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Help Center - How much does it cost to mail a book?

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Postage is determined by package weight.  A typical paperback (weighing up to one pound) costs $3.49 to send by MediaMail postal rate. A heavier book (a large hardcover, for example) weighing between 1 and 2 pounds will cost $4.16 to send by Media mail.

Media Mail does not depend on distance--it will cost the same to send a package to any address served by USPS (including AK, HI, PR, GU, US Virgin Islands and APO/FPO/DPO addresses)* using either Media Mail.

Note: this used to be true for First Class package mail up to 13 ounces, but it is not true anymore. First Class package mail varies by origin and destination ZIP code as of 1/27/2019.

Media Mail rate is the least expensive rate at which to send books. If you print the PaperBackSwap wrapper, "MEDIA MAIL" will print automatically. If you hand-write your package address, be sure to write "MEDIA MAIL" on it if you want to use that rate (which is much less expensive than the default First Class) -- please note, your Post Office counter employee will not offer you Media Mail rate spontaneously; you have to specify it by marking the package. 

Important facts about Media Mail:

  • It does not include forwarding service
  • It does not include return service

These two things mean that if you provide the wrong address to a sender, the package may be returned postage due to the sender or may be forwarded to your current address postage due. This is why it is so important (it is in our Terms of Use) for each member to keep the mailing address up to date in the Account Settings, and to provide a correct and current, deliverable mailing address to senders with every request.

*There is an exception for members who live in the Federated States of Micronesia - those members will NOT be able to use Media Mail to mail OUT books. They will be able to accept books mailed with Media Mail rate.  Media Mail cannot be used to mail FROM the FSM, but it can be used to mail TO the FSM,  Members who participate from the FSM will be ably to mail only with First Class or Priority Mail.

If you choose to print your postage (by choosing the "postage" option on the Wrapper Settings page while printing), you'll need to check the estimated weight of the package (adjust it if necessary) before printing, and the correct postage will print out, right from your printer.

  • Everything (55-cent PBS printing fee + postage) will be deducted from your PBS Money.
    • An itemized list of costs will appear on the Wrapper Settings page before you print.
    • A confirming box will show after you select Print Wrapper Now, to confirm package weight and postage
  • You can mail the package with Printed Postage from any mailbox or dropbox - since the postage is "trackable" you do not have to mail from a US Post Office counter.
    • note: some USPS blue mailboxes have had their drop slots narrowed since October 2019, to exclude packages thicker than 1/2 inch -- if your package is thicker than 1/2 inch and the blue mailbox slot is too narrow, you can drop your Printed Postage-prepaid package in other USPS dropboxes, or in designated locations in mailrooms and Post Offices and some package-and-mail stores.
  • Using PBS Printed Postage will also earn a free swap fee ("Free Swap") - so that (if you are an A la Carte Member or a Limited Member who has used all her free swap fees) you will be able to request your next book without paying the 49-cent Swap Fee.

If you choose to use no added services, you need apply only the correct postage to your package.

Remember that packages weighing more than 10 ounces (and/or thicker than half an inch) that bear STAMPS for postage will need to be taken to the Post Office and mailed by being handed to a USPS employee, due to USPS National Security regulations.  This regulation does NOT apply to PBS Printed postage or any other metered or printed postage.

Related items:

Media Mail regulations
Print: Current Postal Rates
What materials can be sent by Media Mail postal rate?
Do I have to mail from a post office?
I forgot the postage!
Is it OK to reuse uncanceled postage stamps?
What is PBS Money?
Is the postage amount shown on the PBS wrapper always correct?
Does the postage print out on the wrapper?
The postage on my wrapper is/was wrong!
I received a book postage-due!
Can I use First-Class 'Large Envelope' Rate to send my book?
Using an APC for mailing books

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