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eBay Becomes USPS Compliant, No More Media Mail for Magazines

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eBay Becomes USPS Compliant, No More Media Mail for Magazines

eBay recently became compliant with USPS rules around Media Mail, according to employees during a recent podcast. The statement was prompted by a question from a seller who wondered why he could no longer print Media Mail shipping labels through eBay for magazines he sells.

“As you know, magazines technically have never qualified for media mail,” the seller asked in part. “However, I’ve been selling magazines on eBay for more than a decade with media mail because when I started selling them, I could see that all my competitors were using media mail and I wasn’t. So I called and basically the, the Help Source at eBay said that if you’re using eBay labels, you’re gonna be fine.”

However, the seller said recently eBay no longer offered the ability to print Media Mail shipping labels for magazine sales – instead, he must select either First Class or Priority Mail, which “pretty much wipes out the viability of a lot of my magazines” because of their low price compared to the high shipping rates, he said.

The podcast moderator (Jim “Griff” Griffith) replied in part, “for media mail, any pamphlet or periodical or anything that has an advertisement in it doesn’t qualify. And magazines by their nature have advertisements. They’ve never qualified for the service.

“And what we’ve done recently is the Shipping Team has figured this out and has made it for eBay labels. If your item was listed in the magazine category, when you go to print, media mail will not be an option that’s available to you. I think what Mike was hoping is that we were gonna turn it back on. And no, we won’t.”

Note: quotes above are based on a transcript of the podcast provided by eBay.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

11 thoughts on “eBay Becomes USPS Compliant, No More Media Mail for Magazines”

  1. Both the seller and the eBay rep are factually incorrect in their statements. USPS does not explicitly exclude magazines from being shipped via media mail. It is true that you cannot ship anything containing advertising via media mail, and that will exclude MANY magazines. However, not all magazines contain advertising (many commemorative issues, for example, do not), and as long as they meet the other criteria (being at least eight pages long, etc.), they actually DO qualify for media mail shipment under USPS guidelines. Thankfully, I do not print postage through eBay, but I wonder if they are going to stop allowing sellers to enter media mail as the shipment method in the magazine category altogether. Oh well, you could always just enter “economy” and ship it media.

  2. USPS specifies that periodicals are ineligible for Media Mail, so any publication that states that it is mailed at periodical rate cannot be sent Media Mail. This would apply to almost every magazine and comic book, whether or not they contain advertising. So far eBay still allows comic books to be sent Media Mail but that likely will change and should be changed. Graphic novels are generally not periodicals nor contain ads, so can be mailed Media Mail, but in the future may need to be listed in the book category to use Media Mail.

    1. Amazon offers it only for FBA. BPM is no longer accepted at retail offices but must be deposited as business mail at the Business Mail Entry Unit where the permit was issued. The permit costs $275 per year, making it uneconomical for all but the largest sellers.

  3. About time. Magazines have NEVER been allowed by the USPS. It’s about time eBay stars following the rules that everyone else has to follow. I don’t sell on eBay any more because they like to cheat and think they are the best, NOT in my book……. They’re a dictator and out to take E VERYONE that they can.

  4. What about vintage magazines?
    Since eBay profits from postage costs it’s not hard to work out why they have done this.

    Obviously eBay finds it better to profit from postage costs of one item than the fees for selling multiple items. And when I say this is an eBay no-brainer what I mean to say is it is brainless.

  5. Like jono77, I also sell a few vintage magazines. Most have obsolete advertising that if written to, the mail would come back as undeliverable, and the phone numbers [when offered] won’t work.

  6. @jono77 and @doc – I totally agree; I also sell a vintage/antique magazine occasionally. Since they are odd issues, long ago out of print and removed from any “periodical” status, and any “advertising” They may contain is useless today, they are vastly different from most listings in eBay’s “Magazine” category. Frankly, IMHO there should be a separate eBay category for these “Antique/Vintage” publications that BEGAN as magazines, but have aged into a “COLLECTIBLE” status. (Easy – set a year : pre-???? or post-????) They do not attract buyers by being “magazines,” rather they attract buyers because of the individual piece being an old piece of printed matter.

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