Tips for Mailing & Packaging CDs and DVDs

Compact discs and digital video discs are relatively easy items to mail, but there are some special considerations which should be taken into account when packaging and mailing them.

When packaging a CD or DVD (or several), try to find a box or padded envelope which is only slightly larger than it, but not so small that it will fit tightly. This will allow you to protect it from damage, while avoiding increased shipping costs which can be caused by an excessive amount of packaging materials used to fill a larger box. The postal service offers a free Priority Mail box which is well-suited for shipping a single CD or DVD, because of its thin rectangular shape. If you don’t have the original plastic case(s), consider using paper CD/DVD sleeves to help protect them. Use lightweight packaging materials such as bubble wrap to keep shipping costs low, and make sure the CD/DVD(s) aren’t free to move around in the box or envelope when it is shaken. If you are mailing several, consider wrapping them in one layer of bubble wrap, then using plastic shopping bags to fill the rest of the box. Unless you are using a Priority Mail flat rate box, using newspaper as a packaging material can often be expensive because of its higher weight.

If you are mailing a single CD or DVD, the postal service’s First Class Mail is usually cheapest and offers fast delivery to most areas (2-5 days). Mailing 1-2 CDs should cost under $2.50. However, if you are mailing several (over 13 ounces, the limit for First Class Mail), you will probably want to use Priority Mail or Media Mail. Media Mail allows compact discs and DVDs, as well as cassette tapes, and is substantially cheaper than Priority or Parcel Post. It can take up to two weeks, but is relatively quick if you are mailing in-state or to a neighboring state. Priority Mail is more expensive, but much faster (2-3 days), and enables you to use free boxes or envelopes. If you are mailing many CDs/DVDs and want them to arrive quickly, using a Priority Mail flat rate box may be beneficial. Parcel Post usually doesn’t offer any significant speed or cost benefit in comparison to Media Mail. Other non-postal shipping services probably won’t offer anything cheaper, unless perhaps if you are mailing a large quantity.

When sending CDs or DVDs as a gift on a holiday or specific occasion, be sure to send them well in advance of the target date if you are using Media Mail. If you are selling them through the mail, you may want to offer both Priority Mail and Media Mail or First Class Mail (depending upon the amount) as options, especially before major holidays. You might also want to offer gift-wrapping, gift labels, and/or shipping to a different recipient’s address. Regardless of the reason for sending them, it is a good idea to put a piece of paper inside the box or padded envelope listing the “From” and “To” addresses. This may allow the postal service to still be able to deliver the package if one or both of its exterior mailing labels are torn off (or become illegible).

Keeping these considerations in mind and using the above-described packaging techniques should help you mail CDs and DVDs quickly, inexpensively, and without damage.

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