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Topic: Postage

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Subject: Postage
Date Posted: 1/26/2009 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2009
Posts: 6
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I mailed my first two books today, but i didn't use the printable paper with the address (no printer).  I went to a USPS store to by yellow mailers with bubble wrap and asked them to weigh the books for postage.  Both books were your standard 8.5x5.5 paperback books, not too thick.  The man said that they would be $4.80 each to mail.  That's almost double what I was expecting based on the info from this site.

Is this normal? 

 

Subject: Postage
Date Posted: 1/26/2009 11:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,418
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Did you have media mail printed on the packages?  You should have paid about $4.00+ total.

You must have addressed the books by hand?

Date Posted: 1/26/2009 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2009
Posts: 6
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Yeah, I addressed them myself.  Book inside yellow mailer+sharpie pen written address+metered postage done by the guy.  Per book was $4.80 postage+about 3 dollars per Mailer. 

Subject: postage
Date Posted: 1/26/2009 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,418
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It is still pretty high  postage for a couple of paperbacks....also you can get the bubble mailes ALOT cheaoer at pretty much anyplace else in town and even less if you were to order them on line at a number of different places.....Walmart  or ebay is a good place.

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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The stores add a profit on for themselves I believe.  Go to USPS and look up the rates for Media mail.  I think you'll find you were gypped - in fact I KNOW it.

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 12:15 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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You paid $3 for a mailer? THAT is where your money went! WOW!

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 12:19 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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If you do not mind the impact of plastic in the world, and some of us re0use these, you could get poly mailers!

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/100-9-X-12-POLY-MAILERS-SHIPPING-BAGS-ENVELOPES-9X12_W0QQitemZ300262954900QQcmdZViewItemQQptZBI_Mailers_Envelopes?hash=item300262954900&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A0|293%3A1|294%3A50

 

 

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 12:23 AM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2009
Posts: 6
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Thanks guys.  I really learned a lot from this experience.  Next time I'll go to an actual post office instead of some hole in the wall USPS store.

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 12:41 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Been there, done that, felt stupid. ;-)  They really do NOT advertise the fact that they are charging more, so don't feel bad.

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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And, if you want to use mailers (I do because they're really handy) it's best to buy them in bulk through the net, though you can sometimes find deals in the most unlikely of places.  I was recently in an Office Depot that was, for some reason I didn't bother to question, clearance pricing a lot of their mailing supplies.  I bought two whole cases of #0 bubble mailers (6.25 in. x 9.375 in.), 12 to a package and 12 packages to a case (a full gross per case) for $48.00 plus tax, that's $2.00 per package, or about 17 cents per mailer.  This size is perfect for your average sized paperback.

 

Now, if only they put the 8.5 x 11 size on a similar sale I'll be all set.

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 7:48 AM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2007
Posts: 1,140
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Sounds like he was charging you Priority Mail.  That happened to my sister with the first book she mailed from here.  Our mailroom supervisor at work never heard of media mail (?) and she was charge $6 because it was a heavy book - I've since showed her how to use media mail!

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 8:22 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Once you start receiving books you'll get mailers that you can reuse if you're careful opening them. But yeah you over paid. Buying the mailers in bulk is cheaper but if you don't want to do that you can buy 5 packs at Walmart which makes them only about $1/each.  I've done that in a pinch when I've had hardbacks ordered and nothing to mail them in and needed the large padded mailers.  Most of the time I don't have to buy anything but tape because I reuse the mailers from the books I get.

Also you don't have to use bubble mailers, although they do work best for thicker books.  You can use wrapping paper, craft paper, whatever you have on hand.  Although I wouldn't use newspaper as it might stain the book.  I've used cereal boxes before to mail off bulk paperback orders.

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
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First of all, "mail stores" such as Postal Annex, etc, charge a higher fee than the post office.  That is their profit - they won't tell you that unless you ask.  So always ask if they charge more than USPS rates.  I work in a contract postal unit, not a post office, but it is contracted by USPS so we cannot charge more than USPS.  We're not post office employees, but you will see an official "US Post Office" sign here.  There is a difference between a contract unit and a private enterprise... Always ask if you are unsure. 

With the postal increase on Jan 18 this year, priority mail now starts at $4.95 - so $4.80 would have been parcel post, not priority.  And parcel post goes no faster than media mail so paying extra for it is a wash.  It's possible that whoever waited on you doesn't know about media mail.... or you got "up-charged" at a for-profit mail store.

Media mail rates are 2.23 (up to 1 pound), 2.58 (over 1 pound less than 2 pounds) or 2.93 (over 2 pounds less than 3 pounds).  Most paperbacks will be 2.23.  Heavier books can be 2.58, 2.93 or more, but media mail is in increments of pounds, not ounces, so unless you are shipping multiple books or heavy hardcovers, you won't be paying that much.  Some mass market paperbacks will be light enough to go first class at a cheaper rate.   When you take your book to the counter, tell them you want to send it media mail unless first class is cheaper (although most postal employees will tell you if first class is cheaper).  Don't let anyone talk you into parcel post - that's wasted money.  And don't let them intimidate you by saying "media mail can be inspected, you know" if there is nothing but a book inside the package.  Insist on media mail if you are just shipping a book.

One way to tell if you've stumbled into a "for profit" postal center is to check the meter strip they've applied to your envelope.  If it says 2.23, but they're charging you 3 or 4 dollars, then you've just paid for the service in addition to the postage.  (I would say you've been ripped off, but some people don't mind paying extra if it's more convenient for them than the post office.)

I buy cartons of bubble mailers at Sams Club.  I buy 8.5 x 11 mailers because most of my books are trade-size paperbacks or hardcovers.  They come in boxes of 25 for 4.88 which works out to less than 25 cents each.  For mass market paperbacks, I just use the smaller. cheap manilla envelopes (not bubble mailers) and tape them well. 

 



Last Edited on: 1/27/09 8:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 11:11 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 2,608
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I'm sorry you were overcharged.  Next time it will be better because you are armed with more information about the process.  Rather than buying mailers, I wrap the brown paper that comes in rolls.  I've had this paper for so long (honestly can't remember ever buying it) that I consider it to be FREE wrapping material.  And oh yeah, I enclose the bag in plastic before wrapping it in the brown paper, and use packing tape on the outside.  I usually, but not always take my books to the PO.  If it is a small book, I have them weigh it for 1st class as well.  For small books 1st class can be cheaper than media mail, or only a tiny bit more.  I think you will enjoy this site as you get more used to it and the whole process.

Date Posted: 1/28/2009 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,219
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If you have a Sam's near you, you can get the "0"  (6x9 and fit a regular paperback just fine) bubble mailers for about $5.00 for a box of 25 and a box of "1" mailers, again 25 per box for a little over $5.00 a box.  Their wide tape is also cheaper there than anywhere else I've found.  Pat

Date Posted: 1/28/2009 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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Ouch, expensive lessons are the worst. I was lucky, I had already sold a few textbooks on half.com before I came to this site, so I knew about media mail and how much it should cost. Personally I don't spring for the mailers when it comes to PBS (though I am going to take a gander next time I am at costco). I buy packs of manila envelopes and tape them up so that they are tight on the book (less likely to get caught in sorting machine I think). I wrap the books in cling wrap before I put them in the envelope. Haven't had a book get damaged in the mail yet (not one I've sent anyway). If it's too big for the envelope then I cut up a paper bag instead. I used to do this for the smaller books too, but I've found that the envelopes are faster.
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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I find that for paperbacks, the thick brown packaging paper works very well, as long as you wrap it and tape it securely.  I've almost never used envelopes or mailers, mostly because I find it harder (for me) to tape down the ends well.