USPS Media Mail Regulations
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124 posts in this topic

38 posts

Hi all,

 

I just spent the last few days trying to decipher the USPS rules regarding comic books as media mail and thought I would pass along the most up-to-date information as of Sept 30, 2016.

 

For the record, imo USPS has the most ridiculous standards regarding comics, but that's another discussion for another thread.

 

From me to USPS:

 

"I am confused about the standards regarding what is considered media mail. I have the official requirements and it seems to me that a comic book meets the requirements for media mail. However, I have heard that people have had conflicting experiences sending comic books in media mail. Are comic books considered eligible for media mail?"

 

 

USPS representative:

 

"Comic books usually have advertising and even if vintage comic books and the ads are no longer applicable, all comic books are serialized, therefore not eligible for Media Mail prices. Any item that can apply for Periodicals is not eligible for Media Mail and comic books are Periodicals publications. "

 

My response:

 

"If it is a comic book that is not serialized (single self-contained issue aka one-shot) and it has no advertisements does that qualify for media mail? Also, does a trade paperback that collects a serialized comic qualify for media mail?"

 

USPS representative:

 

"No, a comic book is ineligible for Media Mail prices no matter whether a one-time or no advertising.

 

With trade paperbacks it depends. If you have an actual book that is about comics/cartoon captures and it is a book that you can find in the Library, then it would be eligible. An example would be a history of Marvel Comics and the entire book be carton comic captions. That would be eligible for Media Mail prices."

 

 

If anyone decides to start a petition about this or has a brilliant idea to revamp this mailing system I'm in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This postal employee should try actually going to the library sometime.

 

Every branch has at least one shelf dedicated to "graphic novels" - which includes numerous serialized comic collections.

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A good topic to revisit, but there have been sooooo many threads on this over the years. Here's a quick sampler:

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=7972625&fpart=1

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=4585834

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=3389693&fpart=1

 

http://boards.collectors-society.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=7989848&fpart=1

 

Yes the regulations are strange/poorly written/confusing/misleading/contradictory, and yes every branch/employee seems to interpret them differently.

 

So, as always, use Media Mail for comics--as a buyer or seller--at your own risk...

 

 

 

 

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As to this...

 

If anyone decides to start a petition about this or has a brilliant idea to revamp this mailing system I'm in.

See here for one possible option:

 

If anyone has the time and is interested in filing a formal complaint re: the USPS Media Mail regulations & the eligibility of material with expired advertising (the crux of RMA's argument), then here's a reasonable place to start:

 

http://www.prc.gov/PRC-DOCS/UploadedDocuments/Consumer%20Complaint%20Guide%2003-08-2010%20%282%29_632.pdf

 

Here's the gist of how it works:

 

(1) In general.—

The Postal Regulatory Commission shall, within 90 days after receiving a complaint under subsection (a)

(A) either

(i) upon a finding that such complaint raises material issues of fact or law, begin proceedings on such complaint; or

(ii) issue an order dismissing the complaint; and

(B) with respect to any action taken under subparagraph (A)(i) or (ii), issue a written statement setting forth the bases of its determination.

Lots more here...

 

http://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/default.aspx

 

Like I said...it's a start...

 

Unfortunately, all the links in that old post are dead, which gives you some idea of how interested the USPS is in hearing our complaints...

 

 

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My advice is don't be a cheap and use media mail. Against USPS regulations or not it's a krappy way to ship someone comics and I will always offer to pay extra to not have them shipped to me that way and I would never, under any circumstances ship anyone comics that way 2c

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And it makes no sense to ship via Media Mail anyway since First Class rates went down and weight limits went up.

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And it makes no sense to ship via Media Mail anyway since First Class rates went down and weight limits went up.

 

Really! What is the top weight for a first class package now. Old weight was 14oz, correct?

 

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After January 17 2016 the maximum weight for First-Class Package increased from 12.99 oz to 15.99 oz. Also, the rate for First-Class Packages under 8 oz. is a flat $2.60, which simplifies lightweight package pricing.

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After January 17 2016 the maximum weight for First-Class Package increased from 12.99 oz to 15.99 oz. Also, the rate for First-Class Packages under 8 oz. is a flat $2.60, which simplifies lightweight package pricing.

 

FYI: That's no exactly true. I heard ebay offers that option, but If you walk into a post office and try to mail 13oz or higher package first class is not available to you and you must pay the priority mail rate.

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...don't be a cheap ...

Cheap buyers and sellers in this hobby? I don't believe it!

 

 

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...don't be a cheap ...

Cheap buyers and sellers in this hobby? I don't believe it!

 

 

:D

 

I understand the temptation to ship media mail, especially when it seems every buyer wants shipping included.

 

Personally I would rather lose a couple of bucks off the bottom line and package books for people like I would like to receive them.

 

So far so good, I've never been asked for a return and something getting damaged by the USPS hasn't been reported either :wishluck:

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The post office is not going to open up each comic book individually to check the date of the book, whether the advertisements are still active, or whether it is a one shot story. Not reasonable. Media mail was intended to assist libraries in the movement of books. Comic books don't fit in that category.

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The post office is not going to open up each comic book individually to check the date of the book, whether the advertisements are still active, or whether it is a one shot story. Not reasonable. Media mail was intended to assist libraries in the movement of books. Comic books don't fit in that category.

 

Media Mail was intended to be a cheap, slow shipping method to move educational material, not just "books." The prohibition against advertising was to prevent ALL NEW periodicals (not just comics, but Time, Us, Newsweek, etc), which are distributed via "Second Class" special commercial rates, from using the Media Mail service. The easiest way to codify that was to say "all advertising", since almost every periodical is paid for by, and contains, advertising.

 

Since comic books are distributed almost entirely outside the Second Class mail service, they don't fall under the spirit of the regulation, even if it falls under the letter.

 

If it's not in the Domestic Mail Manual, it's meaningless, no matter what ANY employee of the USPS...up to and including the Postmaster General...says or thinks. If they want to update the DMM, they are free to do so...but until then, the document that governs the USPS is the DMM, and if it's not in the DMM, it carries no regulatory weight.

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Media Mail was intended to be a cheap, slow shipping method to move educational material, not just "books." The prohibition against advertising was to prevent ALL NEW periodicals (not just comics, but Time, Us, Newsweek, etc), which are distributed via "Second Class" special commercial rates, from using the Media Mail service. The easiest way to codify that was to say "all advertising", since almost every periodical is paid for by, and contains, advertising.

 

Since comic books are distributed almost entirely outside the Second Class mail service, they don't fall under the spirit of the regulation, even if it falls under the letter.

 

If it's not in the Domestic Mail Manual, it's meaningless, no matter what ANY employee of the USPS...up to and including the Postmaster General...says or thinks. If they want to update the DMM, they are free to do so...but until then, the document that governs the USPS is the DMM, and if it's not in the DMM, it carries no regulatory weight.

It's a sound argument, obviously. But in practice, we all know that the Media Mail restrictions are whatever the USPS employee who is handling the package says they are on any given day.

 

Even if you convince the counter clerk that you're in the right (good luck!), the package could still be opened and rifled at any point in the delivery chain by some other ham-fisted goofball, and everyone at the USPS up to and including the Postmaster General would no doubt support the employee who did it.

 

That's how a "crackdown" works, and being "right" on the merits of the argument is no bulwark against it.

 

What would make more sense, and be much simpler for all parties, is for the USPS to amend or eliminate the advertising restriction, and simply state in the DMM that Media Mail is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a dirt-cheap method for the shipping of consumer goods and collectibles between buyers and sellers -- including vintage LPs, video tapes, antiquarian books and magazines, comic books, etc.

 

If it fits Media Mail (e.g., pamphlets/monographs/informational bulletins/newsletters/circulars and the like for schools, charitable organizations, hospitals, etc.), it ships Media Mail...

 

If you sold it on eBay to turn a buck, and need to keep your shipping costs as low as possible so you can move more product, tough luck: use First Class, Parcel Post, or Priority Mail instead...

 

 

 

 

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And it makes no sense to ship via Media Mail anyway since First Class rates went down and weight limits went up.

 

I keep hearing that the weight limit is higher on 1st class, yet I went to USPS and cannot use it on a 14 oz package. I thought it was 15 oz.

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Honestly, shipping comics now stinks. I rarely sell single comics because the isn't a great cheap option out there. I use Regional Priority Mail boxes and they normally have a better rate than the flat rate mailers.

 

But word of advice, Media Mail, while cheap will never get investigated by the Post Office. I have lost now two packages sent this method and they will do nothing for it even when it has tracking. So beware of that before sending out uninsured packages this way.

 

Hi all,

 

I just spent the last few days trying to decipher the USPS rules regarding comic books as media mail and thought I would pass along the most up-to-date information as of Sept 30, 2016.

 

For the record, imo USPS has the most ridiculous standards regarding comics, but that's another discussion for another thread.

 

From me to USPS:

 

"I am confused about the standards regarding what is considered media mail. I have the official requirements and it seems to me that a comic book meets the requirements for media mail. However, I have heard that people have had conflicting experiences sending comic books in media mail. Are comic books considered eligible for media mail?"

 

 

USPS representative:

 

"Comic books usually have advertising and even if vintage comic books and the ads are no longer applicable, all comic books are serialized, therefore not eligible for Media Mail prices. Any item that can apply for Periodicals is not eligible for Media Mail and comic books are Periodicals publications. "

 

My response:

 

"If it is a comic book that is not serialized (single self-contained issue aka one-shot) and it has no advertisements does that qualify for media mail? Also, does a trade paperback that collects a serialized comic qualify for media mail?"

 

USPS representative:

 

"No, a comic book is ineligible for Media Mail prices no matter whether a one-time or no advertising.

 

With trade paperbacks it depends. If you have an actual book that is about comics/cartoon captures and it is a book that you can find in the Library, then it would be eligible. An example would be a history of Marvel Comics and the entire book be carton comic captions. That would be eligible for Media Mail prices."

 

 

If anyone decides to start a petition about this or has a brilliant idea to revamp this mailing system I'm in.

 

 

 

 

 

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56,031 posts

Media Mail was intended to be a cheap, slow shipping method to move educational material, not just "books." The prohibition against advertising was to prevent ALL NEW periodicals (not just comics, but Time, Us, Newsweek, etc), which are distributed via "Second Class" special commercial rates, from using the Media Mail service. The easiest way to codify that was to say "all advertising", since almost every periodical is paid for by, and contains, advertising.

 

Since comic books are distributed almost entirely outside the Second Class mail service, they don't fall under the spirit of the regulation, even if it falls under the letter.

 

If it's not in the Domestic Mail Manual, it's meaningless, no matter what ANY employee of the USPS...up to and including the Postmaster General...says or thinks. If they want to update the DMM, they are free to do so...but until then, the document that governs the USPS is the DMM, and if it's not in the DMM, it carries no regulatory weight.

It's a sound argument, obviously. But in practice, we all know that the Media Mail restrictions are whatever the USPS employee who is handling the package says they are on any given day.

 

Even if you convince the counter clerk that you're in the right (good luck!), the package could still be opened and rifled at any point in the delivery chain by some other ham-fisted goofball, and everyone at the USPS up to and including the Postmaster General would no doubt support the employee who did it.

 

That's how a "crackdown" works, and being "right" on the merits of the argument is no bulwark against it.

 

What would make more sense, and be much simpler for all parties, is for the USPS to amend or eliminate the advertising restriction, and simply state in the DMM that Media Mail is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a dirt-cheap method for the shipping of consumer goods and collectibles between buyers and sellers -- including vintage LPs, video tapes, antiquarian books and magazines, comic books, etc.

 

If it fits Media Mail (e.g., pamphlets/monographs/informational bulletins/newsletters/circulars and the like for schools, charitable organizations, hospitals, etc.), it ships Media Mail...

 

If you sold it on eBay to turn a buck, and need to keep your shipping costs as low as possible so you can move more product, tough luck: use First Class, Parcel Post, or Priority Mail instead...

 

 

 

 

True, true.

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542 posts
And it makes no sense to ship via Media Mail anyway since First Class rates went down and weight limits went up.

 

I keep hearing that the weight limit is higher on 1st class, yet I went to USPS and cannot use it on a 14 oz package. I thought it was 15 oz.

 

The service everyone hears about is called 'First-Class Package Service' and is not a service available to retail customers coming into a post office - you can only get this service with a commercial account through ebay, stamps.com, etc.. ** It is not the same thing as first class parcel service you are familiar with. First-Class Package Service can be opened and inspected by the post office like media mail is. There are also certain restrictions on what can be mailed at that rate.

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And it makes no sense to ship via Media Mail anyway since First Class rates went down and weight limits went up.

 

I keep hearing that the weight limit is higher on 1st class, yet I went to USPS and cannot use it on a 14 oz package. I thought it was 15 oz.

 

The service everyone hears about is called 'First-Class Package Service' and is not a service available to retail customers coming into a post office - you can only get this service with a commercial account through ebay, stamps.com, etc.. ** It is not the same thing as first class parcel service you are familiar with. First-Class Package Service can be opened and inspected by the post office like media mail is. There are also certain restrictions on what can be mailed at that rate.

 

I get the option plus discounted postage rates through Paypal shipping. If you've got a Paypal account, you should try it out.

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