Finances & Money Frugality

Save Money Mailing Books through the Post Office


Since I’ve had a couple book giveaways (and more to come), I’ve learned of a much better way to mail books, by accident.

When I took in “Millionaire by Thirty” to the post office, the clerk asked me a round of standard questions about what was in the package. I mentioned off-hand that it was a book and the clerk asked if there were any other first class mailings included in the package. By “first class mailing”, I mean letters or things you would normally mail “First Class”. I said “No”.

The clerk respond that if you’re only mailing a book, you can use the “book rate”, or more formally known as “Media Mail”. If you’re not mailing any correspondence or advertisements other than perhaps an invoice or quick note, you can take advantage of huge savings.

How much can you save with Media Mail?

If I sent a book weighing 1lb through regular Parcel Post from my local post office to my parents in PA, it would cost $4.55.

But if I mailed via Media Mail, that same package would only cost $2.23!. That’s less that half-price! Calculate your postage rates here.

What’s the catch?

Other than only being able to mail a book and an invoice or short note, the main catch is the book will take 7-10 days to reach its destination (per the USPS statement). However, both books I sent to winners of the giveaways received the books in less time.

Also, the clerk informed me that the post office might open the parcel to make sure you’re not cheating. I’ve actually received a couple opened book packages, and now I know why.

So if you’re only mailing a book and you’re not in a rush, send it via Media Mail. It’ll save you money!

More from Cleverdude:

About the author

Clever Dude


  • You can also print postage online, through the USPS website (priority and express only) using a credit card or through paypal (all types of mail including media mail) using your paypal account. Then you can drop it in any blue mailbox or leave it at your mailbox for your carrier to pick up. This requires an accurate scale of course.

    About media mail: I live in NH and media mail to MA gets there in 1-2 days. I have had a book to CA take 6 weeks. It goes by truck and is the least important so it gets bumped for anything first class or higher.

  • Media mail is not just books…it’s any form of media. Yep…magazines, catalogs, books, dvds, computer games, etc. It all fits. That’s how I mail stuff like used DVDs via ebay every time. I make sure I list that it will be sent media mail though, so the buyer can’t complain about the shipping time. =)

  • @ EA: I agree that printing postage online is nice. Keep in mind, though, that most of the blue mail boxes for “security” reasons have a weight limit on what can be deposited in them (I think its like 13 ounces). Granted, its not like they can stop you, but still something to be aware of.

    I recently shipped several boxes media mail, and all made it halfway across the country in less than a week. I was a pretty happy camper.

  • I found out about the media rate this year when I signed up for a website that lets you get/give books between members. BookMooch members can live anywhere and the only costs involved is when someone wants a book you listed… you pay the postage.

    When you want a book someone else listed, they pay the postage. It is a nice way to offset some of the costs of book buying for people like me who read a lot. The latest and greatest bestsellers are not usually available since people only list books they are ready to get rid of.

    If it was not for the media rate this would not be as viable for me to participate!

  • Haleem – IF you are serious there IS an international community of people who use BookMooch as well. Anyone can go to the website and sign up.

    The costs with sending internationally are higher and you do have to maintain a ratio of sent/received books as well as list a selection of your own books you have at home that you are willing to send to others. I believe I remember reading about a few members in Pakistan and you could exchange books with them or with people from other countries.

    For some reason I don’t think you are serious but maybe someone else will find this information helpful so I posted it. Nothing personal but I don’t trust people who don’t capitalize!

  • OMG, you mean I can use media mail to ship, well, different types of media? Including books? 🙂 I can already see the headlines: “Sensational Discovery! Expedited Mail Ships at Expedited Speed!”


    “I signed up for a website that lets you get/give books between members”

    I’m really not supposed to tell anybody (it’s a secret, you see), but I’m a member of a semi-secret society. Every year, on April 15th, we put our money together and fund a nationwide network of buildings that purchase books and then allow us to go there and get those books for free. It’s called *looks over his shoulder to make sure it’s safe* “library.” Protect this knowledge with your life. 🙂

  • “Media Mail” also gets “lost.” I’m a librarian and mailed paperbacks to a bindery to be bound. The box top was scanned and showed delivered! The guy from the bindery company called me saying all he received was a part of a box! To try to recoup the books, we found some for sale on Amazon. When they came in, guess what? OUR LIBRARY BARCODE WAS ON THE BACK! We bought our own books back!
    With a google search, I found another incident where a writer found his books for sale on Amazon, after getting “lost” in the mail! The books had never been released to the public!!
    I truly believe its a scam within the USPS.

Leave a Comment