USPS Media Mail Requirements

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Media mail is a budget option when mailing books.
Media mail is a budget option when mailing books. (Image: wall of mailboxes image by nextrecord from Fotolia.com)

Media mail is a budget option offered by the United States Postal Service for those mailing certain types of media. Select items that do not meet the requirements for periodical rates can still receive a reduction from first class postage. There are some drawbacks to media mail, but for the cost-conscious media mailer, it is an option to consider.

Contents

Only select items qualify to be sent via media mail. Books that are more than eight pages long, film, recorded tapes, scripts and computer-recorded materials are allowed. Also acceptable are printed tests, music, educational charts or medical binders. Books can have only incidental advertising.

Packaging

Media mail packages must weigh less than 70 pounds. Any package that does not bend, is not rectangular or varies in thickness must be packaged as a parcel. A complete return address, including a zip code, must be included on each parcel. The package must also include a delivery address complete with zip code. Every piece should be marked as “Media Mail” in the postage area. Senders can meter packages.

Costs

Media mail is a less expensive than first class. The cost depends on the size and weight of package. Mailings that exceed 300 pieces and are segregated appropriately, and receive a discount on media mail rates. Those that mail using barcodes can also receive discounted postage. As with all postage rates, the Postal Service has incremental rate increases.

Delivery Time

Packages sent using media mail rates might take longer to arrive than packages sent via first class mail.

Inspections

Post Office employees have the right to verify that packages marked “Media Mail” meet the requirements to receive the reduced rate. If package is determined to be not eligible, a higher postage rate will be required.

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