The Cheapest Way To Ship Books (56 Cents A Pound!)

Books are heavy, bulky items that can be a challenge to ship. However, as long as they meet the qualification for Media Mail, books are some of the cheapest items to ship with USPS. Let’s go over the cheapest way to ship books using this shipping service and what other options you have if your book doesn’t qualify for Media Mail.

What Is The Least Expensive Shipping Method For Books?

The least expensive shipping method for books is using USPS Media Mail. However, you must meet USPS’s criteria because not every type of book qualifies for Media Mail. We have an article here explaining all about Media Mail, what is eligible and what is not eligible.

USPS has the right to inspect your package at any time so you do not want to be caught misusing this service. Otherwise, your package could be sent back to you or held at the post office until the postage difference is paid.

If your book is eligible to ship as Media Mail, it costs only 56 cents per additional pound over the first one-pound price of $2.89.

Weight Not
Over (lbs.)
PriceWeight Not
Over (lbs.)

You can ship up to 70 pounds of books and the maximum you would pay is $41.53.

The Best Way To Pack Books For Shipping

The best way to pack books for shipping is to choose a box that is sturdy enough and to use packing material inside the package so the contents do not move. If your book is a rare collectible or is fragile, use bubble wraps in addition to another padding such as craft paper.

If you are shipping a large volume of books, moving boxes are great since they are designed to handle heavyweight. You can buy them from your local home improvement store or order them on amazon.

If your package, including the box with allowances for a shipping label and tape, goes over 70 pounds, simply split your shipment into two shipments. Splitting your shipment will still allow you to ship affordably with Media Mail while also allowing for easier handling.

The Cheapest Way To Ship Books Without Using Media Mail

While Media Mail is an affordable service, it is considerably slower than shipping with other services.

USPS Shipping Service TypeDelivery
Priority Mail ExpressNext-Day to 2-Day Guarantee by 6 PM
Priority Mail1–3 Business Days
First Class Mail1–3 Business Days
Media Mail2–8 Business Days
USPS Retail Ground2–8 Business Days

If you need your package to be delivered faster OR your books do not qualify for media mail, the cheapest way to ship is to consider your package size, weight, and distance that it will be going.

Option 1

USPS Priority Mail flat rate envelopes and boxes are good options for one to a few books. You can ship up to 70 pounds using one of USPS Flat Rate products.

USPS Flat RateRetail PriceCommercial
Envelope $7.95$7.40
Legal Envelope$8.25$7.70
Padded Envelope$8.55$8.00
Medium Box$15.50$13.75
Large Box$21.90$19.30

However, you will be limited to how many books you will be able to fit, even if you use the largest flat rate box. For example, a decent medium size book with about 300 pages weighs close to 15 ounces.

Meanwhile, an average size textbook weighs almost four pounds.

Even if you use the largest Priority Mail Large Flat Rate box, you would only be able to fit three of these textbooks.

Using a Large USPS Flat Rate Envelope is considerably more expensive to ship less than 12 pounds of books. It would cost a whopping $19.30! If it had qualified for Media Mail, it would only be $9.05. So what are your other options?

Option 2

Instead, even using the same exact dimensions of the Large Flat Rate box and the same 12-pound weight earlier, shipping with FedEx Ground will give you a significantly cheaper rate.

If you are shipping a large volume of books, FedEx Ground or FedEx Home Delivery will give you the cheapest rate.

You can send up to 150 pounds. The difference between FedEx Ground or FedEx Home Delivery is whether the shipping address is a business or residential address. For more information, check out this video below.

Last Shipping Tips To Know

Whether you’re using USPS or FedEx to ship your books, make sure you’re going after commercial pricing to give you the cheapest shipping rates. You can get both discounts for free by joining multi-carrier shipping software. We use

They are an affiliated link, which does not cost you any extra. We earn a small commission IF you choose to buy a plan. But you do not have to buy anything to get both USPS and FedEx discounts.

Recent Posts