US Postal Service M-bags shipping
I believe that since writing this article the M-bags service has been discontinued. For more info please visit the United States Postal Service
M-bags is a special service to send books or printed matter to an international address at a reduced postage rate.
Example (shipping to England):
||Economy (Surface) Parcel Post
||Economy (Surface) M-bags
|Delivery time 4-6 weeks
Requirements and conditions:
- Material being shipped must be printed matter (books, magazines, sheet music, catalogues etc.).
- Maximum weight is 66 pounds (there is no minimum weight, M-bags that weigh less than 11 pounds are still required to pay the applicable 11-pound postage rate - see tips).
- M-bag must have a #2976 Customs Form completed and attached to the M-bag tag (PS Tag 158).
- M-bags can be shipped using Airmail or Economy (Surface) mail.
- M-bags can be mailed to all destination countries.
- Certificate of mailing, recorded delivery, return receipt, and restricted delivery are available. Registry and insurance are not available.
- Go to US Postal Service Site.
- Choose "Calculate Postage".
- Choose "Calculate International Postage".
- Choose "Volume Mailing".
- Select a country.
- Choose "M-bags"
- Choose "Airmail M-bags" for airmail, "Economy M-bags Books and Publisher" for economy (surface) mail.
- Enter the package weight, click "Add item"
- Click "OK, that's it".
- Choose a Certificate of Mailing option or "None", click "Continue".
In order to send items in an M-bag, just prepare them the same as you would for any other method, in one or more boxes, with the mailing and return addresses on each piece. At the post office they will put your packages into the bag with the recipient's address and the customs form on a tag that gets tied to the top of the bag.
- M-bag can be obtained from the post office.
- Package the printed matter in a sturdy box(es). It should be able to withstand the abuse it might encounter on its way (see tips).
- Label the box with the complete address of the recipient and your complete return address. In the upper right corner of the box (where postage would normally go), write in the words POSTAGE PAID BY M-BAG.
- Insert the box(es) into the M-bag, tightly close and secure the neck of the sack.
- Complete the M-bag tag (PS Tag 158) and attach it to the mail sack.
- Complete the #2976 Customs Form and attach it to the M-bag tag over the large block "M".
- Select service class by writing "Surface" or "Air" on the M-Bag tag (tags not marked will default to the surface class).
|#2976 Customs Form
||PS Tag 158
- It is advisable to call the post office in advance to confirm that they carry M-bags.
- The charge for packages that weigh less than 11 pounds is as if they weighed 11 pounds. That means that often more books and extra packaging and padding material can be added to the package at no extra cost.
Ebay sellers - you can often sell additional books to an overseas customer and his shipping charge will not change!
- Always ship hardcover books in a sturdy box. Be sure they aren't loose enough inside their carton(s) to shift around. Bubble wrap should be used for padding and extra protection. Also, always wrap the books in something waterproof first.
- Inexpensive boxes can be bought from Associated Bag Company. They have large choice, fast, inexpensive shipping and very good prices. For example: 11 3/8 x 8 3/4 x 2 1/4 inch boxes, $0.37 each, quantity 50.
Links and References