What is USPS Media Mail?

The U.S. Postal Service has different classes and provisions for different packages. Most time, packages are received for delivery based on the exact form it appears. 

A further subgroup also exists for these packages. So it is pertinent for us to understand them and use them appropriately. One of these package services provided by USPS is Media Mail.

What is Media Mail, and what exactly qualifies to be mailed in the media category?

We will answer these questions one after the other.

What is Media Mail?

For a package to be considered Media Mail with the U.S. Postal Service, It Must Contain Media Only.

This statement implies that a Blank Compact Disc you just purchased, for example, does not qualify as Media Mail. Why? Because it is blank and does not contain any media.

You may be tempted to think that since books and documents, magazines, and even newspapers contain media, they can be mailed as such. 

I’m afraid that’s not right because the U.S. postal service policy demands that any media package containing an advertisement cannot be mailed as Media.

According to USPS, Media Mail is a cost-effective way to mail media and educational items. However, there are restrictions regarding the kind of media that can be sent, and it will cost you around $3.49 at a Post Office.

Also, USPS Media Mail is subject to inspection

Suppose a Media Mail package contains items that do not qualify. In that case, the package is rated up Postage Due at the Priority Mail rate and collected from the recipient. If the recipient does not pay, it will be collected from the sender when the package is returned.

What Package Qualifies as Media Mail?

Below is a little list of available items that qualify as Media Mail. I can’t even cover it all. You may need to consult your local post office if you have an item not mentioned here in this list. 

Let’s get down to business.

  1. Printed music in whatever form (sheets or in bounded )
  2. Media meant to be read by computers (can be stored on floppy disk, hard disk, memory cards, diskettes)
  3. Sound and video recordings 
  4. Books that must not be less than eight pages. If yours is less, then it won’t qualify as Media Mail.
  5. Printed Media
  6. Medical loose-leaf pages and Binders
  7. 16 millimeter or films with narrower widths.

What is Not Allowed in Media Mail?

Normally, the postal service inspects mails before they are sent. 

If during or after inspection, it is discovered that your item does not qualify for media mail, it is released at the right rate and then sent; otherwise, you may be reached out to in order to purchase more stamps.

Some items that become ineligible can not be mailed via media mail, even though they contain media. The reasons may not be far-fetched. 

Most times, as indicated above, alternative Mailing options are provided, or extra charges are placed on the package.

You may want to check your items for the following! 

  1. Video games, computers, digital drives. 
  2. Media weighed more than 70 pounds. Like other mail services, there is a limit on the maximum weight of media mail. It will be disqualified if your items are cumulatively over the 70 pounds limit.

How to Access Media Mail Labels

You can get USPS Media Mail labels right from the comfort of your home or office before you ship them. A postal scale is required, though, and this will be used to weigh your package first. 

When the Media is sealed and weighed, you will proceed to PayPal to print the label because USPS does not offer that service. 

The Click-N-Ship software is really useful for printing postage for other shipping services. Still, it doesn’t work for Media Mail.

When you access PayPal, select “My Account” then “Profile.” 

You will see a link bearing “My Selling Tools.” Click that next. Then, click “Shipping My Items” and then “Update.”

Type in your shipping address, and search through the “US Postal Service Preference” outline to check for your printer type. 

Follow the guidelines to ensure your printer information is accurate. Then select “US Postal Service,” and from here, you can follow the additional steps to get the correct label up on your screen.

How to Print Media Mail Labels

When you access the “Service Type” menu, click on “Media Mail.” 

You will then be prompted to type in the kind of package, its weight, the delivery date, the return shipping label, and the text for your recipient. 

When you cross-check all the information and confirm it is correct, click “Pay,” and PayPal will sum up the postage and ready your USPS media mail label. It’ll be great to own a shipping label maker, but you can also utilize any regular printer.

An alternate option is the use of Microsoft Word. If you are proficient with Microsoft Word, you can use it to print shipping labels without postage. 

Tap open your Word app on your mobile or desktop, click the “Mailings” tab and select “Labels.” 

Under “Options,” select the “Tray” drop-down menu, and click on “Page Printers.” From there, check under “Label Vendors” and locate the kind of labels you have.

From then on, it’s a walk in the park.

Follow the instructions to select your label type. Load the label sheets into your printer and print out your label(s).

Final Words

Media Mail is the most affordable of all USPS’s mail delivery options; however, it is slower. 

A crucial thing to note is that, Unlike other USPS services, the USPS can check through your package to ensure that the contents are approved materials without a search warrant. 

Packages sent through media should weigh less than 70 pounds and are estimated to arrive at their destinations in about 2 to 10 days.

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