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Topic: First class mail is a lot cheaper than media mail. How to .....

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Subject: First class mail is a lot cheaper than media mail. How to .....
Date Posted: 8/31/2009 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2007
Posts: 6
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In several years of sending books I am always looking for a less expensive way to send them.

One day while printing out postage I decided to try first class mail instead of media mail. I was shocked to see the difference was more than a dollar LESS for first class.

First class does have some rules. The package can't be more than 13 ounces and it has to have an "irregular" shape. In other words it can't be a perfect square, rectangle etc.

I package my books in a bubble mailer and add a few packing peanuts to give the package an irregular shape. The package then qualifies to go first class and usually arrives faster. Not to mention cheaper.

I have been shocked to see books that I am getting from PBS members coming with almost 3.00 in postage. I got one today with 2.77 for media mail.

Date Posted: 8/31/2009 3:00 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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2.77 is for a book that weighs between one and two pounds.   Check with the first class is for over one pound.   It's way more.

Date Posted: 8/31/2009 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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A  $1.38 book would have to be awfully small! I've sent a few light books first class, but those cost more than that. I hope that you had weighed that "very cheap" first class book yourself - the weight claimed by the PBS system can often be off, sometimes a lot.


Date Posted: 8/31/2009 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Another thing to check is whether you are looking at the first-class prices for packages/parcels. First class is cheaper if it is less than 7oz, but if it's more, media mail is cheaper. There's a good PBS document that explains the differences between flats and packages. http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/help_item.php?id=185


Date Posted: 8/31/2009 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2009
Posts: 60
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When did 1st class start needing an irregular shape? When sending non-media items, I always put them in boxes.

Date Posted: 8/31/2009 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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first class parcels have to be rigid or 3/4" at SOME point on the package. It CAN " be a perfect square, rectangle etc." as long as it is over 3/4" thick OR rigid.

Date Posted: 9/1/2009 7:24 AM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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The only restriction on first class in general is the weight - has to be less than 13 ounces.  For 1st class large envelopes, the maximum size is 12 x 15 and less than 3/4" thick.  For 1st class packages, it can be a box or whatever as long as it's less than 13 ounces.

If it's 7 ounces or less, 1st class is cheaper.  At 8 ounces, first class costs more than media mail.


Date Posted: 9/1/2009 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Agree with several previous posts, the break is 7 oz. and under.  Under is cheaper first class, and over is cheaper Media Mail. 

$1 difference would be a very light book.  Cheapest Media Mail rate is $2.28 whereas First-Class Parcel rates are:
not over 1 oz      $1.22
not over 2 oz      $1.39
not over 3 oz      $1.56    and so on.

I frequently mail books 8 oz and under at First-Class, even the 8 oz. is only .03 cents more than Media Mail.  No special wrapping or shape is required for First-Class (except those mentioned above by Brandy).

Date Posted: 9/1/2009 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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I always mail 8 oz first class -- 3 cents more to guarantee no time in the "penalty box" worth it to me!