General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Which shipping option is better for books, UPS or USPS?

Asked by Jeruba (55857points) April 16th, 2016

I have a dozen or so books that I’d like to ship across country. They’re heavy for their size, so shipment by volume rather than by weight would probably work for me—unless media mail (postal mail for books) is cheaper.

Am I right that rates for UPS go by volume and for USPS by weight?

I don’t need links to USPS and UPS, thanks. I’m just asking if someone has done a direct comparison and knows the answer already.

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14 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

UPS almost certainly goes by weight too. I tried to mail about 15 pounds of beer with UPS last Christmas and the postage was insane. They do some weird dimensional weight formula.

It is probably going to be hard to beat the media rate from the USPS.

JLeslie's avatar

USPS media mail most likely is the least expensive. That’s what my dad uses and he sells books for a living. Media mail does travel a little slower sometimes. My dad days sometimes it arrives much before the estimated date though.

Another consideration is the USPS flat rate boxes if the books are small. I’m not sure if you are shipping them all together or to separate places. If it’s all together there wouldn’t be any flat rate boxes that would work.

zenvelo's avatar

I had a bunch of stuff to send home from Colorado to California. It was about a third the cost to go to the USPS, buy a flat rate box, and mail it, than it would have been to send UPS.

Plus, UPS does not deliver on weekends.

Jeruba's avatar

They’re all going to one address. I got a large flat rate box from the post office. It’s not big enough.

Speed isn’t important. Keeping it affordable is. Sounds like media mail is the way to go. Thanks.

johnpowell's avatar

I have a friend that moved to Chicago from Portland through the book rate at the USPS. He was going to India for a month so it being slow wasn’t a big deal. He mailed about 20 boxes of his stuff for pretty cheap. They apparently didn’t actually check to see what was in the boxes.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

If you’re not in a big hurry, you can send books by Media Mail at USPS. Formerly called “book rate,” this option is amazingly inexpensive, most likely the best deal among shipping choices.

kritiper's avatar

If you know that the shipper will pack the books well to protect against damage during shipment, USPS is just fine. But if you really want your books to get to you undamaged, no matter how they’re packed, UPS.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m the one packing the books. I’m the one doing the shipping. As I said.

kritiper's avatar

USPS will beat the hell out of your packages. I believe they could fuck up an anvil in it wasn’t packed right.

Seek's avatar

@johnpowell – I wouldn’t recommend doing that anymore. They’re really cracking down on that stuff. If you even send a birthday card along with your books and they happen to check, they send the thing back to you postage due with express shipping rates attached.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have used Media Mail through the USPS multiple times. I highly recommend it. It is always the least expensive way to ship books.

JLeslie's avatar

Just remember to pack the box solid, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but I’ll go ahead, make sure you fill any empty space with crunched up packing paper or styrofoam peanuts or whatever you choose. If you want to super protect a particular book you can first put it in a bubble sleeve or wrap bubble around it and tape it around the book. The little bubble wrap (little bubbles) so it has the flexibility to wrap around the book.

Nothing should shift once boxed and it needs to be packed solid so it supports a heavy box on top of it without crushing.

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, thanks for the good reminder. Yes, I will pack it well.

johnpowell's avatar

@Seek :: Thanks for the info. I had actually considered shipping your computer that way and the lady seemed cool with it. I was clear with what it was. She also said that the media rate is a bit more violent and wouldn’t suggest using it to ship a computer. I would have saved 40 bucks but it wasn’t worth it.

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