January 16, 2015 | Posted in VINYL RECORDS | By



LP mailers are a must if you ship vinyl LP’s through the mail

Thinking about selling vinyl records online? LP mailers are an absolute must, and will save you and your customers a lot of broken record disappointment. This is the mailer I personally use.

I have shipped thousands of vinyl records myself on eBay, and have purchased almost as many through the mail. Almost every time I have received a broken record, the seller didn’t use a professional LP mailer for shipment. Understand this though, if someone wants to do damage processing the mail they surely can, so in that sense, there are no promises.

The stark reality of shipping costs

I’ve been using these mailers for over 5 years and I can’t find them cheaper, sometimes you might get lucky and run into to someone who is trying to liquidate a loss after they decide to get out of the business, that’s rare and highly unlikely.Here is what you use for shipping vinyl records

Keep in mind, the free shipping offers some sellers use usually just jack the price up to cover that cost any way, there is a limit to what a seller can discount of course with rising shipping costs.

The mailers on this page are the cheapest I know of, and I am always looking for a better deal. The place where I buy my mailers is like clock work, really professional. 5 years without any issues on their end.

Once in a while UPS or FedEx might drop the ball invoice wise, but my retailer never takes more than a few hours to get it fixed.

Here’s  the best deal I have found for vinyl record mailers

100 vinyl record mailers for 40 cents a piece.

Update Nov. 2017: I have seen some sellers selling mailers at a ridiculous price of $100 plus for 100 mailers. I don’t know who the heck is buying those at that price, but don’t waste your money.  Don’t ever pay more than 50 cents per mailer,  and remember, the more you buy the better deal you should get. There is a point though, where the seller’s shipping costs outweigh the bargain they can give. That seems to be at the 200 mailers shipped at one time.

Stiffener pads: Buy them or make your own

I would like to mention: If you are going to ship vinyl records, don’t forget that at least one stiffener pad should be used inside the box. this can really be the difference between a cracked and perfect condition record.

I have had a few sellers ship to me with out stiffeners added, unfortunately almost every time I have received a broken record, it was when it was shipped that way; though to the credit of the USPS, most times it will make through unharmed. Surprisingly enough I have had that happen only a few times, with thousands of records shipped to me. I feel good about at least one stiffener in with the package.

Always be on the look out for boxes to scrap, you’ll learn that TV box on the curb down the street would make 4 or more great stiffeners. Might be better just to buy them, if you’re not the scrounger type like me.

(USPS Media Mail) as of 9/3/17, starts at $2.63 (70 lbs limit)

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a Media Mail rate. This provides an economical way to ship Books, CD’s, DVDs, and LP’s. You can not ship magazines, trading cards, or video games with Media Mail.

In April of 2016 the USPS actually lowered some prices (SHOCK!!!!) The flat Media Mail rate for under 1 pound is now $2.61, down from $2.72. So that’s a nice surprise. A Typical record shipped with stiffeners on both sides will run you $3.09 now, down from $3.22.  10 pounds ships for $6.93, that’s around 15 records properly packed.

UPDATE: Yes, January 2017 saw a small hike in Media Mail pricing, now .02 cents up to $2.63, my typical 1 record shipment cost now runs me $3.12. That’s still cheaper than a few years ago and pretty good deal.

Media Mail is subject to inspection, so don’t cheat, your customer might get a postage due notice when the USPS upgrades it to the next cheapest method.

Expect a day or two longer for delivery with media mail, Shipping to Hawaii and Alaska take longer. Media Mail is not allowed internationally.

As of September 3 2017 Media mail is still $2.63. The USPS did hike First Class Mail’s lowest rate up to $3.00. This could cause issues if you ship 45’s. Now you might have to revert back to Media Mail for single shipments.

Scored VS perforated record mailers?

Scored Mailers are harder to find, and are a bit more expensive. The thinking is, the perforated mailers aren’t as sturdy. I have shipped thousands of records with the perforated mailers, only one was damaged. Fact is, short of sheets of steel, nothing is going to be 100% effective all the time.

Buy in bulk!

Usually the more you buy of these mailers and stiffener pads at one time, the better deal you get. If you can afford it, and you know what your inventory is, after a while you will figure out what you need.

Always assume there will be some delay on your order, always buy more mailers when you get down to a typical 2 week supply.

Vinyl Record Mailing You will then have some breathing room in case something goes wrong with the mail. It has a few times dwindled down to a few for me, but because I ordered well in advance, it all worked out in time.

Vinyl Grading

Do you have a grasp of vinyl record grading? Won’t do you much good selling records if you’re shipping incorrectly graded vinyl.

Here’s a page with my thoughts on the subject, I discuss how I grade, and how to deal with a customer who doesn’t understand record grading. That can be a problem when selling vintage used vinyl, unreasonable expectation on bargain records.

Don’t forget insurance

Always insure any record you ship, where the amount is such you don’t feel you could afford to eat the cost if it’s damaged in transit. Any buyer can file a PayPal claim against you if you don’t insure it and get their money back, that’s a fact.

Play Testing records you sell

If you’re looking for an affordable turntable so you can play test the records you sell, this article should give you a lot of great ideas as well as tips when shopping for one.


 

*Note: While I am an Amazon.com and eBay.com affiliate, and do receive commissions from both, I am never paid or given free stuff for a review.  My reviews are written from my own personal experience as a long time eBay buyer and seller, and vinyl record collector and seller.*

*The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers vintage cover and sleeve photo taken by the author*

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Jason Sositko

Jason Sositko, a freelance writer and entrepreneur is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I also use services such as Viglink and Skimlinks to earn income via links placed inside articles.

25 Comments

  1. Bill
    November 5, 2016

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    How many records do the mailers hold? I am selling a collection of 106 records.

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      November 6, 2016

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      They can hold 4-6 records depending on the size. Typically though you’d only ship one or two. They are just right to add stiffener pads to both sides or some bubble wrap if you want if you’re shipping 1 or 2. For larger lots I use an entirely different method, a 14 inch box, which leaves room to add about an inch of protection around the records. Those run me about .68 cents at Walmart. I am still amazed that in 6 years selling vinyl on eBay, only 1 record was broken in transit using the mailers featured here, that’s thousands of shipments, so I do indeed trust these mailers.

      • Jessica
        April 5, 2017

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        I also would like to ship in bulk – about 50 records. If I get a 14-inch box and fill the remaining inch with bubble wrap, would that be sufficient? Any need for stiffeners? And is it preferable to leave the records inside their cardboard jackets? Thanks!

        • Jason Sositko

          Jason Sositko
          April 5, 2017

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          The main thing I would suggest is to fashion some cardboard to fit in the corners of the box. Also plastic grocery bags work very well to add protection. With 50 records though, you’d need a lot. Bubble wrap will work too of course.

          I would ask the person you’re shipping to what they’d like, in or out of the jacket. This is supposed to prevent seam splits, and most staunch collectors would expect this anyway. I have run into a few who were surprised and complained about it.

          Don’t forget to ship Media Mail, starts at 2.63 with a 70 Pound weight limit. Expect $15.00 to $20.00 to be the charge anywhere within the U.S.

  2. michael brogan
    February 11, 2017

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    I am looking for a good line to sell on Ebay. Could you give me any advice about selling LP records on Ebay? Are people still buying them?
    I would appreciate your help. I shouldn’t be much competition. I am already a seller on Ebay and Amazon, but not too much success. thanks.
    Michael

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      February 11, 2017

      Leave a Reply

      The used vinyl market has become somewhat saturated. Finding quality to sell is getting harder and harder as people have become wiser to where to sell them. They don’t donate them as much to charity thrift stores, so profit potential gets harder and harder.

      To sell online effectively you need to understand how to grade records by sight, having a turntable to play-test is also a very good idea. You have to educate yourself on what sells and what doesn’t. Rare jazz, progressive rock, classic rock, and genres like exotica and lounge stuff will sell.

      Best thing to do is to check the completed listings on eBay for searches like Blue Note LP, Beatles LP, Pink Floyd LP, Prog LP, Jazz LP, and get a sense of what to look for. Of course then you’ll have to dig through the thrift stores, bargain bins at used record shops, and flea markets and yard sales to find stuff cheap enough that you can make a profit.

      It’s taken me over 10 years of trial and error, If I look through a record bin, I know what I’m looking for. For me, if I can’t make 5 dollars on it I don’t bother. I would say, stay away from easy listening stuff, and look for Funk, Blues, Jazz, and Progressive rock stuff. Being a music fanatic would be a big help too, understanding multiple genres is required.

      MOST IMPORTANT:

      You must grade accurately, I would advise anyone to grade conservatively. You really have to be careful saying a record is near mint, it has better be! VG+ is generally what I use as a grade, even if the record is actually better than that, I’d rather a buyer be surprised on the good side, over grading is the most complained about thing in negative feedback given on eBay. You can not say a moderately scuffed record with marks you can feel is VG+ either. If you sell poorly graded vinyl, this will earn you bad feedback quickly. Shipping with professional record mailers is also important to increase odds record won’t arrive broken.

      I have other articles here that explain in greater detail the things I have learned over the years.

      • michael brogan
        February 11, 2017

        Leave a Reply

        Thanks for the info Jason. I think I can do the things that you talk about. It seems to be hard to make any money on Ebay and Amazon these days. I hear people talking on youtube videos about making $100,000 a month online selling products that they bought at a discount. It seems to me the only way to make a profit is to steal the merchandise. the shipping costs and listing fees eat up the profit. I am a pro seller on Amazon and they are restricting me from all the categories that I want to sell in. I want to sell in movies, clothing, toys, household, jewelry, and I am not allowed until and if I get approved. I have sold a few things on Amazon but little to no profit.
        I already have a few records that I have listed on Ebay, but they didnt sell yet. I will take your advice and see what I can do. Michael

  3. Ami
    February 28, 2017

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    What’s the best way to sell and ship 45s? I have the shipping materials for LPs, which I charge $4 to ship, so I thought I’d just reuse the same shipping materials. Problem is, no one wants to pay that to get a 45. Any advice?

  4. Ali
    March 12, 2017

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    Hi there, how much does it cost to ship to Canada? im shipping a 45 for the first time and im nervous its going to cost me alot.

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      March 13, 2017

      Leave a Reply

      Personally I do not ship outside the U.S. Prices have skyrocketed to the point where it’s not worth it unless you were selling high-dollar items. Nobody is going to pay 20 buck plus for 5-10 record to be shipped. However for a 45, if you can keep the cost below 13 Ounces you might be able to ship to Canada for less than 10 bucks. I would go to the post office and and tell them you want to ship it as cheaply as possible… and get a quote, Canada rules are different I believe, or they used to be for how you can ship from U.S. than say over seas. Insurance is the tricky thing now, over seas shipments were changed to Priority only for insurance to be applied. This really jacked up the prices.

      Tip: One issue learned the hard way years ago on eBay; you better make sure you put a disclaimer on every listing that you are not responsible for import fees for the destination country. I had a shipment to Sweden once and the guy was charged almost 50% of what he already paid in an import/customs fee. I didn’t have to pay him anything, but it caused a situation of sore feelings… after that and rising costs, I just said, I won’t ship internationally anymore.

      I also hated filling out customs forms etc…

      Here’s a link that might help you: http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/Notice123.htm#_c313

  5. Chris
    December 20, 2017

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    I’m in the process of getting some mailers but I have a couple of vinyls to send out ASAP. If I get a couple of Priority boxes from USPS and turn them inside out and use them in the media mail, would I be in trouble if they inspected my parcel and saw that it was a Priority box not being used for priority mail?

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      December 20, 2017

      Leave a Reply

      Hi Chris, thanks for the comment. In theory what you’re talking about might work, but those Priority boxes when turned inside out have warnings all over it stating that those boxes can only be used to ship Priority. The degree of trouble you’re in if you’re caught I don’t know, I wouldn’t do it, especially if they see it as mail fraud or something.

      You could do what you’re saying with any type of box, go to the grocery and ask if they have a few extra boxes? You can also find moving boxes cheap at any Walmart, just use the 14 inch size so you have enough to work with, they cost less than 2 dollars. Get a dollar roll of clear box tape too.

      If you put the record between 4 record size pieces of card board, “2 on each side” that should be enough. Ideally the record cover is loosely covered in a plastic record sleeve or something that keeps the spine from touching the tape.

      When you’re finished it will look crude, but I’ve had to ship like this in a pinch before and it worked.

      Good Luck

      • Chris
        December 20, 2017

        Leave a Reply

        Great! Thanks for the help Jason. I didn’t realize those boxes had warnings on the inside. I’ll avoid them for sure.

  6. Seth Kilbourn
    March 13, 2018

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    Have you done much with 78s? I recently received a pretty decent amount of 78s from one of my student’s parents. While they have been cool to look through, I have nothing to play them on and have no real interest in doing so. Do the grading guidelines follow the same as conventional/modern vinyl? I am not looking to get rich by any means but would like to pay something as opposed to dumping them off to Goodwill, etc.

    Too, packaging them up? Same kind of deal as you suggest above or do they need to be more carefully packed as they are more brittle?

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      March 14, 2018

      Leave a Reply

      78’s are a whole different animal. They are much more fragile than vinyl. 78’s, also known as “shellac” records are made from shellac a very brittle substance. Personally I have not shipped any 78’s, but I would assume they could be shipped the same way, but extra padding or bubble wrap could help.

      Re Value: As with any collectible, its all supply and demand, with demand being king. I suggest you do a completed listing search on eBay or Discogs for the specific titles and see what the market is. Also Jazz and Blues records seem to be good sellers in any form. Someone is probably out there though who’d be interested in them if they are is good playable condition.

  7. David
    April 11, 2018

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    Please forward the URL for this page to EVERY online vendor who sells vinyl records….they need it. Some of the packaging I’ve seen is atrocious.

  8. Chassity
    April 29, 2018

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    Can you ship a turntable itself Media Mail? I appreciate any answer and then thank you very much.

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      April 29, 2018

      Leave a Reply

      Unfortunately no you can not. You can only send things like Recorded Music and Books without overt advertising Media Mail. Here are the Media Mail guidelines.

  9. Brian W.
    July 23, 2018

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    Thanks for this valuable website.

    If I understand correctly, to ship one LP, you only use the mailer and two stiffeners? Any bubble wrap or corner protection?

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      August 12, 2018

      Leave a Reply

      I don’t use bubble wrap typically. The stiffeners are most important.

      When I have received damaged vinyl its usually been center damage, as if it was stomped on, but who knows if stiffeners would help? I can only go by my experience selling and shipping.

      2 stiffeners is my rule 1 on each side. Perhaps 2 per side would be better, especially if you make your own?

  10. Brian W.
    July 25, 2018

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    Hello,

    Would you say that the mailer and stiffeners you recommend are enough to protect corners?

    Thanks

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      August 12, 2018

      Leave a Reply

      I’ve not had any issues, but I have shipped high dollar vinyl in a mailer, then wrapped that in bubble wrap, and placed that into a 16 inch box for extra piece of mind. If you’re selling bargain vinyl, the profit margin is so low, that extra packaging like that would make it too expensive and time consuming to make it worth the trouble. Dont forget to insure the package if its above your loss threshold.

  11. Jeff
    August 3, 2018

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    Hi and thank you for your insights. Do you do anything different in the summer months?

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      August 12, 2018

      Leave a Reply

      No not all. Of course just like winter, you are at the mercy of individual carriers. You hope they do their job correctly. Thousands of records shipped, and shipped to me, and only a few damaged in transit. Every time it has happened, the damage was such, there was not anything else I could have done. Always insure your packages if the loss would be greater than you’re willing to eat out of pocket.

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