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Topic: APC doesn't allow media mail?

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Subject: APC doesn't allow media mail?
Date Posted: 9/28/2007 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2007
Posts: 5
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I always stamped my PBS packages. Stamps are easy to have around and easily adjustable. Plus, I prefer to pay for things with cash, which is not possible with print-out postage. But using stamps has become difficult with the new 13 oz. regulation.

As I only go to a post office window in the most dire circumstances, I decided to try out the automated machine in my nearest post office for the first time this week. After spending about 10 minutes trying to get the thing to offer me a media mail option (Thank God no one was waiting!), I gave up and took the parcel post option. That means I overpaid several dollars on each package. None of the PBS-estimated postage was over $3.00, but none of the APC options was under $6.00.

The reason PBS is such a pleasure for me is the ease with which I can get the books to other members. Going to a postal counter at least once a week does not fit under that model in my book. Therefore, I plan to only post books that meet the 13 oz. rule and continue to use stamps. I'm disappointed in that; I enjoy offering any book in my collection to other readers.

Why is there not a media mail option on the APC machines? I know complaints here do nothing to change the rule, but can someone help me if I have misinterpreted the rule or misunderstood that darn machine?

Date Posted: 9/28/2007 2:13 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I've never used one, but from reading, there is a "general" stamp option. If you know your pkg is less than 1 lb, you buy a stamp for $2.13, if you know it is 1lb+1 oz, then you buy a stamp for $2.47. Also, there is a selection to get the stamp printed smaller rather than large, check for that too.

Here are the postal rates for media mail up to 5lbs, which at the APC you would just buy the general stamp:

  • Up to 1 pound....................................................$2.13
  • More than 1 pound, less than 2 pounds....... 2.47
  • More than 2 pounds, less than 3 pounds..... 2.81
  • More than 3 pounds, less than 4 pounds..... 3.15
  • More than 4 pounds, less than 5 pounds..... 3.49
  • More than 5 pounds, less than 6 pounds..... 3.83

Last Edited on: 9/28/07 2:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/28/2007 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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Sherry is correct - towards the bottom of the screen, there is a button that says something like "buy a stamp for a specific amount."  If you touch that, you can buy a stamp for $2.13 or 2.47.  I really like this because you can buy several at a time - I usually buy 10 and bring them home.  That way, I can stick one on a book when it is requested and drop it in a blue box, without having the hassle of going to the post office.

Date Posted: 9/28/2007 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2007
Posts: 465
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And don't forget to add the 18 cents if you're using PBS DC, right?

Date Posted: 9/28/2007 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 353
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Don't forget to add $.18 to those amounts for DC! I still have a bunch of $2.49 APC stamps which I love..

And if your book happens to be two pounds, instead of one, just add a $.17 stamp ($.17 because there are no $.16 stamps) on it and you're good. I used to have APC stamps for 1 lb and 2 lbs, until I figured that one out. As long as you've got that APC stamp on there you should be fine.

Date Posted: 9/28/2007 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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it is a bummer they don't have the media mail option but that is probably to prevent abuse.

If my book is over the 7oz (under 7oz it is cheaper to send via first class) I just buy a stamp in a different denomination and be done.  it is nice if I have several to buy at one time.  I have bought extra in the past but don't now because I never know what my book weighs and since the PO is by my house it is easier to just run up there and take care of it

Date Posted: 9/28/2007 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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The above advice is correct - the APC will sell you the trace-able postage but will not offer Media Mail assistance of any sort - you must know the Media Mail rates yourself (as per Sherry's chart). I always weigh the package first as though I'm going to be sending it First Class, and then exit that screen to buy the appropriate Media Mail postage itself.

As for an additional 16 cents (vs a 17 cent postage stamp). It is my understanding there's an option for (something like) "purchase additional postage" which can be under $1.00; buying APC stamps themselves has a $1.00 minimum denomination. Moreover, I believe that the "additional postage" can only be bought one transaction at a time, but I thought I'd bring it up in case anyone wants to try it.

I have had great luck with APC mailings - it is my belief that they usually are not "sorted out" of the rest of the packages in the bin, and are loaded in with First Class, arriving within a week.


Last Edited on: 9/28/07 7:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/28/2007 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 353
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WRT the $.17 stamps, I was referring to "regular" non-APC stamps. I ordered a sheet of them from the USPS store online and hence don't have to remember to get two different denominations of APC stamps.  I get a bunch of $2.49 APC stamps ($2.31 + $.18 DC), and if a package happens to go over a pound, I just add one of the $.17'ers (which covers the 1 lb to 2 lb rate increase). I used to get both $2.49 AND $2.65 APC stamps, but this is simpler and less $$ tied up in stamps that may take a while to get used.

Sorry if I confused anyone!

Last Edited on: 9/28/07 8:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/1/2007 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2007
Posts: 5
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Thanks so much! These details will be helpful next time I'm in front of that machine.
Date Posted: 10/1/2007 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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Just be sure you clearly mark the package MEDIA MAIL, otherwise the recipient stands a chance of having the package "upgraded" to First Class - along with the difference as postage due!

Date Posted: 10/1/2007 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2005
Posts: 884
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I find it easiest to keep a list in my wallet with the Media Mail rates--then I weigh each book to make sure the amount is correct, of if it can be sent 1st class (sometimes I have several stacks around the APC machine, then I'll select the option for stamps of specific amounts

Date Posted: 10/1/2007 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2006
Posts: 200
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How do you use the APC with a DC from PBS? 


Do you have to scan it or do they scan it when they get it in the back?

Date Posted: 10/1/2007 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2007
Posts: 2
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This is my first time using PBS and the APC stamps... I read mention of delivery confirmation for the extra $ .18 - is this something that is common when just mailing 1 book?  or usually used for more shipping more than 1 book? 

Any insight would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Date Posted: 10/1/2007 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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Jennifer G.--if you use APC postage with Delivery Confirmation, your book will not be scanned when mailing. It will only be scanned if it happens to pass through a processing facility with automated equipment on its way to its destination. So you may only have the one delivery scan.

Jennifer M.--when you use the APC for mailing and you're using PBS Delivery Confirmation, you'll add the extra $ .18 to the price of your media mail book. For example, I mailed a book this morning with a custom delivery confirmation from PBS. The media mail postage was $2.13 and I added the extra $ .18, bringing the APC postage to $2.31 and that's the 'stamp of a different value' I requested from the APC machine. And that would be for one book.

Date Posted: 10/8/2007 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2007
Posts: 6
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Thanks everyone.  I'm new to the club and this information is crucial.  (Quickly realized how time consuming the mailing part of this can be). Thanks to the person who went so far as to post the media mail rates.  Try to figure that out on the USPS website! 

Date Posted: 10/8/2007 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
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I think it is of value to realize that the gradations from 1 lb. to 2 lb. and per lb. thereafter is 34c.  So if you have some APC sticker/stamps for the 1 lb. rate and your package weighs more than that, you can add 2 of the 17c stamps and that will be just right.  I think you can then throw them in the APC bin.  Around here, especially on long weekends like the last oine, the APC bins get full and then the door won't open!!  Columbus day was never much of a holiday to me!!

Date Posted: 10/8/2007 7:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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Also, if you sometimes have books over 1 lb you can buy 34 cent APC stamps *AFTER* buying at least $1.00 of "other" postage first on a transaction. You just cannot buy .34's off-the-bat, unless you want to go to the Buy Additional Postage sub-section, and those (I believe) can only be purchased one at a time. I mention that as I could see an overzealous postal worker (incorrectly!) rejecting a $2.13 APC sticker plus 2 x.17 actual postage stamps (the "bad" kind) from the blue box (if the APC bin is jammed).

Last Edited on: 10/8/07 7:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1