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Topic: Postage Question

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Subject: Postage Question
Date Posted: 6/12/2008 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 20
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How come the suggested postage rate on the wrappers are WAY off?? I just came back from the post office and mailed 3 books which were twice the amount "suggested" and I mailed them parcel post (the cheapest way).  I'm just wondering where that suggested rate price comes from.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2008
Posts: 428
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Every book has certain information assigned to it. Part of that information is the weight of the book. The postage rate is calculated using that weight. If the weight is wrong, the rate is wrong. And, some book information is wrong.

However, you said that you mailed them parcel post. That's not the cheapest way to send books. There's a special class of mail called Media Mail. You have to ask for it at the post office, but it's much cheaper.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2006
Posts: 2,669
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I don't know if you have a scale but when printing out the wrapper there is a section where the weight of the book is shown and you can change it before printing out.  It will also show the weight of the book when wrapped.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 11:02 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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As Tim said, parcel post is more expensive than media mail.  It's restricted to only certain kinds of content, so expect to be asked about what you're mailing when you request it.  But it should be about half the price of parcel post.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 20
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However, you said that you mailed them parcel post. That's not the cheapest way to send books. There's a special class of mail called Media Mail. You have to ask for it at the post office, but it's much cheaper.

  damn... i wish i knew that. you see, i use the automatic teller at the post office and first class, priority and parcel post are the only options. parcel post is always the cheapest price. i feel stupid now. i wasted so much money sending books out and i'm unemployed so that really makes me angry. I use the machine becuz i hate standing in line and the machine is faster. crap. i wondered what media mail meant.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2008
Posts: 428
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It's one of those things that you either know about or you don't. The post office doesn't advertise media mail because it's so cheap that they don't make any money off of it.

At least you'll know for next time.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I've never used the APC machine since I just buy a bunch of stamps of various denominations or use the printed postage.  But I think I've seen on here that the APC machine will let you create a single stamp label of a denomination you choose. So you could try that.  You can write media mail on the package and the label should say mm if that was the cheapest rate. Although sometimes if 1st class is only slightly more it'll choose first class.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,746
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Media Mail has to be handled a different way than other packages at the APC.  you can't do it through the 'mail a package' screen.  you have to know the amount of postage you need, and use 'buy stamps' and then buy a stamp of the correct denomination.  (and in general, you'll probably want to do that for any first class PBS packages as well, as the stamps are a lot easier to fit on the package than the big ones it gives you through the packages screen.)

here's a link to the postal rates, but you can look it up whenever by going to the help center and searching on 'postal rates': http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/help_item.php?id=515

if you don't have a scale at home to weigh the packages (i just use my kitchen scale), you'll probably want to check the weight via the package screens of the APC before you print the stamp, in case the weight stored in the PBS database is off, or you used more/heavier packaging, etc..

not over 7oz, first class is cheaper.  over 7oz, media mail is cheaper.

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 20
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thanx ellen and tim. i appreciate the advice.

ps: ellen, i love your avatar. those cats are cool.