Should I send dvds via media mail?
April 26, 2009 11:02 AM   Subscribe

I am considering moving my DVD and books via media it a bad idea?

I am moving and don't have much room in my car so I am thinking of sending my books, dvds and some clothes via mail. I've estimated the cost and I am ok with that, but I am concerned about my dvds and books getting stolen. I have received books and other media items via mail before, but not this large of a quality (approx 100 dvds, and 50 or so books). I could insure them but I just don't want to lose them. Has any one done this via usps or ups successfully? I was told that all media mail go through inspections. I've had valuable parcels not arriving the destinations and am concerned that people will pick out the dvd and books they want and reseal. I'd appreciate it.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've mailed ten or so boxes of books and stuff coast to coast with no problems. The boxes were not handled gently but that was mostly okay. Insurance is cheap, insure them. And no, not all media mail go through inspection, all media mail may be inspected (i.e. assume your package might be inspected) and if it's not media items you'd get charged full postage rates.
posted by jessamyn at 11:04 AM on April 26, 2009

I've sent tons of stuff media mail and never had any problems. They may check it to see if it actually qualifies for media mail but honestly that has never happened to me. Sometimes it takes a long time (and sometimes it's quick), but it always arrives.
posted by bradbane at 11:08 AM on April 26, 2009

I've done this multiple times, most recently moving over 1000 DVDs. Never had a problem. Insurance is pretty cheap, so on top of the already-cheap Media Mail rates, it's a good idea. Maybe make an inventory of what's in each box, in case one gets lost you'll know what was in it.
posted by doift at 11:12 AM on April 26, 2009

I've done this in the past, coast-to-coast, with five or six boxes of books. Shipping was cheap, and insurance was cheap also. Make sure your boxes are very sturdy; I used moving boxes from U-Haul and they arrived in absolutely terrible shape, with USPS having to tape the hell out of them, but my books were all perfect. Or just use a number of smaller boxes: you'll make your life and that of postal workers easier that way.
posted by halogen at 11:24 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's worked for me numerous times. I've even shipped books from France this way. I also endorse the above statements that you need to pack the books very, very well. Small boxes, as light as possible, filled firmly to the top with your goods and lots of padding, and no room inside for things to shift around.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:29 AM on April 26, 2009

I've had mixed luck; one or two boxes have arrived very beaten up, and one disappeared. (As far as I can tell based on tracking info, it entered one airport's freight area and never left.) However, I've successfully sent a great deal of other stuff, and I never saw any signs that my books had been inspected, nor did I find single items missing from any box. I'd definitely recommend insuring your books and making a list of which books were in which box.
posted by ubersturm at 11:36 AM on April 26, 2009

Echoing the comments that media mail has always worked well for me. Also, if you pack the DVDs or Books with spine side up, you can use a digital camera for quick inventories.
posted by meinvt at 11:49 AM on April 26, 2009

I've done this more times than I can count, probably a total of 75 boxes or so. I've lost one box and had one that arrived battered (but I think the books were ok). Not a bad track record. Just use new, sturdy boxes, do a layer of padding, fill the boxes completely and tape them securely.
posted by lunasol at 11:53 AM on April 26, 2009

I've done this a number of times, probably moving about 20 boxes back and forth over the years. One box never showed up - I had tracking on it, and it arrived in my city and then just "got lost." For some reason media mail does seem to go missing more than normal mail, so make sure you insure the box.
posted by barnone at 11:54 AM on April 26, 2009

I've had boxes of books shipped to me via media mail. I would definitely pay the few extra dollars for insurance if it's allowed, and I wouldn't mail anything expensive or irreplaceable because the boxes tend to get rather beaten up.
posted by muddgirl at 11:56 AM on April 26, 2009

I *really* like b1tr0t's idea.
posted by Precision at 1:31 PM on April 26, 2009

I had the same experience as uberstrum, I shipped 6 boxes of CDs, DVDs and Books, and received 5 of them (never did receive the 6th, and of course it was the one with all of my collectible books...) and two of the other boxes were really busted up. Just remember that media mail is basically 4th class, which is why it's so cheap.

I think insuring and inventorying is a great idea. Also, 2nding b1tr0t, if you've got room, I would HIGHLY recommend putting your DVD Discs into a binder and keeping them with you, that way you're only shipping the cases. I bought two big CD Binders at wal mart for next to nothing and they did the trick admirably.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 1:37 PM on April 26, 2009

I'll third b1tr0t. There's no reason to carry all those cases around. It's such a waste of space. Just buy the binders (which also hold the paper liners of the CDs and DVDs) and get rid of the plastic DVD cases (unless they're specially designed or a box set). You'll then be able to easily transport your entire collection. The binders are compact enough that you'll be able to squeeze them into the corners of your car or even under the seats. I opted for binders long ago and never looked back, but I also don't feel any need to display my DVDs or CDs in the house. They are tucked away in a drawer in their sleeves. Less dust too.
posted by wherever, whatever at 2:20 PM on April 26, 2009

I sent over 50 boxes of books media mail last time I moved; all of them arrived within two weeks and in decent, if not perfect condition. I was sending so many boxes that the PO did open and inspect them; and charged me regular postage for a couple of boxes where I'd used socks instead of packing materials to stop the books from moving around in transit, so do be aware that it should be just books. For instance, I don't think b1tr0t's idea would work, because cases by themselves are not media. Depends how anal your postal workers are, though -- at other post offices I've worked with, they've insisted on sending non-completely-media packages as media mail if the weight was high enough, patiently "wink wink"ing me through the "is there anything else apart from media in this package?" question despite my startling ability to be obtuse.
posted by obliquicity at 2:25 PM on April 26, 2009

Insurance is a cheap add-on that's always worth it for cases like this.
posted by rokusan at 3:28 PM on April 26, 2009

When I moved cross-country I sent four boxes via media mail. Only one arrived and it was in sorry shape. As someone up-thread said, don't use the packing boxes from U-Haul. Tape the hell out of them. Get insurance. And maybe bring your favorites with you.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:33 PM on April 26, 2009

Small boxes, LOTS of tape, delivery confirmation and insurance.
posted by wcfields at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2009

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