OT: Mailing DVDs - new US postal regulations

jeremyk wrote on 5/15/2007, 5:03 PM
The new postal rules that went into effect May 14 mean that my usual system of mailing DVDs and CD in #1 bubble envelopes now costs $1.30 for a 2 oz. "parcel". The "letter" rate and "flat" rates don't apply because the package isn't flexible enough.


I assume this also means that the usual small cardboard mailers are also parcels, and now cost a lot more to mail. Anyone have any definitive information on this topic?



craftech wrote on 5/15/2007, 5:41 PM
I send them as "Media Mail" which used to be called a "Book Rate".

Is that no longer allowed for DVDs?

TheHappyFriar wrote on 5/15/2007, 6:02 PM
i always just put the DVD in a case & put that in a thin paper envelope & mail that media mail.

The USPS shipping calculator doesn't list media mail any more. Maybe media mail doesn't exist any more?
jeremyk wrote on 5/15/2007, 6:40 PM
Media mail is still around -- it's now $2.13 for the first pound. First class is cheaper for lightweight packages, and gets there faster too. Media mail can take three weeks to get across the country.
DGates wrote on 5/15/2007, 6:42 PM
Media mail's a joke. It could take a week or two to get where it's going. I just send out my DVD's first class in a paperboard mailer. I sent one out today first class for $1.81 (used to be around $1.50). More than I'd like to spend, but worth getting there in a day or two.
Coursedesign wrote on 5/15/2007, 7:39 PM
I stopped using Media Mail more than a year ago after getting too many complaints of lost shipments.

For large bulk shipments, many credible shippers have even reported finding their truckloads of media mail in trash bins behind post offices, but his particular problem can be avoided by using the right post office.

The USPS has business offices in local districts that can advise which ones are more reliable. They gave me specific advice on which ones to choose and which ones to, umm, avoid, and this has served me very well for years.

Still, after all that, too much Media Mail got lost en route for it to be useable, and the shipping time was too long to be acceptable.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 5/15/2007, 9:03 PM
I guess I have two good post office's in my area. Media Mail has always gotten though in ~4 days. When you're shipping a LOT (weight or on #) the price difference adds up.

I believe we always had anything we sent to floridia "accidentally" destroyed though. That state seems to have a problem with their postal service (both post office's in my area will say the same thing too)
DGates wrote on 5/15/2007, 9:17 PM
When I send out a single DVD demo, it's always with first class mail. However, when I'm ready to ship the client's final discs (which can be either 4 or 8 DVD's), I send them UPS. It's a little more expensive, but they're better with boxes/packages than the post office is.
TGS wrote on 5/15/2007, 9:33 PM
Although I don't know the exact new rates, up until now, I paid 39 cents for the 1st ounce and 24 cents for each additional ounce. I would bubble wrap DVDs in a 6 x 9 envelope and add the stamps accordingly. Usually 63 cents for 1 DVD. I imagine if the same rules apply, it's gone up about 3 cents. Never lost a single one, all mailed from Los Angeles.
Coursedesign wrote on 5/15/2007, 10:57 PM
Forget that, your 6x9 envelope is not "machinable," so a higher rate applies.

I have been shipping a lot of disks First Class in bubble paks, and will continue to do so, even though it's gone up from 63 cents to 87 cents if I read the DMM correctly (I gotta print out the whole thing this time).

Note also that the Delivery Confirmation charges have gone up. If you were paying 50 cents for the DC labels for Priority Mail packages, they're now 65 cents.

BUT if you have an electronic postage meter that can do DCs, you can now get them for free... (plus an extortion fee to the meter co). I'm calling Pitney Bowes, that's a lot of money saved...

vicmilt wrote on 5/16/2007, 2:54 AM
I don't do large mailings, and I do care about every disc I ship (not to say you don't !).

I've come to rely on Priority Mail.
Printing the labels online is a snap, and "in-state mail" will get there the following day. Cross coutny you can count on three days, often sooner.

They just raised the prices to $4.65 (from $4.05), but the speed and reliablility make this method worthwhile, in my estimation. I charge my customers $5 bucks in shipping and handling and have never had a complaint (in fact, I've gotten a couple of thank yous on our speedy delivery). BTW - priority mail provides free envelopes and boxes. I've shipped three discs in those standard DVD movie cases, squeezed into one Priority envelope for the same $4.60 many times w/o any problem.


Coursedesign wrote on 5/16/2007, 7:52 AM
Priority Mail works very well, I ship a lot of it all over the U.S. including to Puerto Rico and to A.P.O. addresses.

If you live in a larger city, you get the speediest delivery if you can drop off get pickup from a post office that is also a distribution center. For example, the 90064 post office on Exposition Blvd. in West Los Angeles (hidden away under the 405) is only one internal step from being put on a plane at LAX. I've dropped off Priority Mail to Texas there on late Saturday afternoon, it was delivered Monday...

If you do addresses online like Vic does, you also get free Delivery Confirmation, which saves you $0.65.

(Still, I've been oldfashioned, using #30256 2 5/16" x 4" Dymo LabelWriter Shipping Labels coming straight out of QuickBooks with my company logo and return address, they just look so darn classy and when you buy the label rolls in bulk on eBay they're not expensive.)

(I've also been using Global Priority Mail flat rate envelopes, now "International Priority/Air Mail" or something like that, at least when they actually run out of the old envelopes which may take a while. This also works well, for about $9.00-$11.00 depending on destination.)

Another less fanfared change is that the USPS now can change postage rates on short notice, and they no longer have to break even: it is now also OK for them to hoard profits or spend it any way they want, so enjoy mailing while you can afford it.
JJKizak wrote on 5/16/2007, 8:42 AM
Interestingly after talking to the mail clerks at our post office the number one item that is being mailed today is DVD's. It has taken over even from junk mail. I also found out that bubble pacs get beat to death in overseas mail with broken cases inside, as my friends have curtiously told me.
RalphM wrote on 5/16/2007, 8:46 AM
I send "proof" DVDs in a paper envelope inside a 6X9 envelope - the same form factor that Netflix uses. They did go for the first class one ounce rate. Will have to see what the non-machinable rate is.

Priority mail can be a bargain, especially since the boxes are free. Since the USPS goes by weight, large light boxes are usually best with them. Heavier boxes of the same dimensions are usually less expensive via FedEx Ground.
Coursedesign wrote on 5/16/2007, 9:38 AM
bubble pacs get beat to death in overseas mail with broken cases inside, as my friends have curtiously told me.

Bubble bags don't look so pretty on arrival, but what cases are these to break? I only use unbreakable cases.

Did your friends tell you this curtly or courteously? :O)

Heavier boxes of the same dimensions are usually less expensive via FedEx Ground.

Ummm, depends. 1) Watch out for surcharges.
From my current FedEx bill, one example for a FedEx shipment to a Virginia customer:
FedEx Home $3.00 more than FedEx Ground (no choice here!)
Indirect Signature $1.50 (FedEx guy signs himself when dropping off on customer's doorstep)
Fuel Surcharge $2.26
Delivery Area Surcharge $2.20 (for delivery to a rural area)

The USPS won't have any of these surcharges.

So..., I use USPS Priority Mail for low weight residential customers and FedEx Ground to business customers where FedEx has better rates and faster delivery (yes, that too).

Another factor is that I never ship anything valuable by USPS, not even with Insurance.

How can you lose with Insurance? Easy. I mailed a $500 package by Priority Mail Insured from L.A. to Seattle, expected time en route 3 days. Customer calls 4 days later and asks, "Where's my package?" Customer then calls one week later very angry (not at the USPS of course), and asks "Where's my #$%^@ package?"

I call the USPS to file a claim only to be told, "Sorry, you'll have to wait six weeks first, because we may have shipped your package to Arkansas instead, and then we'll just give you a postage refund."

FedEx has 17 tracking points en route, so when they mess up they know exactly when and where they messed up, and you get an immediate credit. (UPS has 8 tracking points en route.)
vicmilt wrote on 5/16/2007, 9:54 AM

When it COUNTS - i.e. masters to stations or duplicators, etc.
FedEx is the only way to go - they have never dropped the ball on me in almost twenty years - buy you pay for that kind of reliability.

USPS Prioriy has been very reliable, as well - but I only use them for retail trade, where no "lives are lost" on late deliveries.

Aside: Reminds me of a cartoon that made the rounds in NYC a long time ago...
Picture an operating table - doctors, nurses, etc.
Nurse: Doctor - it's too late - we lost the patient.
Doctor: Thank God it wasn't a TV Commercial.

yeh man - them's the priorities we live by.

AZEdit wrote on 5/16/2007, 12:02 PM
About mailing DVDs...I don't like to sell on this site, but we have a flexible DVD that you can mail out via standard mail. We just attached this disc to 6x9 postcards for a client and did a bulk mail @ $0.16 each and sent several via standard mail with the new postage stamp. I know this does not help for small orders since the minimum order is 1,000 pieces. Any member of this forum, if interested, can order these from us for $0.76 each and that includes 4 color offset print. Next price break at 2500. Sorry to sell here, but this can help out???
Coursedesign wrote on 5/16/2007, 4:58 PM
Hmmm, don't you need to polywrap these if they're just flexible DVDs attached to postcards?

If so, it seems the new regs this week treats them as nonmachinable, or is that only for First Class?
JJKizak wrote on 5/17/2007, 5:54 AM
The cases were the "El Cheapo" thin slim jewel type. This was a group of DVD's sent to my old buddy overseas.
baysidebas wrote on 5/17/2007, 10:41 AM
Actually, while the one ounce first class rate has gone up from .39 to .41, the two ounce rate has dropped from .63 to .58. My guess is that it will last only as long as the ratemakers don't realize the precedent they've set.