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How To Ship Books: The Ultimate Book Shipping Guide

When was the last time you shipped something that wasn’t a return? While it may seem like an issue that only giant corporations deal with, many individuals need shipping services for more than just product returns. One common example? Self-publishing authors. 

According to Statista, in the U.S. in 2018, over 675 million printed books were sold. This means that those books had to be sent all over the country to reach the hands of readers. 

If you’re a self-publishing author wondering how to ship books in the most efficient way possible, check out our ultimate book shipping guide below.

Packaging For Book Shipping

Before an adoring fan can crack open your book, it has to make its way through the shipping process. The first step of that process is to ensure that your book is packaged in a way that will keep it free of bent corners or water stains. 

Shipping Supplies

Preparing supplies to ship a book doesn’t require that you have fancy machines or special products. Most of what you’ll need is likely already available to you, such as: 

  • The books (if these aren’t ready, abandon ship!)
  • Scissors
  • Packing tape
  • Stapler
  • Clear plastic bags or bubble wrap
  • Corrugated cardboard roll, packing peanuts, or other packing materials

Once you’ve gotten these together, you can start the shipping process.

The Book Shipping Process

Once your supplies are ready, gather them up and find the right spot for assembling your packages, such as a large table or desk. Then, follow these simple steps on how to ship books:

Step 1

Wrap the book in bubble wrap or seal it in a plastic bag to keep it dry. Don’t forget to include the order slip, as well. 

Step 2

Protect the book with a layer of cardboard roll, making sure to staple any open ends closed, as well as tape any seams to prevent shifting.

Step 3

Place the safely wrapped book(s) into the shipping box. Add the packing peanuts or other packing materials to keep the book(s) from ping-ponging around in the shipping box. 

Step 4

Tightly tape the box closed and add the shipping label to the top of the box. 

Next, you may be asking, “How much does it cost to ship books?” Let’s check out all of the options. 

Book Shipping with USPS

When we think of shipping a book, we often think of USPS book shipping. Below is an overview of the various services from USPS and a quick guide to how each one works. 

Understanding USPS Media Mail Shipping

The U.S. Postal Service created Media Mail as an economical way to send media items, such as books, films, CDs, and printed music. It is often referred to as their “book rate” mailing option. 

Media Mail is just one choice among many when it comes to USPS. It is usually the cheapest, but may not be the quickest. So depending on your budget and time constraints, you may want to consider another option. 

Here are all of USPS book shipping options, along with alternatives through UPS and Amazon. Click here for more about the best shipping options for small businesses.

USPS Priority Mail

This option gives you a choice between using flat-rate boxes or shipping a book based on weight and dimensions. Your delivery will arrive within a day or two, making it one of the quickest choices.

USPS Flat Rate

USPS offers flat-rate boxes and envelopes in three varying sizes. If you have larger orders to fulfill, none of the flat-rate envelopes or boxes will cut it. 

USPS Media Mail

This option is budget-friendly whether you have to ship one book or 100 books. The downside is that it could take up to 10 days for your items to arrive. There is a 70-pound limit per box, so keep this in mind, as well.

USPS Parcel Post

Parcel Post is best utilized for something that is slightly too large or heavy for standard mail. It’s sort of an in-between of Priority Mail and standard delivery, which is reflected in its price. 

UPS Ground

If USPS isn’t your thing, you can always use a private company like UPS ground shipping. They fulfill deliveries within 1-5 days and are usually reliable. 


If you sell your books on Amazon, you can also use the shipping services through the Amazon Marketplace. All you have to do is ship your books to Amazon once and they’ll take it from there. However, Amazon’s FBA services tack on hidden fees, so you might want to check out some FBA alternatives.

Using A 3PL For Book Shipping

If running to the nearest post office or UPS store every time you make a sale doesn’t sound appealing, there is another way. It’s called third-party logistics, or 3PL. In essence, you can have a company do all of the printing, binding, packing, and shipping for you. 

Benefits of a 3PL Book Fulfillment & Shipping Partner

As an author, partnering with a 3PL company means that your book fulfillment can be streamlined into one nice, neat package that gets shipped out for you! 

Here are the beneficial services a 3PL like Print Bind Ship can offer you.

Printing and Binding Services

Once your story is complete and you’re ready to share it with the world, PBS can print and bind as many copies as you need. We can also print custom notebooks if you want a special place to write down ideas or promote your work.

Custom Packaging

Printing doesn’t just have to happen on paper — it can happen on boxes and packages, too! You can choose the style, size, and design of your boxes or packages, and we will bring them to life.

Domestic and International Book Shipping

Once everything is printed and ready to go, we will ship it for you, whether it’s down the street or across the globe. Having a 3PL partner for international fulfillment will save money in the long run and keep your customers satisfied.

Fulfillment Services

The best part of having a reliable 3PL partner is the flexibility and support that it gives you. Besides creating and shipping books, we offer warehousing, on-demand printing, and can even help with marketing, all at cost-effective prices.

Choosing Print Bind Ship for Book Shipping and Fulfillment

At the end of the day, you could spend your time tracking your eCommerce platforms, wrapping up books, and making trips to the post office, or you can partner with a 3PL like Print Bind Ship. We will do the heavy lifting for you. 

When you choose us, we can print, ship, and store your books!

We can even help you monitor your inventory across eCommerce platforms to ensure your stock is always ready to go when an order comes in. We take the stress and confusion out of the question of how to ship books and let you get back to writing your next bestseller. 

What’s Next? Contact Print Bind Ship

Print Bind Ship has helped hundreds of authors to streamline their eCommerce sales so they can save time and money. For a free consultation, get in touch with Print Bind Ship by filling in our request a quote form and we’ll get back to you right away!