How to Ship Books Cheaply

How to Ship Books CheaplyThere are plenty of ways to save on shipping, from packing properly (the more compact the package, the cheaper it is to ship) to printing shipping labels yourself in order to get a shipping discount, and some of these ways are item-specific. For example, books can be mailed more cheaply than most other items – of course, if you know some tricks. How to ship books cheaply?

If you’re shipping books within the United States, the cheapest way to mail them is USPS Media Mail. Formerly known as book rate shipping, USPS Media Mail is specifically designed to ship media and educational materials, including books that are at least 8 pages long. However, there are some things you need to now before you decide to ship books via Media Mail.

For example, USPS Media Mail can be used to ship regular books, but not most comic books. The reason for that is media sent by Media Mail must not contain advertising, except for incidental announcements of other books in books. Most comics published in the United States contain ads, which makes them ineligible for Media Mail. However, graphic novels that contain no ads except for announcements of other graphic novels are okay.

Another thing you should now is that it is prohibited to ship ineligible items in the same package as media materials, so if you need to ship books and non-media items, you should mail them in separate packages. If you’re set on shipping books together with non-media items, you should use another shipping service, such as USPS Ground Advantage or Priority Mail, or another shipping carrier.

“But how are USPS employees going to know that my package contains advertising or non-media items,” you may ask. The answer is simple: unlike other package types, Media Mail shipments are subject to random inspections. If your package fails a random spot check, it will get returned to you, or the shipment will be reclassified as Priority Mail, and the recipient will have to pay the difference between media rate and the final rate. Please don’t treat these rules lightly: a possible outcome for someone shipping non-media items via Media Mail is being charged with mail fraud.

If you have a single paperback book to mail, you may save on postage even more by shipping it in a padded envelope rather than in a box (you can slide a piece of cardboard into the envelope for some extra protection). However, you should keep in mind that Media Mail envelopes must be no more than 12 x 15 inches large and ¾ inch thick. If your book is larger or thicker than that, you will have to ship it in a box.

The main drawbacks of USPS Media Mail are that delivery takes longer than other affordable services like First-Class Mail or Ground Advantage and that the service does not include insurance coverage. So if you need to ship expensive or irreplaceable books, you will have to purchase additional insurance or choose a shipping service that includes coverage.

Sadly, USPS Media Mail is a domestic service, so if you need to ship books cheaply overseas, it is not an option. In this case, we recommend that you use a shipping calculator to compare the options available to you and choose the most affordable one. Again, you might be able to save on shipping if you ship books in a padded envelope instead of a box (as long as they fit inside), but keep in mind that an envelope may not offer sufficient protection from the elements and external impacts.

So, let’s sum everything up. The cheapest way to ship books domestically is USPS Media Mail, but it has certain restrictions and drawbacks, such as long delivery time and a lack of insurance coverage. International shipping does not have special media rates; if you want to ship books overseas for cheap, you should compare your options with the help of a shipping calculator. Tricks like printing shipping labels yourself may also help you save on shipping: most label printing services offer shipping discounts.