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Messages: U.S. Postage

Online services USPS media mail- help!!

I was told I could pay for postage online at the USPS website and then affix it to my package and put it in any blue PO mailing box- saving a trip to the post office. but after spending a long time on the USPS website I cannot figure out how to do this. It's a horrible, UN-user-friendly website! I've had it! Can anyone tell me step-by-step how to do this?

Jenny S.
3 years ago

Recent comments:[write a comment]
(5 months, 25 days ago)This is somewhat unrelated, but seemed the best place to post this. FYI: You do not need someone's first and last name to ship something to them via USPS. You don't even need a name! My postal carrier friend has delivered packages address to "the jerk who lives at" and "that girl at", etc. I personally receive mail send to "member at" and "resident at" and "customer", as well as Beth W, Beth, and nicknames. Some of us are the victims of stalkers and will not share our full name online anywhere- please respect this and don't punish us by withholding mooched books because of it. Thanks!
Beth W
(8 months, 19 days ago)I was so frustrated by the USPS site and trying to buy postage at home for media mail. Then I came here and saw the message about using Paypal shipping instead. I seriously cannot thank you enough! You have saved me so many trips to the post office and some much time standing in those terrible lines! Maybe there should be a "welcome to BookMooch" page that details these super fundamental things for newbies that they can access right off their member bio page? Anyway, thank you again!
(3 years ago)Hey, thanks! Jenny S.
Jenny S.
(3 years ago)sorry about the typo.....
(3 years ago)Do you have a paypal account?, if you do you can ship via usps media mail and print and pay for postage www.paypal.som/shipnow
(3 years ago)I appreciate the help! Jenny S.
Jenny S.
(3 years ago)Any package that is 13 ounces or more has to be handed to a USPS employee (either your mail carrier or over a counter) if it only bears stamps and cannot be put in a blue box. If there is any kind of electronic postage, you can blue box those packages because the postage is traceable. I tend to use the Automatic Postage Machine at my PO because it is still open after the windows have closed. I check the first class rate and use it if it is under $3. If not, I buy a stamp at the APC for the media rate and write "Media Mail" on the package. You can put this in the box next to the APC because the postage is traceable.
(3 years ago)Use Paypal for shipping--it's much more user friendly. Use Multi-order shipping
(3 years ago)I did look and is it true that you can't set up and pay for media mail online? Could I figure out the weight and postage due and put a bunch of stamps and write media mail? It seems like I receive books with printed postage paid labels but I never paid much attention.
Jenny S.
(3 years ago)I will go back and see if that helps, altho I thought I tried everything. Is it different for media mail, do you know? Thanks- Jenny S.
Jenny S.
(3 years ago)Hover your mouse over "Ship a Package" and there will be a drop down menu. The first option is "Print a label with Postage".
USPS Media Mail service to be discontinued?

I went to the post office today to send a mooched book. To send it first class it would've cost $2.90, so I asked to send it via Media Mail which cost $2.41.

The worker rung it up incorrectly and when I pointed it out, he corrected it but without giving me a lecture about how they will soon be getting rid of Media Mail. "Everything's going to be First Class now. I don't know when, but it's all going to First Class and everyone's going to have to pay higher rates." I don't know if he was annoyed that I had pointed out his mistake or that I wanted to go the cheaper route but he also lectured me that I shouldn't have written a return address if I was going to send it via Media Mail and on and on about the disadvantages of Media Mail.

Anyone else heard that the Media Mail option will soon be discontinued?

3 years ago

Recent comments:[write a comment]
(2 years ago)As a postal employee, I have not heard about discontinuing Media Mail. We are told not to offer Media rate but the customer can request it. An act of congress started Media Mail so that people could afford to send books (educational items) at an affordable rate. Any changes to Postal policy or rates has to be voted on by Congress. A return address is required otherwise it is considered suspicious. Mail that does not have a return address and is not deliverable is sent to/disposed of by the Mail recovery unit. Media mail and parcel post classes are only returned or forwarded for a fee. If your package is returned or forwarded on,the mailer or the recipient has to pay the postage fee again. So, sometimes it is not the best value. That class of mail postage only covers one trip. Postal policy is packages are kept 10 days. first day notice, second notice 5 days later with return date posted. Except for POBox addresses, they are kept until box is closed. If customer doesn't pick up package it is returned postage due to mailer.
(3 years ago)Lordy, ignorant postal clerks are the worst. Don't get me wrong, some are lovely, but there seem to be many that just make stuff up as they go. I have heard all kinds of "theories" from USPS clerks that have later been flatly rejected by people who work for the postal service but actually know what's going on. I've never heard the "don't put on a return address" nonsense; in fact, I've had a clerk take me to task when I didn't put down my name as well as my street address as a return address. I know that the USPS has had problems with people using media mail for things that aren't media - like ebay auctions for clothes, say - and so have stepped up inspections. I'm sure they are losing a certain amount of money with people who do that, because the cost savings for heavy items is significant. There definitely seems to be a push to priority mail services and flat-rate choices; on the USPS site when you look up the cost of postage, rates that are lower than priority aren't even visible unless you click some hard-to-find button. And I've never had a clerk suggest media mail to me - they have to go through the usual spiel about priority and faster-than-priority choices as a rule, I would guess. When you think about it, there's no particular reason why media mail (i.e. book rate) exists for us average folks; there's already a library rate that libraries and schools can use if they want. Why can books be sent so much cheaper than anything else? I wouldn't be surprised if the USPS would like to eliminate media mail, but I haven't heard any specific plans for it. I will say that if they eliminate media mail, I will understand but I will have to stop book swapping - it'd just be too expensive. It'd be like when the USPS got rid of international surface mail and so many of the US Bookmoochers stopped mailing overseas entirely.
(3 years ago)I doubt it will be discontinued any time soon, since the rates just went up yesterday and Media Mail is included in the rate increases. It also includes delivery confirmation now when you use printable postage, which is nice. As for the part about no return address, that is just stupid. Media mail is not usually forwarded outside of the local area, so if the person you mailed the book to had moved and not updated their address on BM, the book would probably be returned to you. You would be charged for return service, so he may have been trying to avoid them returning the book to you? I'd rather know what happened to the book than have it just disappear. His comments were inappropriate partly because it doesn't matter at all if MM goes away at some unknown date in the future, you asked for it that day when it was still in effect.
I would be interested to know if the USPS is "losing" money on Media mail and other parcel services and if they are if it at a higher rate than First Class. Also, I found the Wikipedia article about the crisis interesting.

(3 years ago)You know, I have heard rumors to this effect over the years about that all of Parcel Post is going to be eliminated, not just Media Mail, as the Post Office doesn't make much money off it (if any) but don't know if it'll ever happen...It's sort of like losing Saturday may happen but who knows? I do know that we once had surface rate international mail, not just air mail, and they got rid of that....Hopefully it'll never happen!!
Melanie C.
Used envelopes

Hi to anyone who's reading this!

I work at a community college as a cleaner, and I often find used envelopes in the trash (the nice yellowy-orange ones with bubble-wrap padding on the inside, or without padding, or priority mail ones). As a result of my environmental angst/hoarder tendencies I've been collecting them and bringing them home for the past few days. First I thought, "Great, now I have envelopes for shipping books!" but even now I have enough to last me for probably the rest of the year (I don't really ship that much of anything).

So I've been trying to scheme up a way to give them to other people so they can use them (granted they don't mind re-using packaging that's already been written on, whited out, had stickers on and tore off, cut open and torn up -- but still perfectly usable). There's no one in my life that could use a bunch of envelopes, but surely people from here could. Other than sticking an extra one in when a book is mooched, however, I can't think of what to do with them. I don't want to pay to ship just envelopes! It seems a little counter-productive.

Does anyone have any ideas? Or is this just a silly idea to begin with?

2 years ago

Recent comments:[write a comment]
(2 years ago)Chey, as far as I know the packaging that you are not allowed to reuse is the USPS packaging that says "Priority Mail" on it that the Post Office gives out for free-- also it's for Priority Mail use only. It's because of the fact that they give out that particular packaging (the ones that say "Priority Mail" on it) free that they put restrictions on it, no using again, no Media Mail, etc. However, if you have a package or box that never originated as a free Priority Mail box (or envelope) from the USPS, you can use and reuse that however you want and at whatever rate you would like, as long as the correct rate is very clear on the box. Hope that's clear :) . I'm pretty sure that's how that works.
Melanie C.
(2 years ago)Sorry for the late reply! Thank you everyone! I'll probably put some on here, then... I didn't even think to search 'envelopes'. And it's also good to know about that freecycle thing, that's really cool. Once I went to mail something in a box that had priority mail tape all over it, and the guy at the post office let me ship it at a different rate after I taped over the priority mail tape with brown tape (which is still see-through...). So I don't see why they wouldn't let you re-use them if you sharpie'd over their markings or turned them inside-out. But I only have that one experience. (I only have one or two of those envelopes anyways, which I can just use for bookbinding.)
(2 years ago)Note that if you're in the US, priority mail material cannot be used (or reused, even turned inside-out and the like) to send at any other rate, including media mail rate which is probably what most people use.
(2 years ago)I would love a box full with usable envelopes... I know what you wrote... If you don't mind shipping me a box load of envelopes... that would be nice... Eddie
(2 years ago)If you have a freecycle group and email list in your area, there may be someone who's interested in the mailers and will take them off your hands. I've gotten rid of all kinds of stuff, some of it quite odd, on freecyle. (You can search for a local group on
(2 years ago)Would you be willing to pay to ship them if you got a credit in return? If you search for "envelopes" there are several listings for bundles of a half dozen Manilla, Padded and Cardboard.
media mail timing

I recently sent a book overseas - it got there in two days. At the same time, I sent a book to a town that is only 30 minutes away - it took 32 days to get there. Who knew that snail mail uses real snails!

Darth Heather
2 years ago
no comments

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Books returned - a conundrum

Hi Moochers,

I'm just wondering what the community response is for this situation:

A moocher requested three books and I mailed them. The post office kept the parcel for the moocher to pick up but didn't notify her that the package was waiting. After 21 days, they returned it to me.

Now we're stuck: I've paid to mail them once, she doesn't have them, and I have her points. The way I see it, there are four solutions:

1. I pay to mail them again (Down side: I lose the cost of a second mailing).
3. She or I cancel the mooch (Down side: I'm out the first mailing cost, she doesn't get the books.)
3. She smooches me one, two, or three more points for my trouble (Down side: she's out those points and, if it's less than three points, I'm out the money.)
4. I mail them again and she marks them "lost." Then she smooches me the points she just got back. I would end up with the points for mailing them twice, she ends up with the books. (Down side: we undermine, in our own little way, the economy of Bookmooch by gaming the system, we each add 3 "Lost" books to our accounts.)


3 years ago
1 comment

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(2 years ago)If it is a postal mistake...the mailer should take the package back to the post office and have them resend it at no charge. The package would show the dates that the recipient was notified. So if no dates are on it then possibly she wasn't notified properly. But, if there are dates of notification then the responsibility falls on the recipient, in that they failed to pick it up in a timely manner. The post office holds packages 10 days for street addresses. Media mail is similar to space available mail. No rush. That is way it can take awhile.