Media Mail Rates Creep Upward, USPS Tracking Spikes 16%

USPS rates rose again this month: Media Mail creeps upward, USPS Tracking fee jumps 16%, rising from 90 cents per package to $1.05 per package. Since the rates went into effect at the beginning of this month, I've noticed that my per-package shipping costs are averaging about $3.75. Add in the cost of shipping materials such as envelopes, shrink wrap, and tape, and it's not hard to see that our shipping and packaging costs per item now exceed what Amazon passes along to use from the $3.99 fee it collects from online book purchases made by its customers.

I've considered at times dropping the USPS Tracking fee of $1.05. I haven't done that yet, as I think adding that additional free service to my customers make my listings stand out.

And, as I point out in my book, "How to Make Easy Money Selling Your Old Used Books on Amazon," if you sell 100 books a month on Amazon and your extra fees like USPS Tracking total $105 a month, that's like opening a retail bookstore with built-in traffic and your rent is $25 a week.

It's a cost of doing business. An ever-increasing part of doing business.

Recent news reports that Amazon is leaning toward increasing its Prime membership costs from $79 a year by $20 to $40 give me hope that Amazon may also consider upping its per-item shipping cost to $4.50. This would be a 12.8% increase, still less than what the US Post Office has decided to charge its best customers. I think Amazon customers would be OK with that charge; however, I do think there would be some pushback if the rate increased $1.00 from $3.99 to $4.99 per item ordered. I could be wrong, but I think that price point might start scaring off customers... or pushing them to buy the Amazon Prime membership that Amazon has decided to increase from about $6.25 a month to $8-$10 a month.

Long term I see the Amazon Marketplace shipping model for booksellers changing from seller fulfilled to embracing the 'Fulfilled By Amazon' model.
Until then, many of us will continue to fill orders working from home, paying the extra 99 cents per item to keep control of inventory, attention to detail on packaging, and keeping monthly costs in check.

In any case, I have included the new USPS Media Mail rates below to help you get an idea of shipping expenses for single books that weight 1 or 2 pounds, to book lots that may weigh in at 15-20 pounds.

Media Mail still affords every bookseller and media seller fantastic rates compared to other forms of small-item shipping, making home-based bookstores profitable ventures even in 2014.

Media Mail Rates (updated Feb. 2014)
Weight Not Over (lbs)
Single Piece
1
2.69
2
3.17
3
3.65
4
4.13
5
4.61
6
5.09
7
5.57
8
6.03
9
6.49
10
6.95
11
7.41
12
7.87
13
8.33
14
8.79
15
9.25
16
9.71
17
10.17
18
10.63
19
11.09
20
11.55
21
12.01
22
12.47
23
12.93
24
13.39
25
13.85
26
14.31
27
14.77
28
15.23
29
15.69
30
16.15


If you add USPS Tracking, add $1.05 to each shipment. Although not required, this tracking service is a valuable way to stand out from the crowd of Amazon Third-Party Sellers by adding additional service to your customers.