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Community Member
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎12-31-2009
Accepted Solution
Can vintage magazines be shipped as USPS Media Mail?
Last month I listed and sold a years worth of 30 y/o magazines.
I used the Media Mail option on the listing and that is what the buyer paid for. The clerk at the PO informed me that I could not ship magazines as Media Mail. I explained they were 30 y/o. She said it did not matter. I now have listed 10 sets of vintage mags about to close tonight. A potential bidder has sent a message claiming that 4 Postmasters in 2 states have assured him that vintage Mags are exempt from the no advertizing provision. Now I feel like ending all ten listings early (none have been bid on) and re-listing them with the Media Mail option for shipping. Suggestions please?
Accepted Solutions: 2
everything-from-trinkets-to-treasures
Community Member
Posts: 2,479
Registered: ‎09-01-2009
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves
Why if the clerk at the PO told you directly you are not allowed are you now listening to a seller you have never met before??
The postal regs are also posted right on their website

You are required to follow postal regs, laws and eBay policies...not what other people/members tell you.
everything-from-trinkets-to-treasures
Community Member
Posts: 2,479
Registered: ‎09-01-2009
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves
No they are not exempt...they contain advertising and as such are not allowed to be shipped Media Mail.
You can also verify that with the Post Office directly

You are responsible to read the requirements for shipping methods, follow postal regulations and list accordingly
Other Answers: 13
Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-16-2012
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves

This is a valid question, the matter is indeed ambiguous, and I am glad that "Pisanioserves" had the courage to ask it.  Two criteria are cited in the answers: (1) the printed material cannot conntain "advertisements," and (2) it should be "educational material."   Concerning the advertisements exclusion, magazines or newspapers that are 30 years old (or older) typically contain ads for products that don't exist any longer.  For example, should magazines from the 1930s be excluded because they contain ads for products like Hupmobiles?  Also, there are many book dealing with advertising art that contain color photos of old ads from the 1920s-1950s for products that no longer exist.   Should those books be excluded from media mail?  Should Andy Warhol art books be excluded because of his Campbell's Soup labels?  Some books contain ads in the back page for other publications that are available or forthcoming.  Should these books be excluded because they contain an ad by the publisher?  Sometimes when you buy a book the seller inserts a small note saying "thank you for your purchase."   Does that exclude the book from eligibility for media mail?  Concerning the "educational material" criterion, I have never heard that one before.  That's obviously ridiculous because it exludes all books except college textbooks. 

The issue here is that the USPS rules may seem clear and unambiguous, but there are obviously grey areas which leave the seller on eBay pondering how best to handle it.  Legitimate questions on these issues should be answered intelligently, and not slapped in the face with judgmental responses. 

Community Member
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎12-31-2009
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves
I did take the Postal Clerks direction. The current listings have only Parcel Post as a shipping option. I did not take the potential bidders word for it. However, having received conflicting answers from different Postal Clerks (they are only human, there are a lot of regulations and they change from time to time) on other subjects, I decided to research it further. I did look it up at usps.com where it does not clearly address the question about very old magazines. Only then, did I decide to post a question here to enlist the advise of more experienced sellers. It is advice I am enlisting, not a berating. Some of your responses seem a bit harsh . It is simple and honest question.
Community Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-29-2009
Answered
[ Edited ]
in reply to pisanioserves

Here's an update to my own question for others who may be interested.  I called USPS this morning (one of the few gov't agencies open for business during the federal shutdown, thank you very much) to get clarification on sending advert-free magazines via Media Mail(MM)  What I was told is that magazines are EXCLUDED from MM in the first place- must be BOUND publications (i.e. books) or CD's or other computerized media.  

 

If that's a correct interpretation of the USPS regulations, whether or not the magazine(s) have advertisements or not is a moot point.  

Community Member
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎09-08-2003
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves

This is an important topic. Until I wrote to a seller to ask if she could get me a better rate on shipping magazines, I had no idea that media mail had this restriction. To tell you the truth, I began searching just to see if she was right about that. I couldn't believe it and I thought she must be wrong. But I have now gone to the usps.com site (before I read it here on eBay) and found that although the wording of their restrictions seems a little unclear, magazines definately would fall under the catagory of containing advertizing. They could also be considered educational material in many cases, but they DO contain advertizing.

 

I don't think anyone should be put down for asking this question. When we are uncertain, the only way to gain clarity is to ask and seek the correct information. Even then, we sometimes need to confirm it with one, two or more sources.

 

Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-24-2010
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves

I had this exact same problem.  Vintage magazines, 60 years old, advertising things not even available any more, actually being sold to someone using them as research source material.  That's important because the material must be educational according to the postal regs. found on the USPS site.  The question of containing advertisements was the grey area.  Before you read the details, here is the summary: the local post office determined THE ADVERTISEMENTS WERE FOR NON-USEABLE PRODUCTS AND WERE THEREFORE NOT ACTUALLY ADVERTISING FOR PRODUCTS FOR SALE.  THEREFORE THEY COULD BE SHIPPED MEDIA MAIL.  THE FINAL WORD CAME DOWN FROM THE CLERK SUPERVISOR AT MY LOCAL (AND THE MAIN) POSTAL BRANCH.  WHEN i GO IN, I AM TOLD, I DESCRIBE IT AS EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL AND IF NEEDED, I CALL IN THE GUY WHO MADE THE DISTINCTION (I HAVE HIS NAME).  Here is the history of how I came to this: I called the USPS' 800 number on their website and described the situation.  The woman said I should actually talk to the bulk mail processing manager for my local area and after getting my zip code, gave me that number.  I then spoke to someone at that number and she understood completely why it was a difficult call and decided to discuss it with the Clerk Supervisor (i.e. the person who would be placing the postage).  This reassured me because that is who would most likely be asking me what was in the box, and if he or she already knew the story, then I could bypass all of that by just giving my name (as the person who called earlier, etc.).  The postal service can still open and inspect the box at any time along the way and make its own determination, but my guess is they save that for stuff they suspect is pornography, large shipments that look suspicious, etc.  You should read the postal regs. on the website however because there is a lot of information about how the material should be addressed, the return address information and so on.  Plus you go in armed with the proper lingo.  One key thing to remember is that media mail like vintage magazines must be educational in nature.  Be prepared to explain in what way it is educational in nature, who is receiving it for example.  My recipient will be reviewing the material in connection with his vintage automotive research, much of which he applies to his own collection and that of organizations to which he belongs.  Sorry to be wordy but the devil is in the details and a lot of money can be saved if you get this right. (Note, put mailing labels at each layer of material (in the box, on the box, on the wrapping, etc.) in case the box is inspected and poorly re-sealed.)  see above for outcome, which is basically, call your branch and let them make the call, get the name of the person who does, describe the material as educational printed material and if need be, bring in the person who "made the call" approving it.  Good luck!  This is a common issue, I know so I hope this helps.  I'll try and repost when the box gets to its destination :smileyhappy:.

Community Member
Posts: 1,926
Registered: ‎02-13-2012
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves
When I sell magazines, I ship priority flat rate envelope if it is one or 2 mags. (with a stiff piece of cardboard) Or priority flate rate box if it is a many.

Good luck
Community Member
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎12-31-2009
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves
Thank you, Tyler. That is a very useful suggestion.
Thank you everyone else for your responses. You have clarified the matter very well.
Community Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-29-2009
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves

Thanks to the eBay community for weighing in on this.  Suggestions like "just read the regulations" are not helpful when it comes to ambiguous topics like this and only serve to discourage reasonable questions like the one that initiated this thread.  I get the 'no advertising' clause and I can see why even obsolete ads might trip the wire in the USPS' eyes.

 

I have a slightly different situation- I'm starting to auction off whole series of magazines (20+ years old => vintage) that were originally sold by subscription or from a newstand but the only advertising they have (whatsoever) is the leaflet to renew the magazine's own subscription.  

 

In some cases, these series include more than 50 issues with a total weight of more than 12 pounds.  Media Mail would make a HUGE difference in shipping cost.

 

Any (friendly) comments or suggestions?

 

 

 

arequipa
Community Member
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎12-30-2005
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves

Post is a little old, but still I found under my first search for topic on Google....

 

See if a flat rate box will be chaeper.... or put as an option. First see if they will all fit in before listing option.

everything-from-trinkets-to-treasures
Community Member
Posts: 2,479
Registered: ‎09-01-2009
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves
It is even posted on eBay for you and which you were required to read.......

http://pages.ebay.com/help/pay/shipping-services.html#media

Media Mail can't contain advertising.

Shipping prohibitions and restrictions

All shipments must adhere to the prohibitions and restrictions determined by legislation, postal or customs regulations for your package to be properly shipped and ensure it reaches its intended destination.

everything-from-trinkets-to-treasures
Community Member
Posts: 2,479
Registered: ‎09-01-2009
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves

I did look it up at usps.com where it does not clearly address the question about very old magazines.



https://www.usps.com/ship/media-mail.htm
Media Mail
Rules and Restrictions
The material sent must be educational media. It can’t contain advertising, video games, computer drives, or digital drives of any kind.


http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/173.htm#1113509
4.0 Content Standards for Media Mail

Community Member
Posts: 1,926
Registered: ‎02-13-2012
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves
DITTO the above.

If it contains advertizing, then it cannot be shipped media mail. Doesn't matter if is last weeks ads, decades old ads or even last century's ads.

www.usps.com

Fyi
Community Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-10-2014
Answered
in reply to pisanioserves

Although the price on Media Mail is tempting even for books, I found that in one case it took 2 months to reach the buyer. Because of the headache involved I no longer mail anything Media Mail because of the delay. It is worth the expense of mailing first class or priority to  not have to deal with the anxiety of the buyer and seller waiting weeks for delivery.