Cheap(er) international book/media shipping?
July 16, 2013 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I need to ship a bunch of books internationally; is there a better option than USPS M-bags?

I have (roughly) one large moving box full of books which I need to ship from San Diego to Stockholm, Sweden to a single addressee. Previously I've used a USPS M-bag for a smaller load, but the cost of shipping was not at all cheap (around $90, I think). The speed of shipment does not matter at all; the shipping can take months if necessary.

Is there some cheaper method?
posted by beerbajay to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
 
Used to be that there was a lower rate for shipping printed matter, since by definition it's so heavy. Hard to find non-business specifics on the USPS website; have you tried phoning or going to your local post office in person? They were really helpful when I needed to do the same from Eugene (Oregon) to France. The key term to use is "printed matter". There can't be anything else in the boxes (books, magazines, all OK; personal correspondence, not OK, and yeah they do check).
posted by fraula at 10:35 AM on July 16, 2013


Also look for the term "media mail", travels very low priority/slow. Not sure if it's international.
posted by sammyo at 12:39 PM on July 16, 2013


"Media mail" is not international, domestic only.

What you're looking for is a shipping method for "printed matter". M-bag is the best deal you're going to get as a consumer.

Your other options may be to make a deal with someone who has an account with fedex/ups or even usps (for international shipments) and pay what they pay.

But yeah, sending books internationally sucks. Can you ship from outside the States?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:44 PM on July 16, 2013


Do you have to ship the paper? Maybe try one of the commercial book scan services. Usually a buck a book to scan to PDF.
posted by Gotanda at 12:52 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could, theoretically, ship from Mexico, though this would probably be more trouble than it's worth (in the car for an hour, border crossing, etc). Scanning to PDF is not an option, since it's the physical books that matter in this case.
posted by beerbajay at 9:42 AM on July 17, 2013


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