Discussion Forums - USPS Postal Regulations USPS Postal Regulations

Topic: I need to vent about the USPS and Media Mail

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: I need to vent about the USPS and Media Mail
Date Posted: 7/3/2014 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2012
Posts: 10
Back To Top

I went to my local PO today to mail a book out (which I have been doing for years) and the clerk said I could not send it media mail as it had to be educational material.  I argued with her, got another clerk involved and they reluctantly agreed to send my book media mail. 

I asked to see a supervisor since I don’t want this to happen every time I go in there from now on.  The supervisor wasn’t sure if I could send a novel media mail and said he’d find out and call me.  He started filling out a form (a form, to answer a question???) and I asked for manager and he said he was it. 

The first clerk came over with a page about media mail that said it was a great way to send educational material.  It also listed the things allowed and it said books over 8 pages.  But she kept insisting it had to be educational.  It also listed DVDs and a few other things that are not necessarily educational and our conversation got louder.  Finally the supervisor went and found a manager and asked the question.  (He was just trying to stall me with the form and claiming he was the only manager around.) He clearly said that paperback novels were considered media mail. The supervisor and the first clerk were shocked.

I get home and try to find the info on the USPS website about what is allowed with media mail.  I found these 2 pages

https://www.usps.com/ship/media-mail.htm

under rules and restrictions it clearly says

“The material sent must be educational media”

Then I click the link for additional info and I get this

http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/173.htm#1113509

which doesn’t say anything about educational stuff.

Boy, am I confused. If we are allowed to send novels via media mail , why does the website say it must be educational???  IF we aren’t allowed, we are all in a mess.

Anyone on these boards work at USPS and know the real, true info????  And where to find it on the USPS website?

I tried calling the USPS customer service and when I finally got thru the clerk also agreed novels were OK and she asked what else she could do and I told her to make sure all the counter clerks knew that and she basically told me to tell them myself.

Date Posted: 7/3/2014 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
Back To Top

Here's a link for you, and it does NOT have to be educational material:

http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/273.htm#1062323

Date Posted: 7/3/2014 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 695
Back To Top

The DMM (Domestic Mail Manual) has the actual requirements for Media Mail. 

Your first link appears to be aimed at people who are sending educational material.

There is probably a link somewhere that says Standard Mail is a cost-effective way to advertise pizza.    That doesn't mean that's the only way you can use Standard Mail.

 

Your second link, 4.0, is the actual DMM standards for Media Mail, it's what the USPS is supposed to go by, and someone needs to educate those clerks.

This may help:

Go to pe.usps.gov.

Click on the link near the bottom of the blue left hand column, Contact Us.

On the page that opens, click on the link for Business Mail Entry Office.

Put in your Zip Code.

Call that phone number, tell them your problem, tell them you tried to resolve it with your local post office, but they were unresponsive.  Ask for them to be trained as to what is acceptable as Media Mail.

Rubber boots and toaster ovens, no.  Books consisting of 8 or more printed pages (no matter if they are educational or "only" fiction.

Date Posted: 7/4/2014 12:08 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
Back To Top

yesDiane yes

Bound printed matter over 8 pages. Content doesn't matter, only the format.   Pre-recorded CD's and DVD's are OK...no home recordings, no blank books, no calenders, no photo albums, no software, no comics/magazines/advertising, etc. 

Date Posted: 7/4/2014 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
Back To Top

Ok, Diane, I've been playing around with the site, and that is THE main Media Mail page. There was another page(in the calculate postage part) that said only "certain books" qualified. I think this may be a case where they are in the process of changing the rules without telling the workers. This is gonna SUCK!! if it's true.

Date Posted: 7/4/2014 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
Back To Top

Content Standards for Media Mail

4.1Qualified Items

Only these items may be mailed at the Media Mail prices:

a.Books, including books issued to supplement other books, of at least eightprinted pages, consisting wholly of reading matter or scholarly bibliography, or reading matter with incidental blank spaces for notations and containing no advertising matter other than incidental announcements of books. Advertising includes paid advertising and the publishers' own advertising in display, classified, or editorial style.

I believe novels consist "wholly of reading matter".

Date Posted: 7/5/2014 6:25 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 695
Back To Top

Changing the rules without telling the workers?  Seems to me like the workers were changing the rules without anyone telling them.

 

Anyway, the DMM is "the main Media Mail page" and what they are supposed to go by.  They can't change how they handle MM unless and until they change the DMM.

Date Posted: 7/5/2014 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
Back To Top

Had a thought last night that maybe they were thinking of Library Mail which is another lower rate that can be used between libraries, museums etc only.



Last Edited on: 7/5/14 5:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/6/2014 2:13 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
Back To Top

I agree Theresa, some of the confusion over Media Mail comes from crossing wires with Library Rate.

Amy N. (nanaamy) - ,
Date Posted: 7/6/2014 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/16/2010
Posts: 871
Back To Top

I've started printing my postage for media mail and popping in the mailbox for carrier to pick up. I had been taking my books out to the PO but get one person who wants to send books priority, when first class would be okay. Then the newer counter person advised me print my own postage and they can be picked up or just drop off at PO slots.

Date Posted: 7/6/2014 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
Back To Top

Amy that's true for small packages under 13 ounces but packages/books 13 oz or more which many hardcovers are have to be presented at the counter even when you put your own postage on in advance as I do.



Last Edited on: 7/6/14 9:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/7/2014 12:24 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 695
Back To Top

Not for printable postage - only for packages over 13 ounces with STAMPS ONLY used to pay the postage.  That's what it says on the label on the collection box.

Scott (scalta) - ,
Date Posted: 7/7/2014 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2010
Posts: 723
Back To Top
Printable postage does NOT need to be presented at the PO. Packages with printed postage may be placed in a blue box, mailed from home or from the post office. Yes, even those over 13oz.
Date Posted: 7/10/2014 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2012
Posts: 10
Back To Top

Thanks for all the info.  Hopefully I won't have the problem again but I may print that page if I have to and take it with me EVERY TIME I need to send a book.

Date Posted: 7/17/2014 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2005
Posts: 1,597
Back To Top


Last Edited on: 2/7/15 7:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/24/2014 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
Back To Top

Theresa, the 13 oz rule does not apply to printable postage...or any postage considered 'trackable' if there's a homeland security investigation.  so basically, the 13 oz rule only applies to packages bearing stamps b/c almost everything else is 'trackable' these days.
 

Date Posted: 7/25/2014 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 537
Back To Top

How the heck do you steal out of a blue box? You would need to have the longest arms ever, or some kind of implement to reach down through the opening and grab things, and surely that would be noticed. Just curious.

Date Posted: 7/25/2014 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
Back To Top

Unfortunately Laura, criminals are rather creative that way.  They might cobble together a tool to reach inside, but more likely just take a crow-bar to the lock on the access door or hit it with a car until it tears open.  Even our safe little suburb PO has had issues with their blue boxes (including the one in front of the branch office) and have removed the damaged ones without replacement.

Date Posted: 7/28/2014 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 537
Back To Top

I see; more of a smash and grab. That seems like a lot of work to possibly get nothing of particular value. Thanks for answering!

Date Posted: 7/29/2014 11:11 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
Back To Top

I guess that explains why my local PO doesn't have a blue box outside. Instead, they have the box flaps built into the walls inside the office. Always thought that was strange. Now it makes sense. 

Subject: Had same problem at post office, printing the reg's to bring with me now
Date Posted: 11/28/2014 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2007
Posts: 1
Back To Top

First, the whole thing about sending mail with lots of stamps on it only to have it returned - aggravating!  I've put it in my carrier's hands many times without incident.  In this most recent incident, it was returned to me with all the ($3.50) postage cancelled.  

Well, I brought it in as noted on the sticker it was returned with, mainly because I wanted to make sure it would be sent without additional postage required.  Then, the employee there told me it had to be educ. material in order to qualify - specifically saying that if it's just reading fa novel it doesn't count.  Whatever - I got her to mail it anyway.

So, I came here to check what PBS has to say about it, read the link they provide in Help files, copied the Qualified Items (only one of which is educ. material - the first item A) has the first word "BOOKS."  The end.  

(If you're really cautious, the sentence continues: "Books, including books issued to supplement other books, of at least eight printed pages, consisting wholly of reading matter")  I can't imagine it could be more plain, or straight forward, than that.  

Like I said, I've copy pasted and printed the Qualified Items section and included the link on my paper : http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/173.htm#1113509  .   and will bring it in any other time I need to go to the P.O. for hand-delivering heavier books.  BTW, just to be prepared, in case the employee tries to argue that this is an old page or old information, the link is clearly the same one used over time because it is updated.  In any case, USPS is web saavy enough to delete old pages with info that's no longer relevant, so that you go to a link and there's nothing there now.  

OK, DONE and DONE.

Though, I am glad that I came on PBS to research this issue because I also learned about PBS now choosing the First Class Mail option for very light paperbacks, which saves a lot of money in some cases.  I've also copied the last postal rates PDF and found that my book called for even $.20 less than PBS printed on the wrapper.  HAPPY!

 

Date Posted: 11/29/2014 3:06 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
Back To Top

Here is a helpful chart: https://liteblue.usps.gov/news/link/2013/04apr/Media-Mail-Guidelines.htm

Subject: In person
Date Posted: 12/23/2014 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2014
Posts: 36
Back To Top

I just went in person to my local post office and said this is a book please mail it the cheapest way and although I haven't mailed many books out it was always sent regular mail as cheaper because media mail didn't save any money and aside from it taking much longer to deliver they are subject to being opened at random to make sure it is media that is being mailed. The clerk told me that media mail really only becomes cheaper if you are mailing a heavy textbook or multiple books but he said usually for just one regular paperback or hardcover it is either cheaper or the same price to just mail first class. He also said to mail heavier books in a flat rate priority mail envelope because that gives you free tracking and insurance whereas if you mail it media mail you either have to pay extra for those services or you don't get them. Not that I need proof of mailing but I get a receipt when I go to the local post office so I can show the date I was there mailing the book and what I paid for my own records.



Last Edited on: 12/23/14 8:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/24/2014 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 3,643
Back To Top

Media Mail is normally the cheapest to mail books unless it is under 6 or 7 ounces then first class is the cheapest. I'd never mail any books at the priority rate as media is just so much cheaper.

Date Posted: 1/5/2015 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
Back To Top

The clerk is correct, but tracking and insurance, while valuable things if you are selling stuff online, are not worth the expense on book trading websites where the books themselves usually have minimal value and no money is changing hands. 

Page: