How can I print a USPS media rate shipping label?
June 12, 2007 5:38 PM   Subscribe

How can I print a USPS media rate shipping label?

Using, the cheapest I can ship a package via the click-and-print label creator on their website is Priority Mail, which is about $3 more than <1 lb media rate. why doesn't the usps allow me to print off a media rate shipping label from their website? i use swaptree. when i generate a shipping label through their website, it's at media rate via usps. so i know it's possible. why can't i do this? i'd use swaptree to print the label if i could, but they allow it when a trade has been accepted, and i need to ship non-swaptree stuff. This thread says that Paypal does the same thing, but I don't have paypal.

Am I missing something on the USPS site, or is there a third party service that will allow me to print media rate shipping labels?

posted by nitsuj to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And wow... all my formatting was lost, and the first letter in each sentence lowercased. WTF?
posted by nitsuj at 5:40 PM on June 12, 2007

On a Mac, I think Swordfish Express (which is now the Mac client for Endicia) will do this.

Note that it only prints the LABEL (with a delivery-confirmation barcode), not the POSTAGE. If you want to print postage, you need to use the newer Endicia client, and sign up for an Endicia account, which costs a non-trivial amount of money. But you can print labels, and get free delivery-confirmation, just by using Swordfish Express and a laser printer.

You may have to hunt around online to find Swordfish Express (I think 1.0.2 is the latest non-Endicia version), since it seems like it's been removed from their website. Maybe the newer Endicia software will print non-postage labels, but I'm not sure.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:58 PM on June 12, 2007

The newer Endicia software will print non-postage labels, but it doesn't sound as if the poster needs that. (And I don't know if you have to have an Endicia account to get it to work at all.) The poster also didn't mention being a Mac user, but Endicia has clients for Mac and Windows.

Endicia does have a free trial period if you want to try it. Unless you're shipping a lot of stuff, the monthly fee might not be worth it, but if you are it works really well. I used to have a postage meter, but I like using Endicia a lot more.
posted by litlnemo at 7:06 PM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: Sorry, I need labels that include postage. Vista user -- but I really can't believe there isn't a web-based solution for this.
posted by nitsuj at 8:17 PM on June 12, 2007

USPS online does not allow you to print media mail labels or anything that isn't priority/international, for some unknown reason. It looks like Endicia and do, however, and I would bet the other 3rd party approved PC postage places do too.

You don't really need to have a special media mail label printed, you just need to be able to print a label with the correct postage*. Unfortunately, I don't see a way to do that without either getting a postage meter service, signing up for an approved USPS PC printing service, or taking the item to the post office. If you want to do it online without having to pay an account fee, your best bet would probably be to open a PayPal account, as they allow you to create postage labels for any number of different types of postage (including media mail) without paying a fee. The Paypal system is run through PitneyBowes, one of the 3rd party services.

Sorry, neither are very good options, IMO.

*At work we ship 1000+ media mail packages each quarter, and have been for years. The media mail specs only specify that you have to "mark the mail pieces with 'media mail' in the postage area". When we first started, we just printed out small Avery labels that said "Media Mail", and pasted them immediately to the left of the postage. That worked fine until we got a postage meter that offers a way to input custom messages to the left of the postage, so now we just do that.
posted by gemmy at 9:45 PM on June 12, 2007

A sneaky way to do it is through PayPal, if you have an account. Sign in through this link. There's got to be a way to get to it through the regular link, I just never figured it out.
posted by ferociouskitty at 3:51 AM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]

And I should totally start reading the whole question before answering. So sorry!
posted by ferociouskitty at 3:51 AM on June 13, 2007 is what I use.

Alternately, you can just stick a bunch of stamps on there (you can calculate how much you need on the USPS site) and write 'media mail'.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:54 AM on June 13, 2007

(A shout out for Bookmooch!)

I go to the post office and use one of the awful little ATM-type machines and print out batches of $1.59, $2.03... stamps. It doesn't grok Media Mail, so you have to choose the custom/arbitrary amount option and enter the amount for the stamps yourself!
posted by cmiller at 7:02 AM on June 13, 2007

cmiller - you must not have mailed anything lately - those rates are no longer good, the postal service raised rates on May 14th. It's now $2.13 or $2.47 (or more).
posted by timepiece at 1:35 PM on June 13, 2007

And I should have added: Media Mail rates.
posted by timepiece at 1:36 PM on June 13, 2007

Go here:

You may have to log in first, but I think it prompts you to log in. You can fill in (among others) a media mail label that you can print out. Postage comes out of your paypal account, naturally.

I use this all the time to mail Book Mooch books. This makes it so I can just drop the book in the post office slot instead of standing in line.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:46 PM on June 24, 2007 [3 favorites]

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