Do Board Games Count as Media Mail? (+How to Ship Them Instead)


As a board game hobbyist, it’s common to sell and ship games from time to time. Like me, because of the reduced shipping costs, you might be wondering if board games count as media mail or not. 

So, are board games considered media mail? No, board games are primarily used for entertainment, and therefore do not qualify as Media Mail.

So, what is media mail, anyways? And if you can’t ship board games via Media Mail, then what’s the best way to send them? Read on to find out. 

Media Mail: What Is It?

Media Mail is a cost effective way to send educational materials through the mail. It does have restrictions, as it was originally created to encourage the sending of educational materials through the mail. 

According to USPS’s customer support ruling, board games are:

…used primarily for entertainment and they do not serve the same purpose as books, films, or other qualifying Media Mail.

USPS

Best Way to Ship Board Games

So if I can’t get a discounted rate through Media Mail, then how can I ship board games for a decent price? 

Board games can oftentimes be pretty heavy, because of the materials used to make them. If you’re at all familiar with how shipping works, pricing usually depends on the size of the box you send it in, as well as how much the contents weigh.

The cost of shipping board games can add up really quickly, as a result of how much board games weigh.

While the best way to ship board games may vary depending on your location and specific needs, I’m going to share a few tips, best practices, and options below that I’ve learned from experience that will help you get started. 

1. Have the Buyer Pay for Shipping

If you’re selling board games, always have the buyer pay for shipping. This may seem like a no-brainer. However, if you’re selling your first game, then it may slip your mind when somebody offers you a great price for a board game you’re ready to move off your shelf. 

You can use this calculator to find out an estimate for how much it will cost to send your board game to your buyer, based off of your location and the buyer’s location. 

By using this calculator, you can provide buyers with an accurate estimate of the shipping cost before you close the deal. 

2. Buy a Postal Scale

Knowing both the weight and size of the package you will be sending is what allows you to be able to find the best shipping option. 

If you plan to ship a board game a few times a year, buying a scale will easily be worth the small cost of getting one of these. 

(However, if you’re just sending a board game once, and don’t plan to send other board games in the future, then it might not be worth it for you to buy one of these.)

Since finding the best way to ship a board game always depends on the weight of what you’re sending, buying a postal scale is a great way to save money. It also comes in handy when trying to provide your buyer with an accurate shipping cost. 

3. Use Flat Rate and Regional Rate Boxes

Flat rate and regional rate boxes are great options that the USPS provides. I always recommend weighing and measuring the board game you’d like to ship. This helps you figure out whether it would be cheaper to send your game via a flat rate box, a regional one, or another option. 

You can find the sizes and information about priority mail flat rate boxes here. And, you can find the information you need about regional rate boxes here. Keep in mind that in order to use the regional rate boxes, you’ll most likely have to use Click-N-Ship to pay.

In general, regional rate boxes are great for sending board games shorter distances, and flat rate boxes are the best for longer distances. 

However, you can ship up to 70 pounds with flat rate boxes, so if you’re shipping a really heavy game, flat rate will be the way to go. One bonus is that you can order your flat rate and regional rate boxes for free here from the comfort of your couch.

4. Use ShipGooder

If your packaged board game(s) doesn’t fit well into a regional or flat rate box, then another great option for shipping board games is to use ShipGooder. You can start by buying a different size box online, or you can re-use a box you likely received from a recent amazon shipment.

Then, once you have it ready to go, you can plug in your location, your buyer’s location, the box dimensions, and weight into ShipGooders’ calculator.  

ShipGooder will then compare rates between different carriers, as well as different delivery time options for you, and save you some time in the process. 

You can then select the best option for you based on your circumstance and follow the instructions ShipGooder will provide you with. 

6. Package Your Board Game Well

My last and final tip is to simply do a good job of packaging your board game. Whether the board game you’re shipping is going to a buyer, or a friend, you want to make sure that what your sending arrives safely and in one piece. 

Several modern board game hobbyists own collections that they’re very proud of, so if they find a small dent, it can be reason enough for them to return the game. So, take care of those corners, and package the board game well—it will make your life easier.

Always secure the components inside the game first, and then use packing peanuts or bubble wrap to cushion the board game inside the shipping box. (Never put packing peanuts inside a board game box, because then whoever opens it will have to sort through all of the torn scraps of peanuts that will result.)

Tape the box really good on the outside and you’re ready to ship it!

Related Question

Can video games be sent media mail? No, like board games, video games are primarily used for entertainment, and therefore, can not be sent via media mail.

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