How Long Does Media Mail Take? All You NEED to Know

David Hughes
By David Hughes 14 Min Read
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Have you ever wondered just how quickly Media Mail gets from one place to another in 2022? Well, you’re in the right spot because that’s exactly what we’re diving into today. Now, it’s important to know that the delivery time for Media Mail isn’t always the same—it can change depending on a few things. So, let’s jump in and figure this out together!

What is USPS Media Mail?

So, what’s the deal with USPS Media Mail? It’s this super cool service from the United States Postal Service that’s all about helping you save money when you need to send books, DVDs, or sheets of music. And get this: you can ship up to a whopping 70 pounds!

But here’s the catch—it’s not the fastest kid on the block. While it’s saving you some bucks, it does take a bit longer than the other USPS options like Priority or First-Class Mail. So, it’s kind of like choosing between getting a great deal or getting it there super fast.

How Long Does Media Mail In 2022?

Alright, let’s talk turkey. How long does it actually take for Media Mail to reach its destination in 2022? The USPS tells us that we’re looking at a window of about 2 to 8 business days. On average, you’re likely to see your package reach its new home in around 4 days, but remember, that’s just an average.

Now, you might be wondering, why does it take longer than Priority or First-Class Mail? Well, it’s all about how it gets from A to B. Media Mail takes a road trip, sticking to ground transportation, while the other types of mail might catch a flight or take a faster route. So, it’s like the scenic route for your books and DVDs, taking in the sights and sounds before it lands on your doorstep.

Why is Media Mail Slower than other USPS Services?

Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into why Media Mail tends to take a leisurely stroll compared to other USPS services. It’s all about the journey on the road. Since Media Mail strictly travels via ground transportation, the distance from the sender to the receiver plays a huge role in how fast that package gets delivered.

This means that shipping times can really vary. For instance, if you’re sending a package from New York to Boston, it’s probably going to get there pretty quickly. But if that package is headed all the way to LA? Well, that’s a whole different story—it’s going to take a bit longer.

Another thing to think about is how often trucks are heading to a certain area. Media Mail needs to hitch a ride on a USPS truck, and if you’re sending something to a place that’s a bit out of the way or doesn’t get mail delivered as frequently, it could mean a longer wait.

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And for those really remote spots, or if you’re sending something outside the contiguous U.S., be prepared—it could take more than 8 days for your Media Mail package to arrive. So, while Media Mail is great for saving money, it’s the tortoise in the race, slow and steady, taking its time to reach the finish line.

How Long Does Media Mail Take Compared to Other USPS Services?

Alright, let’s line them up and see how Media Mail stacks up against the other USPS big shots when it comes to speed.

Media Mail is like the chill, laid-back cousin in the USPS family—it’s budget-friendly but takes its sweet time. On the other hand, you’ve got services like Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Mail that are all about getting your stuff where it needs to go, and fast.

Take Priority Mail Express, for example. This service is like the superhero of mail delivery—it can get your package from one end of the country to the other in just a day or two. And if you’re really in a rush, it even comes with a next-day delivery guarantee for certain destinations. That’s pretty impressive!

Next up, Priority Mail. It’s a bit like the middle sibling—not as speedy as Express, but definitely quicker than Media Mail. We’re talking 1 to 3 business days to get your package delivered.

And then there’s First-Class Mail. This service is perfect for letters, small packages, and anything that needs to get somewhere fast. It can take anywhere from 1 to 5 business days to deliver, depending on where it’s headed.

Now, bring back Media Mail into the picture. With delivery times ranging up to 8 business days, and sometimes even longer, it’s clear that there’s a pretty big difference in speed when you compare it to the other USPS services.

So, while Media Mail is fantastic for your wallet, especially when you’re shipping heavy books or DVDs, it’s important to know that it’s taking the scenic route and won’t be breaking any speed records.

How Long Does Media Mail Take Compared to UPS Ground & FedEx Ground?

Alright, let’s talk about how Media Mail holds up against some other popular ground shipping options like UPS Ground and FedEx Ground.

First off, it’s worth noting that all three of these services stick to the ground for deliveries, which means they’re all playing on the same field. But even then, there are some differences in how fast they can get your package from Point A to Point B.

UPS Ground and FedEx Ground: These guys are like the athletes of ground shipping. They’ve got a strong network and are really good at moving packages over long distances quickly. Whether you’re sending something to the next town over or across the country, they can get your package delivered in about 1 to 5 business days when you’re shipping within the contiguous U.S.

Media Mail: This is where things slow down a bit. As we’ve talked about before, Media Mail is more of a budget-friendly option, perfect for shipping books, DVDs, and music. However, it takes its time on the road, with delivery times ranging from 2 to 8 business days. It’s the tortoise in this race, moving at a steady but slower pace compared to UPS Ground and FedEx Ground.

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So, while all three services are limited by the same factors—things like distance and how often trucks go to certain areas—UPS and FedEx have a bit of an edge when it comes to speed. They’ve built up an efficient network for long-distance ground deliveries, which means they can get your package where it needs to go a bit quicker than Media Mail can.

In a nutshell, if time is of the essence and you need your package delivered pronto, UPS Ground or FedEx Ground might be your best bet. But if you’re looking to save some cash and you’re shipping media items, Media Mail is still a solid choice—it just might take a little longer to reach its destination.

Why Use Media Mail if it is Slower than Competing Services?

Now you might be wondering, “If Media Mail is slower than the other options, why would anyone choose to use it?” Well, the answer is pretty simple: it’s all about saving money, especially when you’re shipping media items.

Media Mail is like the bargain shopper of the mailing world—it might not get your package there as quickly as the other options, but it will definitely be kinder to your wallet. This is the biggest perk of choosing Media Mail and why so many people go this route when they’re sending books, DVDs, or music.

Just think about it. If you have a package that would cost you $4.59 to send via Media Mail, sending that same package via Priority Mail could cost you $11.95. That’s more than double the price!

Sure, it might take up to 5 days longer for your package to arrive with Media Mail, but if you’re not in a huge rush and time isn’t super critical, the savings can really make it worth it.

So, in the grand scheme of things, Media Mail holds its own by offering a super cost-effective option for sending media items through the mail. It’s all about weighing the pros and cons, and if saving money is at the top of your priority list, Media Mail is definitely a winner.

What Can Be Sent Using Media Mail?

As we wrap up our deep dive into Media Mail, let’s talk about what you can actually send using this service. Media Mail has specific rules about what qualifies, so it’s important to know what’s in and what’s out.

Valid Media Mail Items

  • Books (as long as they have at least 8 pages)
  • 16mm or Narrower Width Films: Perfect for those old-school film buffs.
  • Printed Music and Test Materials: For all the musicians and students out there.
  • Video and Sound Recordings: Think CDs and DVDs.
  • Playscripts and Manuscripts: For the writers and actors.
  • Printed Educational Reference Charts: Great for teachers and educators.
  • Medical Loose-Leaf Pages and Binders: A must for medical professionals.
  • Computer-Readable Media: Think CDs with software or data.

Invalid Media Mail Items

  • Video Games: Sorry, gamers, you’ll need to choose a different shipping option.
  • Computer Drives: Whether it’s an external hard drive or a thumb drive, it’s a no-go.
  • Digital Drives: Any kind of digital storage device doesn’t make the cut.
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In a nutshell, Media Mail is perfect for shipping educational materials, artistic works, and pretty much any kind of media you can think of, as long as it’s not a digital storage device. It’s an affordable way to send books, CDs, DVDs, and more, making it a favorite for students, teachers, artists, and anyone who needs to ship media items without breaking the bank.


And there we have it, folks! We’ve traveled through the ins and outs of USPS Media Mail, uncovering the details of this budget-friendly shipping option. Whether you’re a bookworm looking to send your favorite novel to a friend, a student shipping off materials for a big project, or just someone who loves a good deal on shipping, Media Mail has something to offer.

We’ve learned that while Media Mail might take its time on the road, sticking strictly to ground transportation and sometimes taking up to 8 business days (or even more for remote areas), the savings it offers can make it well worth the wait. It’s a stellar choice for shipping media items, as long as they fall within the USPS’s guidelines.

Comparatively, Media Mail takes a slower pace than its USPS counterparts like Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Mail. And when pitted against the ground shipping options of UPS and FedEx, it still lags behind in speed. But the significant cost savings can tip the scales in its favor for many shippers.

We’ve also dived into what items are Media Mail approved, helping you to know what can hitch a ride with this service. And while it has its restrictions and can’t carry everything, for books, CDs, DVDs, and other media items, it’s a match made in shipping heaven.

So, whether you’re looking to pinch pennies on your next book shipment, or just curious about the slower, scenic route of package delivery, Media Mail offers a unique shipping option tailored for media items. Happy shipping, and may your packages be both budget-friendly and swiftly (enough) delivered!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Media Mail?

Media Mail is a cost-effective way to send educational materials, such as books, films, music, printed music, and other media-related content.

2. How long does Media Mail take?

The delivery time for Media Mail usually takes between 2 to 8 business days to arrive at its destination, depending on the distance and the destination.

3. How much does Media Mail cost?

The cost of Media Mail varies based on the size and weight of the package, with prices starting at $2.80. The price is determined by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

4. Can I track my Media Mail package?

Yes, you can track your Media Mail package using the USPS tracking system. The tracking number can be found on your shipping receipt.

5. What items are eligible for Media Mail?

Items that are educational or informative, such as books, CDs, DVDs, sheet music, and other printed media, are eligible for Media Mail. However, advertising is not allowed, and items must be under 70 pounds.

6. Is Media Mail insured?

No, Media Mail is not insured. However, you can purchase additional insurance for your Media Mail package at an additional cost.

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