The Cheapest Way to Send Magazines or Catalogs

Learn about why paying for regular mail is the best way to save money when sending magazines
ship magazines or catalogs

Ever since the Internet took over all of our lives, most advertisement takes place online…which means that magazines are slowly going out of style. Other than at airports (remember those?), the grocery store, or the doctor’s office, we don’t see much of them anymore. However, that doesn’t mean the Postal Service still doesn’t circulate its fair share of magazines around the country. In case you’re one of those individuals or businesses sending them out, this guide is all about the cheapest way to send magazines or catalogs via USPS.

USPS Marketing Mail is the Cheapest Service for Sending Magazines (in Bulk)

Hands down, the cheapest service for sending magazines or catalogs is USPS Marketing Mail. According to the postage rates sheet on the USPS website, Marketing Mail costs just 19 cents for each mail piece at Commercial Pricing Rates. Considering that the cost of one postage stamp to send a single letter is 55 cents, that’s a pretty steep savings. However, Marketing Mail comes with a big “fine print” section that you’ll need to be aware of before you start buying postage.

Pay Attention to the Minimum Quantity

The thing about Marketing Mail is that you can’t exactly use it for sending one or two magazines. You can only access Marketing Mail rates with bulk quantities. In order to qualify for these discounted prices, each mailing must meet a minimum quantity of 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail. So, that means you’ve got to send out quite a bit of these items in order to lock in those $0.19/mail piece prices…which a lot of small business shippers simply aren’t in a position do.

Envelopes Containing Magazines and Catalogs Also Qualify as “Flats”

A second alternative to Marketing Mail is regular old First-Class Mail service. That’s right…the tried and true way of sending a letter by slapping a stamp on an envelope. Most envelopes containing magazines or catalogs are what USPS classifies as “flats,” which the Postal Service explicitly wants you to send via First-Class Mail.

Since there aren’t any minimum quantities you need to meet to send flats, First-Class Mail service is often the cheapest AND easiest way to send magazines. It’s as simple as sticking a magazine inside of an envelope and slapping a stamp on it for 55 cents (or $1.10 or $1.65, depending on whether the magazine weighs 2 or 3 ounces).

Learn more about how to send “flats” with USPS.

Don’t Use Media Mail!

Another important thing to keep in mind is to never use Media Mail service when shipping magazines. Media Mail offers some of the best discounts that USPS offers, but USPS is super strict about the kinds of items that qualify for this service. Since magazines often contain some form of advertisements, USPS specifically disqualifies them from Media Mail. If you try, USPS will most likely hand the package back to you. When that happens, you’ll need to pay to send it all over again…and you’ll be out for the cost of that original postage.

Have any questions about sending magazines or catalogs with USPS? Drop us a line in the “Comments” section and we’ll get back to you!


Post a Comment
  1. Simmie Boehm

    How can I ship my issues (2020 & 2021) of magazines I have read in California to my teenage grandchildren in the East Coast so they can read them this coming summer?

  2. Carl Newman

    Can vintage (1940s) magazines be sent via media mail?

    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Carl – unfortunately those won’t qualify, either. USPS won’t allow any magazines to be sent via Media Mail, whether current or vintage because they all contain advertising (even if whatever they are advertising no longer exists). Sorry!


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