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Topic: Media Mail VS First Class Shipping Fee

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Subject: Media Mail VS First Class Shipping Fee
Date Posted: 6/12/2008 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2008
Posts: 7
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Since I'm new to this I went inside the Post Office to mail my first paperback to make sure I was doing things correctly, verify postage, etc.  Get this! - It was actually CHEAPER to mail it first class than it was media mail!!!

I'm pretty sure that media mail rate was $2.28 and first class was $2.17!!!

So she just covered up the part of the book wrapper that said media mail and shipped it for about a dime less first class.  It will arrive in 2 days now for LESS postage!  ...and it WILL get there.

Media Mail is SO slow and very low priority, can take 10 days or more and many potential problems.  Once I sold a set of 12 VHS Disney videos on eBay and shipped via media mail.  The package apparently 'came open' in shipping.  All of them were 'lost' and  PO sent me the top part of the box with instructions for a search and claim of lost mail.   I did return this (including copy of photos), however months later PO sent another notice saying they were never recovered.  Bad stuff can happen to good people with media mail.






Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 6/12/2008 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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If the system thinks the weight of the book you're sending is less than 7 oz, it will print FIRST CLASS on the wrapper because that will be cheaper. For heavier books it will print MEDIA MAIL. However, the system doesn't always have the correct weights for books. If you want your wrappers to be accurate, you should weigh your books and enter that weight on the screen before printing the wrapper.

When you find a book that has an incorrect weight in the database, you can fix it by using the Edit Book Data link at the bottom of the screen.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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Hi Carol,

Welcome to PBS!  As you've discovered, it can be cheaper to mail a thin book via first class instead of media mail.  The general guideline to mailing by 1st class is "up to 7 ounces".  After that, media mail is cheaper but if it is not a big difference I go ahead and mail 1st instead of media rate.  It appears the media mail has been moving quicker since the recent increase.

Happy trading! 


Date Posted: 6/13/2008 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2005
Posts: 131
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Yes, always check the weight of the book yourself.   Sometimes the system's data is right-on, but sometimes it can be way off.   I just sent out a book - the system said it weighed 11 ounces, yet when I weighed it, it was only 5 ounces - even wrapped, it still fell within the 7oz limit for first class.   (I kinda panicked at the huge difference & double-checked to make sure my scale was working properly!, which it was!)   And I double-checked the book data itself - everything matched perfectly except for the estimated weight.

Media mail's delivery time can be so odd --- I had ordered a bunch of books from someone, she sent them in two boxes.   The first box, it only took 2 days to get here from IL via media mail!   The second package from the same person, mailed at the exact same time took an additional 3 days before it showed up!    Both boxes were roughly the same size, not much difference in weight, mailed at the same time, etc etc --- yet delivered 3 days apart from each other.   Overall, though, in my experience, delivery time recently w/ media mail has been usually 3-5 days, but once in a while, it takes longer. 

Date Posted: 6/14/2008 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2008
Posts: 7
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THANKS for these replies!  Yes, I did weigh the book and it was 6.2 oz but guess I didn't remember that 'under 7 ounces' rule for the PO. 

I learn new things every time I login here, so thanks to all - didn't know about the Edit Book Data link either.


Date Posted: 6/15/2008 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 180
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Since I bought a scale, I always check the book weight. Usually it is right but not always. I didn't know about the "edit book data" either.

Date Posted: 6/19/2008 11:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/9/2006
Posts: 1,760
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I also go out to the USPS web site to see what the first class postage would be and if it is a minor difference I send it first class.