Some of the links may be affiliate links, earning us a small commission if you decide to use them, allowing us to continue creating content. Read our FTC Disclosure

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

How long does Media Mail take in 2022? That’s the question we’ll answer today. The fact is, Media Mail delivery speeds do vary. Let’s take a look.

cropped SITE ICON

SUMMARY: How Long Does Media Mail Take?

  • USPS Media Mail delivery times take between 2 to 8 days depending on distance
  • USPS does not offer guaranteed shipping times for Media Mail
  • USPS Media Mail is distributed via ground transportation only 
  • USPS Media Mail is slower than Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Mail.
  • USPS Media Mail is the most cost-effective way of sending media items 

What is USPS Media Mail?

woman question

USPS Media Mail was established to offer a cost-effective way of shipping up to 70lbs of books, DVDs, and printed music for substantially cheaper rates than Priority or First-Class Mail.

However, shipping times are longer making Media Mail slower than other USPS services.

How Long Does Media Mail In 2022?

How long does media mail take

USPS state that Media Mail shipments take between 2 to 8 business days. The average length of time for a Media Mail shipment is 4 days. These speeds are for deliveries in the US.

Part of the reason Media Mail shipments are slower than Priority or First-Class Mail is that they are distributed by ground transportation only.

Why is Media Mail Slower than other USPS Services?

cartoon snail

The fact Media Mail shipments only travel by road makes the distance between shipper and recipient the biggest variable in the speed of delivery.  

This also causes a large variation in shipping times.

For example, A Media Mail shipment between New York and Boston is going to arrive much quicker than the same package between New York and LA.

The regularity of the route is another factor. USPS has to place Media Mail shipments onto a truck.

Remote and far-off locations will have more limited ground transport options available.

Deliveries to sparsely populated areas that do not have frequent mail or destinations outside of the contiguous U.S. can see Media Mail shipment times take over 8 days in many cases.

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

how long does media mail take 1

As mentioned above, USPS Media Mail is slower than options such as Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Mail. 

For example, mail items sent via USPS Priority Mail Express can be guaranteed as next-day or 2-day delivery.

Priority Mail takes between 1 to 3 business days and First-Class Mail takes between 1 and 5 business days.

When you factor in that Media Mail can take up to 8 business days (and sometimes more), there is a significant difference in the speed when compared to other USPS services.

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

arrows in a loop

USPS Media Mail is generally slower than UPS Ground and FedEx Ground. Mail items delivered through UPS Ground will arrive between 1 to 5 days.

FedEx Ground packages also take between 1–5 business days. (To the contiguous U.S.)

As we have seen, Media Mail takes between 2 and 8 business days for the same type of delivery.

All of these services are distributed by ground transportation, so both are limited by the same factors, (predominantly distance and regularity of coverage to certain areas).

However, UPS and FedEx have a more efficient long-distance ground infrastructure. This makes delivery speeds quicker when compared to USPS Media Mail.

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

woman shrugging

The main reason to use Media Mail is that it is the cheapest way of sending media items through the mail.

This is Media Mail’s largest benefit and its biggest selling point.

If time is not of the essence, it is the most cost-effective way of sending your media mail packages within the U.S.

For example, a package that costs $4.59 to ship with Media Mail would cost $11.95 via Priority Mail to the same destination. It could take up to 5 days longer, however.

What Can Be Sent Using Media Mail?

16mm film

To wrap up this article here’s a list of the types of items you can send if you choose to use USPS Media Mail.

Valid Media Mail Items

  • Books (at least 8 pages)
  • 16mm (or narrower width) films
  • Printed music and test materials
  • Video and sound recordings
  • Playscripts and manuscripts
  • Printed educational reference charts
  • Medical loose-leaf pages and binders
  • Computer-readable media

Invalid Media Mail Items

  • Video games
  • Computer drives
  • Digital drives

Leave a Comment