Postal service

Media Mail – Media delivery made easy by the US Postal Service

Online learning still needs offline teaching materials, which is why Media Mail is a welcome service for teachers. It allows people to send multimedia and educational material cheaper than other messaging services. Even better, other people can use it too!

Now you have better shipping media such as books or manuscripts. Still, the low prices mean you’ll face more limitations with the service. Fortunately, I will share more details on how Media Mail works.

That’s why I’m going to jump in and go through the Media Mail requirements. This includes package specifications and typical delivery times. Later we will see why this feature can charge such low prices.

What is multimedia messaging?

This feature comes from the United States Postal Service. It says Media Mail is “a cost effective way to send multimedia and educational material”.

The USPS is strict about this because they are very specific about the things they can supply. Here are those allowed on Media Mail dispatch:

  • Manuscripts and books – At the time, people called this service the “reservation rate”. Now it has expanded to allow other forms of media. The book must be at least eight pages and must not be a graphic novel or comic book.
  • Video and sound recordings – Examples include records, video tapes, cassettes, films, CDs and DVDs. You cannot ship computer players, video games and blank discs.
  • Loose-leaf – Media mail packages may contain loose-leaf binders and pages containing educational and medical information. However, you cannot ship empty binders.
  • Movies – Film rolls used to store films. It is placed on a spotlight and rotated while light shines through. This allows images from the film to appear on large screens in cinemas. You can only send 16mm or less via Media Mail.
  • Printed music – Classical music like Bach and Beethoven first appeared on paper as sheet music. People read the notes on it so they could play a song.
  • Test materials – Before the pandemic, students had quizzes and exams on sheets of paper. Contrary to popular belief, people still need it for online learning. Some tests only work in print, while others do not have a stable internet connection for online tests.
  • Computer readable media – Some schools still save their files on CD. Nowadays, most of them prefer to use USB drives. Digital players and computer players are not eligible for Media Mail.

Other multimedia messaging rules

This service only allows packages up to 70 pounds, and it must only measure 108 inches in length and width. Also, make sure your package does not contain any advertising.

If the USPS finds an advertisement, it will remove the article from Media Mail. Then the USPS will put it on another service like Priority Mail Express.

You’ll end up paying more money for “postage due” for the new service. As a result, you ended up paying more for sending a Media Mail package, rendering the option useless.

You should expect to receive your package within 2-8 business days. However, the USPS reminds customers that they may have to wait longer due to the COVID pandemic.

Media Mail’s rates start at $3.19, but this can increase depending on the size of your package. You can Click here to see the full list of USPS service prices.

Read more: How to sell products on Amazon

When to use Media Mail

This is a person delivering a Media Mail parcel.

Imagine that you are a teacher and you lead an online course. Maybe you need material on formats that most people don’t use anymore.

These might be photos of events that someone hasn’t uploaded to the internet yet. It could be an old song that is hard to find on websites or hidden behind a paywall.

Maybe you need to show students some items from the past that are still there. You could show a picture, but having them see the real thing is more effective.

If not, you may be a business owner and have just moved to a new office. Then you remember that the old building has a video or audio clip for training new candidates.

Media Mail can be an affordable way to send the recording to your new office. In the meantime, you have enough time to find a freelancer who can transcribe these extracts.

These are just a few examples of how Media Mail can benefit people. It could also be an inexpensive way for you to send media. Note that affordable prices have another cost.

Why Media Mail is affordable

When the price of a certain item or service drops, there is usually a catch. This may be a limited time offer, or it may only work for certain credit card holders.

You can apply the same principle for Media Mail. You don’t have to pay so much compared to other services. However, here are the reasons for this lower cost:

  • This service charges you based on the size and weight of your package. Other USPS options like First Class Mail cost you based on the number and type of areas you pass through. It may not be the best choice if you are sending large items like movies or workbooks.
  • The average wait time is two to eight business days. This is already too much time for many people, but it may take longer due to the pandemic. Expect your package to take at least a month in the worst case!
  • Other features can stop at your location and deliver your outgoing packages for free. Unlike them, Media Mail does not offer free pickup.
  • If you need to send something important, you may want signature confirmation for your delivery. This is not included in Media Mail. You may also have to pay for other features, such as shipping labels.

Final Thoughts

Media Mail is a great way to send media files and documents through an email service. This allows you to pay less money for delivery compared to other options.
Just make sure you’re willing to wait weeks or even a month. The low price is at the price of early arrival. If you need the package delivered as soon as possible, try other services instead.

While you’re at it, why not read some more Inquirer USA articles? They always deliver if you need to know more about recent trends and valuable tips!

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