Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual > 100 Retail Mail Letters, Cards, Flats, and Parcels > 170 Retail MailMedia Mail and Library Mail
1.0 Prices and Fees
2.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Media Mail and Library Mail
3.0 General Content Standards
4.0 Content Standards for Media Mail
5.0 Content Standards for Library Mail
6.0 Enclosures and Attachments for both Media Mail and Library Mail
Media Mail and Library Mail prices are based on the weight of the piece without regard to zone. See Notice 123—Price List for single-piece prices.
Media Mail and Library Mail pieces are charged per pound or fraction thereof; any fraction of a pound is considered a whole pound. The minimum postage per piece is for a piece weighing 1 pound. Affix the correct postage to each piece.
To determine single-piece weight in any mailing of nonidentical-weight pieces, weigh each piece individually. To determine single-piece weight in a mailing of identical-weight pieces, weigh a sample group of at least 10 randomly selected pieces and divide the total sample weight by the number of pieces in the sample. Express all single-piece weights in decimal pounds rounded off to four decimal places.
To compute the total postage for a mailing, for each weight increment multiply the number of pieces by the applicable price per piece.
Media Mail and Library Mail are subclasses of Package Services.
Media Mail and Library Mail are not sealed against postal inspection. Regardless of physical closure, the mailing of articles at Media Mail or Library Mail prices constitutes consent by the mailer to postal inspection of the contents.
All Media Mail and Library Mail must bear a delivery address. The delivery address on each piece must include the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code. Each piece must bear the sender‘s return address.
Mailable matter meeting one of the specific eligibility standards in 4.0 for Media Mail and 5.0 for Library Mail, and that is neither mailed or required to be mailed as First-Class Mail nor entered as Periodicals, may be mailed as Media Mail or Library Mail, respectively.
Only these items may be mailed at the Media Mail prices:
- Books, including books issued to supplement other books, of at least eight printed pages, consisting wholly of reading matter or scholarly bibliography, or reading matter with incidental blank spaces for notations and containing no advertising matter other than incidental announcements of books. Advertising includes paid advertising and the publishers‘ own advertising in display, classified, or editorial style.
- 16-millimeter or narrower width films, which must be positive prints in final form for viewing, and catalogs of such films of 24 pages or more (at least 22 of which are printed). Films and film catalogs sent to or from commercial theaters do not qualify for the Media Mail price.
- Printed music, whether in bound or sheet form.
- Printed objective test materials and their accessories used by or on behalf of educational institutions to test ability, aptitude, achievement, interests, and other mental and personal qualities with or without answers, test scores, or identifying information recorded thereon in writing or by mark.
- Sound recordings, including incidental announcements of recordings and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such recordings. Video recordings and player piano rolls are classified as sound recordings.
- Playscripts and manuscripts for books, periodicals, and music.
- Printed educational reference charts designed to instruct or train individuals for improving or developing their capabilities. Each chart must be a single printed sheet of information designed for educational reference. The information on the chart, which may be printed on one or both sides of the sheet, must be conveyed primarily by graphs, diagrams, tables, or other nonnarrative matter. An educational reference chart is normally but not necessarily devoted to one subject. A chart on which the information is conveyed primarily by textual matter in a narrative form does not qualify as a printed educational reference chart for mailing at the Media Mail prices even if it includes graphs, diagrams, or tables. Examples of qualifying charts include maps produced primarily for educational reference, tables of mathematical or scientific equations, noun declensions or verb conjugations used in the study of languages, periodic table of elements, botanical or zoological tables, and other tables used in the study of science.
- Loose-leaf pages and their binders consisting of medical information for distribution to doctors, hospitals, medical schools, and medical students.
- Computer-readable media containing prerecorded information and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such media.
Enclosures in books mailed at Media Mail prices are subject to these additional standards:
- Either one envelope or one addressed postcard may be bound into the pages of a book. If also serving as an order form, the envelope or card may be in addition to the order form permitted by 4.2b.
- One order form may be bound into the pages of a book. If also serving as an envelope or postcard, the order form may be in addition to the envelope or card permitted by 4.2a.
- Announcements of books may appear as book pages. These announcements must be incidental and exclusively devoted to books, without extraneous advertising of book-related or other materials or services. Announcements may describe the conditions of ordering books and may contain ordering instructions for use with a separate order form. Up to three of these announcements may contain as part of their format a single order form, which may be a postcard. The order forms permitted with these announcements are in addition to order forms that may be enclosed under 4.2a or 4.2b.
Each piece must show in the address or return address the name of a school, college, university, public library, museum, or herbarium or the name of a nonprofit (as defined in 703.1.0) religious, educational, scientific, philanthropic (charitable), agricultural, labor, veterans, or fraternal organization or association. Only the articles described in 5.0 may be mailed at the Library Mail price.
The items described in this section may be mailed at the Library Mail price when sent between: (1) schools, colleges, universities, public libraries, museums, and herbariums and nonprofit religious, educational, scientific, philanthropic (charitable), agricultural, labor, veterans, and fraternal organizations or associations; (2) any such institution, organization, or association and an individual who has no financial interest in the sale, promotion, or distribution of the materials; or (3) any such institution, organization, or association and a publisher, if such institution, organization, or association has placed an order to buy such materials for delivery to itself:
- Books, consisting wholly of reading matter, scholarly bibliography, or reading matter with incidental blank spaces for notations and containing no advertising, except for incidental announcements of books.
- Printed music, whether in bound or sheet form.
- Bound volumes of academic theses, whether in typewritten or duplicated form.
- Periodicals, whether bound or unbound.
- Sound recordings.
- Other library materials in printed, duplicated, or photographic form or in the form of unpublished manuscripts.
- Museum materials, specimens, collections, teaching aids, printed matter, and interpretive materials for informing and furthering the educational work and interests of museums and herbariums.
The following specific items may be mailed at the Library Mail price when sent to or from schools, colleges, universities, public libraries, museums, and herbariums and to or from nonprofit religious, educational, scientific, philanthropic (charitable), agricultural, labor, veterans, or fraternal organizations:
- 16-millimeter or narrower width films, filmstrips, transparencies, slides, and microfilms. All must be positive prints in final form for viewing.
- Sound recordings.
- Museum materials, specimens, collections, teaching aids, printed matter, and interpretive materials intended for informing and furthering the educational work and interests of museums and herbariums.
- Scientific or mathematical kits, instruments, or other devices.
- Catalogs of the materials in 5.3a through 5.3d and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such materials.
Books and sound recordings mailed at the Library Mail price may contain these enclosures as well as the additions and enclosures permitted under 6.0:
- Either one envelope or one addressed postcard. If also serving as an order form, the envelope or card may be in addition to the order form permitted by 5.4b.
- One order form. If also serving as an envelope or postcard, the order form may be in addition to the envelope or card permitted by 5.4a.
- With books, announcements of books in book pages or as loose enclosures. These announcements must be incidental and exclusively devoted to books, without extraneous advertising of book-related materials or services. Announcements may describe the conditions of ordering books (such as by membership in book clubs) and may contain ordering instructions for use with the single order form permitted in 5.4b.
- With sound recordings, announcements of sound recordings on title labels, on protective sleeves, on the carton or wrapper, or on loose enclosures. These announcements of sound recordings must be incidental and exclusively devoted to sound recordings, without extraneous advertising of recording-related materials or services. Announcements may describe the conditions of ordering sound recordings and may contain ordering instructions for use with the single order form permitted in 5.4b.
Material mailed at the Library Mail price other than books and sound recordings may contain only those additions and enclosures permitted under 6.0.
In addition to the enclosures and additions listed in 4.2 for Media Mail and 5.4 for Library Mail, any printed matter that is mailable as USPS Marketing Mail may be included loose with any qualifying material mailed at the Media Mail or Library Mail prices.
Markings that have the character of personal correspondence require, with certain exceptions, additional postage at the First-Class Mail prices. The following written additions and enclosures do not require additional First-Class Mail postage:
- The sender‘s and the addressee‘s names, occupations, and addresses, preceded by “From” or “To,” and directions for handling.
- Marks, numbers, names, or letters describing the contents.
- Words or phrases such as “Do Not Open Until Christmas” and “Happy Birthday, Mother.”
- Instructions and directions for the use of the item mailed.
- A manuscript dedication or inscription not having the nature of personal correspondence.
- Marks to call attention to words or passages in the text.
- Corrections of typographical errors in printed matter.
- Manuscripts accompanying related proof sheets and corrections of proof sheets including corrections of typographical and other errors, changes in the text, insertions of new text, marginal instructions to the printer, and corrective rewrites of parts.
- Hand-stamped imprints, unless the added material is in itself personal or converts the original matter to a personal communication.
- Matter mailable separately as USPS Marketing Mail printed on the wrapper, envelope, tag, or label.
An invoice, whether it also serves as a bill, may be placed either inside a Media Mail or Library Mail piece or in an envelope marked “Invoice Enclosed” and attached to the outside of the piece if the invoice relates solely to the matter with which it is mailed. The invoice may show this information:
- Names and addresses of the sender and addressee.
- Names and quantities of the articles enclosed, descriptions of each (e.g., price, tax, style, stock number, size, and quality, and, if defective, nature of defects).
- Order or file number, date of order, date and manner of shipment, shipping weight, postage paid, and initials or name of packer or checker.
Incidental First-Class Mail matter may be enclosed in or attached to any Media Mail or Library Mail piece without payment of First-Class Mail postage. An incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure must be matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class Mail postage, is closely associated with but secondary to the host piece, and is prepared so as not to interfere with postal processing. An incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure may be a bill for the product or publication, a statement of account for past products or publications, or a personal message or greeting included with a product, publication, or parcel. Postage at the Media Mail or Library Mail price for the host piece is based on the combined weight of the host piece and the incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure.