As technology steadily improves, it seems almost anything can be sent digitally. Letters, music and movies— all of these things are transmitted over the web instantaneously, saving people time and money. However, there are still times when physical versions of these items must be transferred. Fortunately, the U.S. Post Office offers a reliable, inexpensive solution for this situation— media mail.
What is Media Mail?
According to USPS.com, media mail is intended as a cost-effective way to ship educational materials. It allows senders to spend less on sending things like books, CDs or DVDs through the mail, with a typical delivery time of 2-8 days. It is a great option when you need to send materials through the mail, as long as you follow the rules.
Media mail has rules, and breaking those rules can cause serious problems. According to Ebay.com, the key things to remember about media mail are bulk and authentic. You can send plenty of items, but they all must be authentic and meet the requirements. The USPS regularly checks packages shipped as media mail, because users will often abuse the system. If the USPS finds anything in the package that is not classified as media, it will send the package back to the sender for correct postage. Doing this also puts the sender at risk of prosecution for violating federal laws, so it is not recommended. This means that if a sender includes something like clothes, for instance, in a media mail package with books, it can be sent back. Bootleg CDs or DVDs will also result in return. Items that can be shipped by media mail can be found on the USPS website.
How to Pack Media Mail
Packaging your media is relatively straightforward. The USPS offers multiple approved packages, from envelopes to boxes, which you can purchase online or at a physical post office. You can also use your own packaging, as long as you do not go over the 70 lb. limit. Place your media in the envelope or box, then fill in the remaining space with packing peanuts or newspaper. Depending on the sensitivity of your media, you may want to wrap it in bubble wrap to protect it from impact. Once everything is packed securely, use clear packing tape to seal your package.
Media mail shipping is reliable. Businesses also have option of using CASS certification-enabled software, which ensures the accuracy of addresses before shipment. The USPS details what CASS involves on a special page on their website. This way you know your package will arrive at a genuine address, and not wind up returned to sender.
A Simple, Inexpensive Option
Media mail is a simple and affordable option for anyone interested in shipping media items through the mail. The only thing you really need to be diligent about is ensuring that nothing prohibited winds up in your package. As long as the rules are followed, media mail is an ideal shipping solution.