Sunday, March 12, 2006

Media Mail

If you are sending books or other media through the USPS, media mail can be an inexpensive shipping option, but there are restrictions on the service that aren't always obvious. Jack at the WROX P.O. gave us the lowdown on Media Mail when we asked why it wasn't available via the self-serve kiosk in the lobby (causing us to endure a 20 minute wait in line).

Media mail can be used to send *only* appropriate media (so don't mix your book in a box of stuff doesn't make the package media mail eligible) and what surprised me was that media that contains advertising is NOT eligible for media mail. This means you cannot send magazines via media mail (and if you add magazines to a package with media mail!) which was news to me.

Sure enough the USPS website does state the no-advertising restriction:
[Content:] Generally used for books (at least eight pages), film (16 mm or narrower), printed music, printed test materials, video and sound recordings, playscripts, printed educational charts, loose-leaf pages and binders consisting of medical information, and computer-readable media. Sound recordings may include incidental announcements of recordings and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such recordings. Books may contain no advertising other than incidental announcements of other books.
[emphasis mine]

The media mail stamp now contains a notice that media mail is subject to inspection so they can enforce these restrictions. Which makes a certain amount of sense, but the bears are really out of control lately.

1 comment:

  1. It's frustrating to see a lot of eBay sellers using MM for magazines. Some of our local post offices won't even let me use bound printed matter rate for magazines.


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