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Topic: Postal rates - Media or First Class

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Subject: Postal rates - Media or First Class
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 5:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2007
Posts: 442
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Not really a question, more of a realization I just had.

When printing out the mailer for a book I wanted to send out, I noticed that the PBS weight estimate was 8.6 ounces and the postage was $2.38 for the media mail rate.  Normally I would just slap on the appropriate stamps and mail the book media mail except I realized that it was cheaper to send the book first class.   In fact, any book 9 ounces or less is cheaper to send first class.  And it has the added benefit of getting to the recipient much quicker. 

I wish I had realized this sooner.   IME, most mass market paperbacks are under 9 ounces and I could have saved some money.  It's only $2.24 to send a 9 ounce book, $2.07 for an 8oz, and $1.90 for a 7 oz according to the post office website.  That adds up.

 

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,471
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You are looking at the wrong chart.  That is for FLAT, not parcel.  Which would work for a children's paperback or a craft book.  But not for MMPBs.

Books might be either returned or arrive postage due.

 



Last Edited on: 8/20/09 5:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I was at the PO last Saturday and my clerk was helping me pick out the best rate to send a DVD.  In this instance the Media was $2.38 and First Class was the same! 

What can I say, he's my special PO clerk in a small substation.  Not many customers and he gets a charge out of finding the best rate for my books.  He tells me the more I send the better for him - he'll stay oen. :)

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
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A book between 6 and just under 7 ounces is $2.24, after that it's more expensive to use first class.  The next ounce up is only $2.41 though, and it's probably worth the 3 cents for it to get there faster.

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,471
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I always pay those three cents when going to AK, HI, PR, and APOs. 

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Yuppers, the break is 7 oz and under for First Class being cheaper than Media Mail.  Even then, the next rate is only a few cents more if you're inclined to send first class.



Last Edited on: 8/21/09 1:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2007
Posts: 442
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You are looking at the wrong chart.  That is for FLAT, not parcel.  Which would work for a children's paperback or a craft book.  But not for MMPBs.

Books might be either returned or arrive postage due.

 

I'm not sure I understand. 

I went to the USPS website and went to the Postage Price Calculator page.

I put in the weight, zip codes, and shape - large envelope.  (I used to wrap the books but find that sticking them in an envelope works better for me.)

The price for a first class envelope is $2.24.

I've sent several books this way and AFAIK, none have arrived with postage due and none have been returned to me. 

Is there another page I should be looking at? 

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 6:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Scroll down - Frist Class is first, but half way down you will find media mail.

this is from the USPS website - rates and fees


Date Posted: 8/20/2009 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2007
Posts: 442
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Ok.  I looked and to send a book media mail is $2.38.  It's still more expensive than sending a book in an envelope first class, which for a 9oz book is $2.24.

I'm not understanding why I wouldn't go with the first class option - unless there is a reason why I shouldn't and I just don't know it.

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I go with the less expensive option - my PO clerk usually tells me the best way to send it.  I always purchase the DC from PBS and I bring it in for postage and just to make sure the weight is correct when I am sending multiple books to the same address.  I sometimes pay an extra 3 cents for FC over MM and depending up on if it is someone  I have swapped before and there is some kind of relationship/friendship I will opt for FC for them as well.  FC is faster and isn't subject to postal inspections. 

Also I think MM was less expensive until the new rate hikes in May.  Go FC if it is less expensive.

Kate -
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2008
Posts: 534
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I looked and to send a book media mail is $2.38.  It's still more expensive than sending a book in an envelope first class, which for a 9oz book is $2.24.

Karen, you're looking at the wrong column. Whatever you wrap it in, usually a book is still a "package" because it's not flat/thin enough. Up to 9 ounce package is $2.58. Hope this helps: http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/Notice123.htm Look at the "package" column :)

Edited because I can't seem to finish a thought before posting!



Last Edited on: 8/20/09 7:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Those bubble mailer and thick envelopes count as a package not an envelope. By envelope they mean a flat document mailer type envelope.

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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It's not very intuitive. Even books that fit into bubble mailers and envelopes have to be shipped with the parcel rate because of the Postal definition of what a is "flat" (that qualifies for the cheaper rate). Nicely explained in this PBS Help Doc

 

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/29/2009
Posts: 22
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Since I have a post office around the corner, I always take it in and pay at the counter. I have found that about half of the time PBS is always higher postage. I once sent a book for $1.90 and PBS said it it would cost $2.38.

Blessings,

Jackie

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2007
Posts: 442
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So basically,, an envelope with a book in it is not an envelope.

Oops.  I have sent out at least half a dozen books with first rate envelope postage on them.  All but one have made it to their proper destination.  (The one that hasn't was just sent out a few days ago and may not have had a chance to arrive yet. ) 

Looks like I got real lucky.  I'm not gonna push it and will make sure I put the proper postage on from now on.

Thanks everyone for helping me understand what I was doing wrong.

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Karen, I made that same mistake at first and everything arrived okay. It is risky though, because the "envelopes" are supposed to be flexible and might get sent through some kind of machine that could bend the books.

My husband also got confused and mailed a CD that way, and that got returned.

Subject: Here's a note...
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 207
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Packing envelopes under 15" can be mailed first class as a large envelope at a reduced rate. If your enveloped are 'something' by 15, just fold a little bit more over to make sure it is under 15" and it will go cheaper if under 13 oz. Just found this out.

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,471
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From the USPS postal chart:

a flat (large envelope) is:

minimum                         maximum

length 11-1/2 inches         15 inches
height 6-1/8 inches           12 inches
thickness 1/4 inch             3/4 inch

Notice the thickness requirement.

Had a hard time getting the PDF edited for spacing.



Last Edited on: 8/20/09 10:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 29
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I was at the post office the other day and my clerk told me that if you can bend the "envelope"  over the edge of the counter a little it can be sent with the large envelope rate.  If it doesn't bend at all she said it is a parcel. 

I have found many times that the PBS rate is off, and the clerks at my post office always find the cheapest method for me. 

Kathy

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,471
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The PBS settings always round up.  It is often higher than the weighted price.  A scale is a great help.  And check the page before printing. .  MMPS are now showing up as 8 oz because of the oversized ones.  Most are under that weight.

Date Posted: 8/20/2009 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,200
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you can bend the "envelope"  over the edge of the counter a little it can be sent with the large envelope rate. 

Keep in mind that sending a book this way will send the book through a machine that does that bending. If the book is over 3/4 of an inch and only slightly flexible, there is a high risk of the book not making it through the machine. Envelope mail is cheaper because it can be machined. Trying to send a MMP through that increased your risk of lost and damaged books.

Also, note the minimums on large envelope rates Emily posted, the book must be larger than 11.5 X 6.125. Not even a trade size paperback will meet these measurements at 5X8, no MMP are large enough, and HC will be too thick.