Direct Mail

USPS Media Mail Rates

By 15 October 2023April 15th, 2024No Comments
usps media mail for education

How To Use USPS Media Mail Rates To Save Money For Your Business?

Do you remember the story of Jack and the magic beans? Jack ends up trading his family cow for a couple of magic beans in the story. Even though Jack ends up fighting a giant and winning, one can't help but wonder what if it did not have a happy ending. 

usps priority mail

If you are new to direct mail, you may receive different opinions on USPS Media Mail for business communication. Some believe Media Mail is the magic bean leading you to the ultimate treasure. 

Many businesses think this because Media Mail rates are one of the cheapest postal mail services from USPS. But does the Media Mail lead to one of the lowest shipping prices you can find? Or are there limitations to this service? 

Below, we discuss the USPS Media Mail and its role in business marketing and communication. Also, we will review the affordability of the Media Mail service and how to implement cost-efficient business communication for your company.

What is Media Mail?

Media Mail is an absolute favorite for marketers and business owners among the numerous USPS services available today. The reason why USPS Media Mail is such a popular marketing and communication medium is its low cost.

In other words, USPS Media Mail is a low-cost postal service that lets you send physical media within the US. The keyword here is “physical media” because it means you can only send some (physical media) items using this USPS service.

And no, you can not slyly slip another non-physical media item into the envelope. USPS does not allow you to put in any other items in the USPS Media Mail, even if your mali's main item is a media item.

USPS makes it a point to ensure that no one misuses the low Media Mail rates by using it for sending non-media items. You can infer two things from this. One is that Media Mail has a significantly low mailing rate. And the other is that USPS closely monitors its Media Mail services.

But What Are the Physical Media That You Can Send Using Media Mail?

According to USPS, physical media can be anything that contains media information stored in a physical medium. The contents of the physical media can include the following

  • Books
  • Video recordings
  • Sound recordings
  • Printed music
  • Computer-readable media (CDS and DVDs)

How Much Does Media Mail Cost?

You know Media Mail costs considerably lower than most other USPS mailing services. So, you are probably wondering how much is Media Mail going to cost you. Before we talk numbers, you should know that the cost of Media Mail depends on the mailer's weight.

The following table gives you a general idea of the Media Mail rates depending on the weight of the package.

Maximum Weight (lb) Media Mail Rate
1 $3.19
10 $8.86
20 $15.16
30 $21.46
40 $27.76
50 $34.06
60 $40.36
70 $46.66

A crucial thing to note about the maximum weight bracket of Media Mail is that the actual weight should be slightly underweight. In other words, ensure that the weight of your Media Mail never exceeds the weight band. If it does, you may have to pay a higher Media Mail rate and lose the advantage of lower mailing costs.

But, How Affordable Are Media Mail Rates Compared To Other Services?

The most significant selling point for USPS Media Mail is that it offers a significantly lower mailing cost than other postal services. But how cheap is it? Let's say, for instance, that you are sending a seventy-pound package using Priority Mail. In that case, you will at least have to pay $50.45 for the mailing.

That's just the minimum price we are talking about and only when you are sending the package to a local address. If you send the mail much further from your location, the Priority Mail price can go as high as $364.85! Now, compare that to the measly $46.66 Media Mail rate for a seventy-pound package.

Of course, here we are not taking into account the incredible speed of delivery of Priority Mail. Then again, it is not fair to compare the two USPS services. Because Priority Mail is like The Flash among postal services, USPS Media Mail can hardly keep up with that. But on the bright side, most companies are more concerned with the cost of mailing than speed.

Furthermore, you can always speed up your business mailing process using a robust direct mail automation solution. Advanced software solutions like PostGrid have a scheduling feature that lets you automatically send mail at pre-decided timing.

Even if we compare the Media Mail rates with more affordable USPS services like First-Class Mail, it is still cheaper. USPS's First-Class Mail costs around $4.50 to send a one-pound mailer to zone 1 and 2.

Hence, it is no wonder that every business organization wants to use Media Mail for marketing and communication needs. Our only advice is that you accurately follow the USPS guidelines for your mailers to ensure you get Media Mail rates for them.

Flat Rate Charges

It is also worth noting that Media Mail has flat rate charges. Therefore, you can send the Media Mail regardless of where you want to send the mail in the US. As you can guess, the USPS Media Mail flat rates make it significantly cheaper than other postal mailing services. 

Since Media Mail offers flat-rate charges, you don't have to worry about sending the mail to far-away destinations. It is no wonder why college students often use the Media Mail service for shipping books. Similarly, educational institutions can also send educational materials, including books using USPS Media Mail. PostGrid for education even offers specialized services to educational institutions.

Furthermore, PostGrid's direct mail solution is not merely limited to sending books via Media Mail. Educational institutions can use the same system for sending a variety of communication and marketing materials, such as

  • Student Reports
  • Acceptance Letters
  • Class Schedules
  • Certificates And Accolades
  • Invoices and Receipts
  • Thank You Cards
  • Event Invites
  • Annual Reports
  • And More.

What Are The Items You Can Send Through USPS Media Mail?

Diversity is not a strong suit for USPS Media Mail, which is not surprising either. The postal service provider does not allow you to send anything you want using Media Mail. Hence, you must understand the items you can send using Media Mail and the things you can't send using it.

Here is a list of items you can send using the Media Mail service from USPS.

  • Films (16 mm width or narrower)
  • Books with at least eight pages
  • Binders
  • Educational charts
  • Printed test materials
  • Printed music
  • Video and sound recordings
  • Medical loose-leaf pages
  • Computer-readable media
  • Manuscripts
  • Playscripts

Before you start planning your direct mail campaign based on the list above, there is one more thing that you need to know. There are some exclusions or exceptions to the items in the list above. For instance, Media Mail rates do not apply to your mail if you are sending digital drives or video games. Even if the video game you send is educational, USPS can disqualify your mail.

And as we stated before, you can not send a Media Mail with another item inside the envelope. Every article or content you include in the USPS Media Mail must fall within the list of things we discussed earlier. So, suppose you want to have a keychain (or something else) inside the Media Mail envelope; forget about it.

Even including a bookmark/card/note in the USPS Media Mail could lead to some unwanted issues with the service provider. But luckily, there are some exceptions to what you can include in your mailer. You can have a note in your mailer as long as it is strictly in coherence with your Media Mail items.

For instance, you can include the bills and invoices within the Media Mail of the item you are sending. Similarly, you can also have instructions on assembling or using an item you ship via USPS Media Mail. You can also include notes that offer corrections to whatever printed material you send via Media Mail.

However, suppose you decide to include a personal note. In that case, that can go against the USPS standards and lead to unnecessary complications. Hence, it is always best to consult with USPS before including something extra in your USPS Media Mail.

What Happens If You Include Non-Specified Items In USPS Media Mail?

At this point, you know Media Mail does not allow you to include anything unrelated to Media Mail items. But what happens if you ignore this and use Media Mail to send marketing materials like brochures? Can you get away with it and send your mailer at low Media Mail rates for your business communication?

Package Search Consent

Before you start to entertain any bright ideas about pulling a sting using USPS Media Mail, consider this. Every person or business organization has to sign a consent form that gives USPS the authority to search your mail at any point in its journey.

In other words, USPS is free to check your mail for unauthorized content or items inside your Media Mail whenever they want. The inspection may not happen when you send USPS Media Mail for your business. However, it is always possible, and we would never advise you to include unauthorized items in your Media Mail.

Mail Fraud Charges

Let's say someone intentionally includes an extra item in their USPS Media Mail, hoping to bypass USPS's security checks. In this case, if USPS discovers that the customer intentionally had the additional article, USPS may charge them with mail fraud.

Of course, the mail fraud charge comes with a fine. And the worst-case scenario even risks imprisonment for the sender. Now, you can see why we do not advise you to include unauthorized items in your mail to access lower Media Mail rates.

Back Charge of Mail

In most cases, USPS does not move legally against mail fraud involving USPS Media Mail, at least against first-time offenders. Instead, USPS is likely to back-charge the mailer. Even worse, USPS typically charges Priority Mail rates for the return journey.

As you can imagine, the Priority Mail rates can add up to a considerable amount, especially for bulk or heavy mail. Hence, we advise you to never go after the lower Media Mail costs unless you actually want to send media items.

When the mail finally reaches the recipient, they must pay the difference. USPS holds the package or mail until someone settles the remaining amount. So, make it a point to double-check the eligibility of the items you send via USPS Media Mail to your customers.

An eligible USPS Media Mail as the direct mail content does not make it okay to add non-eligible items. Remember that even including small things like keychains or candies could jeopardize your Media Mail.

How Long Does It Take To Deliver USPS Media Mail?

Medial mail is one of your business organization's most-affordable postal service options. As you can imagine, the affordable mailing charges do not have scope for super fast mail delivery services like Priority Mail. However, considering the Media Mail pricing, most USPS customers admit that the service is quite fast.

Usually, the USPS Media Mail service takes anywhere between two to eight business days to reach its destination. But unlike premium postal services like Priority Mail, USPS does not provide any guarantee for Media Mail delivery. Therefore, you don't have the right to request a refund if USPS takes longer than usual to deliver your Media Mail.

Of course, you could always take an educated guess at the delivery time, considering the distance your mailer has to travel. Using PostGrid's advanced direct mail automation tool is even better. It allows you to keep track of your mailing history which you can use to get an estimate of USPS Media Mail delivery.

Tracking Your USPS Media Mail

Another substantial advantage of USPS Media Mail is that it is trackable. It means you can calculate when USPS will likely deliver your Media Mail, considering its travel distance. It also lets you see how much journey remains for the Media Mail to reach its destination.

The tracking process for your USPS Media Mail is quite simple. All you have to do is go to the tracking page on the USPS website. Use the tracking number you get when mailing your business letter to track its whereabouts.

Just ensure you don't lose the tracking number and keep it safe. Without the tracking number, there is not much you can do regarding USPS Media Mail tracking. And the only way you can track the mail is when it arrives at its destination.

On the bright side, USPS does not charge you for tracking your Media Mail since 2015. Before that, people had to pay $1.50 to add the tracking capability to their mailers. Hence, in a way, you now have much lower Media Mail costs today.

Can You Send USPS Media Mail Internationally?

You cannot send USPS Media Mail internationally despite its numerous advantages and applications in business communication. Unfortunately, Media Mail is a domestic-only service, and you can't ship media items internationally at the exact cost.

However, the service is available for all 50 US states. Hence, you can easily send media items anywhere in the world for cheap, thanks to Media Mail cost, which comes at a flat rate. But to send identical mail outside the country, you need to choose a different USPS service.

It is often disheartening for businesses to find out that they cannot use Media Mail to send mail cheaply and conveniently. Therefore, if your business organization mainly deals with clients from abroad, USPS Media Mail is not the best choice for you.

Dimensional Requirements For USPS Media Mail

As with any other USPS mailing service, Media Mail also must meet the size and weight requirements of USPS. But the funny thing about Media Mail rates is that even if you are willing to pay additional money, the size/weight requirement doesn't change.

Your only option is to split your package into two or more parts to meet the USPS weight limit. Of course, breaking your Media Mail into pieces would require you to pay a separate Media Mail price for your mailers.

Technically, the maximum weight USPS allows for your Media Mail is 70 lbs. However, you may have to pay a surcharge in case the physical weight of the package exceeds 25 pounds. In terms of size, your USPS Media Mail can have108 inches when you combine the length and girth of your mailer.

You must ensure that the package falls within these values or dimensions. If not, you risk delaying your mail delivery and disrupting your communication process.

Is It Possible To Send Marketing Materials Using USPS Media Mail?

Marketers always jump at any chance to execute their marketing efforts more cost-effectively. So, what would happen if you use USPS Media Mail for sending a business's marketing material?

Before you get your hopes high, let us tell you that you can not send marketing or advertising mail via Media Mail. In other words, you cannot access the advantage of Media Mail rates for your marketing campaigns.

How To Send Marketing Materials Cost-Efficiently Without Media Mail Rates?

Just because you can't use Media Mail rates for sending your marketing materials does not mean there is no other option for you. There are several different ways for you to send marketing materials to your audience without Media Mail. The best option, however, is to use a direct mail automation tool like PostGrid.

Direct Mail Automation

Automation is your answer if you are looking for a cost-efficient way to send your business mailer that can match the Media Mail rates. PostGrid's direct mail automation saves you money by optimizing your postal mailing process. We often have clients come to us and ask how we can minimize their direct mail marketing expenses so well. And the answer our experts give them goes something like this.

“Automation ensures the optimal use of all your resources, including time. Did you ever stop to consider how much money you could save by eliminating the waste of raw materials like ink and paper? 

But that's not all. PostGrid also enables you to access bulk mail discounts from the US PS. On top of that, we offer flexible and affordable direct mail solutions suitable for your unique business needs. 

You can also use our address verification API to maximize the deliverability of your marketing mail. Doing all this contributes significantly to your business's overall ROI.”

We recently helped a client in the healthcare industry optimize their postal mail communication. Integrating PostGrid's direct mail API made it possible for the client to send out 10,000 personalized mailings monthly!

Conclusion

Media Mail is an excellent way for your business organization to send media items like books, CDs, etc., to the target audience. However, Media Mail has a lot of limitations too. The low Media Mail rates may seem perfect for sending your marketing materials. Still, in reality, you can only send media items via Media mail.

Your best bet is to go for a direct mail automation solution like PostGrid for sending your marketing mailers cost-effectively. The automation solution optimizes your business's mailing process, saving you valuable time and money. 

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