US Postal Service M-bags shipping

Important note: I believe that since writing this article the M-bags service has been discontinued. For more info please visit the United States Postal Service site.

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):

Weight (pounds) Economy (Surface) Parcel Post Economy (Surface) M-bags
Delivery time 4-6 weeks
5 $23.00 $9.90
10 $32.75 $9.90
20 $49.75 $18.00

Requirements and conditions:

Postage calculation

  1. Go to US Postal Service Site.
  2. Choose "Calculate Postage".
  3. Choose "Calculate International Postage".
  4. Choose "Volume Mailing".
  5. Select a country.
  6. Choose "M-bags"
  7. Choose "Airmail M-bags" for airmail, "Economy M-bags Books and Publisher" for economy (surface) mail.
  8. Enter the package weight, click "Add item"
  9. Click "OK, that's it".
  10. Choose a Certificate of Mailing option or "None", click "Continue".

Shipping instructions

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.

  1. M-bag can be obtained from the post office.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Insert the box(es) into the M-bag, tightly close and secure the neck of the sack.
  5. Complete the M-bag tag (PS Tag 158) and attach it to the mail sack.
  6. Complete the #2976 Customs Form and attach it to the M-bag tag over the large block "M".
  7. 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
#2976 Customs Form PS Tag 158


Links and References