape
  • Newspaper
  • Shipping envelope
  • Packing tape
  • Permanent marker or pen

Lay the paperback book that you're shipping on a flat, surface such as your countertop or table, on top of a sheet of Bubble Wrap.

Wrap the paperback book much in the same way that you would gift wrap a present. Do this by wrapping completely around the book, leaving excess at the top and bottom ends. Fold this excess Bubble Wrap over the ends and secure with wrapping tape.

Bubble Wrap protects your paperback book from damage while in-transit.
Bubble Wrap protects your paperback book from damage while in-transit. (Image: bubble wrap image by MichMac from Fotolia.com)

Slide the wrapped book into a shipping envelope. These come in large and small sizes. If there's excess room around the book in the envelope, fill the empty space with rolled up newspaper so that the book isn't sliding around during shipping.

Seal the envelope and secure the ends with packing tape. Even though a paperback book isn't breakable, it may become bent or the edges may get damaged during shipping. Protecting the book with Bubble Wrap, newspaper and a taped envelope reduces the chance of your book being damaged or ripped by automated post office machines.

Write the mailing address in the center of the envelope and your return address in the left hand corner on the same side of the envelope. Use your permanent marker to write "Media Mail" in the lower left corner or have the post office affix a "Media Mail" sticker to the envelope.

Take your packaged paperback book to the post office to be weighed and to purchase sufficient Media Mail postage. The postal rates will depend upon where you're shipping the package and how much it weighs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase a postal weigh scale and shipping labels to purchase and print out Media Mail freight labels at home, if you ship books or other Media Mail qualified items on a regular basis.
  • Media Mail takes longer than standard mail to arrive to its destination within the United States. If the paperback book is needed more quickly, choose another method of shipping.
  • Avoid placing advertisements or personal notes on the outside of your Media Mail package, as this is forbidden by the post office.

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