Media Mail is a service provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that allows customers to send a variety of mixed media through the mail at a cheaper rate than ordinary packages. The types of media allowed are limited, though, and by following this guide you will know what you can and cannot send through Media Mail.
Media Mail requires only specific types of media, and these include sound recordings, video tapes, books, film, manuscripts, and computer readable media. Computer readable media include anything like a DVD, CD, Floppy Disc, Zip Disc, and other diskette format. If anything in your package is not considered one of the items listed above, then you cannot ship it using Media Mail. This includes magazines because they contain advertisements and advertisements are not allowed to be sent through Media Mail.
Every package is subject to a random search, and if it includes items that are not allowed to be shipping under Media Mail, then the packaged will be returned to the sender. This can delay things for businesses or personal transactions, and you may even have to pick the package up at the post office.
When shipping through Media Mail, you can only ship packages that weigh less than 70 lbs. The package's length and girth also cannot exceed a total of 108 inches. The weight also depends on the price and goes up .35 cents for every pound, starting with $2.23 for 1 pound and $26.38 for 70 pounds.
Media Mail is shipped at the same time rate as a Parcel Post. This means that the packages are shipped solely by trucks and may take 7 through 9 days to reach their destination. All the times vary, though, and if you are sending the package somewhere fairly close, then you will usually get it sooner.
Shipping books through Media Mail may not be the cheapest option if you are mailing the books to a public library. Those books can be sent under a cheaper rate known as the "Library Rate." For example, a 1 pound package sent through the Library Rate will only cost $2.12 instead of $2.23. The savings add up with bigger packages.