How to Ship Media Mail

Three Parts:Determining Whether to Use Media MailPacking for Media Mail ShippingShipping Via Media Mail

Many people ship packages off everyday. However, many people don't know that you can ship packages off in another class besides first. This class is called Media Mail. Media mail is just that—a class where you can ship many of your media items (ex. CD's, books, cassettes, ect.) for lower prices than first class or priority mail.

Part 1
Determining Whether to Use Media Mail

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    Review the kinds of items the USPS lists as being eligible for Media Mail. The USPS lists the following types of media as eligible for Media Mail:[1]
    • Books that are at least 8 pages.
    • Sound recordings and video recordings, in the form of CDs and DVDs.
    • Play scripts and manuscripts for books, periodicals, and music.
    • Printed music (sheet music).
    • Computer-readable media such as CDs containing prerecorded information and guides, or scripts prepared solely for use with such media. This does not include video games
    • Sixteen millimeter or narrower width films.
    • Printed objective test materials and their accessories.
    • Printed educational reference charts.
    • Loose-leaf pages and their binders of medical information for doctors, hospitals, medical schools, and medical students.
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    Avoid trying to mail something Media Mail if it doesn't comply with USPS's "no advertisements" rule. Media Mail can't be used to send any media that contains advertisements. This rule is a little fuzzy, however, because incidental mentions of other media within a piece of media are considered okay, as long as it isn't a part of overt advertising for the purpose of selling the media mentioned.[2]
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    Review the other restrictions on what can be sent via Media Mail. Nothing over 70 pounds can be sent. Computer software and video games are not eligible. Some enclosures are allowed to be sent along with the media that fits in their content guidelines. For example you can include:[3]
    • Bills and invoices.
    • A brief personal note that introduces the media.
    • Instructions for the media's use.
    • Corrections to printed information in the media.

Part 2
Packing for Media Mail Shipping

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    Get an envelope or box for the item you're shipping. Envelops and boxes can be purchased at office supplies stores. The maximum dimensions for envelopes are 12 by 15 inches, and 3/4 inches thick. For boxes, the distance around the thickest part of the package plus the length of the package can't exceed 108 inches.[4]
    • Envelopes and boxes can also be purchased at most USPS locations.
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    Wrap your packages as usual. If the items you're mailing are small enough that they will shift around in the box you're using, get packing peanuts to fill the empty space. Packaging peanuts can be bought at office supply stores.[5]
    • You can also you newspaper to cushion items in boxes. Just make sure you test the box by shaking it gently to see if there's enough cushioning. There should be no items rattling around in the box.
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    Address the package correctly. Media Mail is addressed just as any other mail shipped with USPS is. Print the recipient address and the return address neatly and clearly with a pen.
    • The return address goes in the upper left corner of the envelope or top of the box. The recipient address goes in the middle.
    • In the upper right corner of the envelope or top of the box, you'll need to place a postage stamp. USPS's website has a tool for calculating and purchasing the correct postage.
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    Seal the package. Boxes should be sealed with two-inch packing tape, either brown or clear. Envelopes should be sealed as normal, with the tape included on the envelope flap.[6]

Part 3
Shipping Via Media Mail

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    Go to your nearest post office. You can find USPS post offices near you with an online search. Bring your package with you and head to a local USPS post office.
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    Ask how much media mail is for your package. It will vary between items. In some cases, it'll be better to just ship your package via priority mail, especially if it is under 9 ounces. The worker at the post office will weigh your package and determine the cost for you.[7]
    • Media Mail shipping starts at $2.72 and goes up $0.50 for each pound over one, up to 37.22 for a 70 pound package.
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    Ship your package. If you do decide to ship it via Media Mail, the cashier will stick a label on the package. You then have the option to add additional services, such mailing certification and insurance.
    • Certified mailing means that you will receive evidence that you mailed what you did when you did it.
    • Media Mail includes USPS tracking, so that you can know when the estimated delivery date and time will be.
    • The cost of insuring your mail depends on the value of the item or items inside, and it can be insured up to $5000.


  • Make sure to wrap your packages well. Media mail is not as comfortable as first-class mail, so packages will, more often that not, be jumbled and tossed around.
  • Weigh the pros and cons. If your package needs to be there quickly, you should probably send it first-class. If it's something that's not really needed right away, you can send it Media Mail. Media Mail isn't guaranteed to arrive by any specific date, and is estimated to take two to eight days.[8]


  • Be aware that Media Mail is not "closed to inspection." This means that the USPS can inspect the contents of your mail to make sure you are only sending eligible media.[9]

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Categories: Visual & Written Media