Help Center - Do I have to mail from a post office?

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It depends on the weight of your package, and if you use stamps for postage. Note that if you use PBS Printed Postage, the USPS's "13-ounce rule" does not apply.

  • If your package weighs 13 ounces or less (many paperbacks):
    • you can mail your books straight from home, even if you use stamps: place the required amount of postage on the wrapper and pop the book in your outgoing mailbox. There is no need to waste time or energy driving to the Post office.
    • You can also mail these packages from a blue mailbox or other mail collection point.
  • If your package is over 13 ounces (typical hardcovers or multiple-book shipments) and you use stamps for postage:
    • USPS National Security regulations require that the package be physically handed to a postal employee, and this generally means that you would need to take it to the post office. 
    • You can also hand it to your mail carrier, if your mail carrier agrees to this.
    • Packages weighing over 13 ounces that bear stamps for postage will be returned to the sender.
    • If you are uncertain whether your book as wrapped weighs more or less than 13 ounces, the PO is the surest way to mail it.  You can also get a postal scale to use at home.
  • If you use PBS Printable Postage (or other printed or metered postage):
  • The 13-ounce regulation does NOT apply; you can mail from your outgoing mailbox or a blue mailbox or a USPS collection point at work.

These regulations regarding stamped packages over a certain weight are designed to prevent untraceable packages that could contain dangerous material from being sent via USPS.  They were originally put into place after the Unabomber sent bombs through the US Mail, and they have been refined several times since then.  The weight limit was changed from 16 ounces to 13 ounces on July 30, 2007.


Related links:

step-by-step directions on how to wrap a book in only minutes!
How to Print the PBS Wrapper
How to wrap a Mass-Market Paperback book
How much does it cost to mail a book?
How to send a book
Is the postage amount shown on the PBS wrapper always correct?
The postage on my wrapper is/was wrong!
Does the postage print out on the wrapper?
I forgot the postage!
Using an APC for mailing books