What Is USPS Bound Printed Matter? (All You Need to Know)

Have you ever received a catalog in the mail, and noticed that there wasn’t any postage on it? No stamps to speak of. That’s because it was likely sent via USPS Bound Printed Matter (or BPM). The BPM mail class is very different from most retail mail classes.

SO, what is USPS Bound Printed Matter? Whether you’re considering it for your business or simply curious about what it is, I’ve got the answer you seek, so keep reading!

What Is USPS Bound Printed Matter In [currentyear]?

USPS Bound Printed Matter, or BPM, consists of advertising, promotional, directory, or editorial matter that is permanently bound, such as a catalog or phone book, which can be shipped at discounted rates, especially when 300 or more pieces are being sent. Pricing depends on pre-sorted status, weight, and the distance the materials are going in [currentyear].

To learn more about Bound Printed Matter, including what qualifies as BPM, how much it costs, and even how long it can take to reach its destination, plus much more, keep reading!

What Qualifies for USPS Bound Printed Matter?

Bound Printed Matter, or BPM, is a very specific type of mailpiece.

Specifically, the USPS website defines it as “permanently bound sheets of which at least 90 percent are printed with advertising, promotional, directory, or editorial matter.”

There are a few further conditions:

  • No loose-leaf binders or “other temporary fastenings”; the matter must be permanently bound by staples, glue, or stitching
  • 90 percent of the content must be printed – not handwritten or even composed by a typewriter
  • It cannot consist of personal correspondence; no binding together a long letter
  • The pages must have content on them; they cannot be blank, like in an artist’s sketchpad

Some examples of BPM include catalogs, telephone books, travel guides, or professional directories.

Aside from the content and binding of the BPM, there are also size and weight limits for a mailpiece to qualify.

Individual BPM can weigh no more than 15 lbs. and cannot be greater than 108 inches in combined length and distance.

Finally, but no less importantly, in order to take advantage of BPM rates, you must have a permit issued by the USPS.

That being said, here is a handy guide for applying for that permit (note the one-time cost of $180 to obtain it and set up an account in your organization’s name).

How Long Does Bound Printed Matter Take to Deliver?

While the USPS site itself does not mention how long BPM takes to deliver, some research on my part would suggest a two to 10 business day window.

For example, Endicia.com recommends Retail Ground or Media Mail as alternatives to BPM, saying they “offer similar levels of service.”

Retail Ground is one of the slowest mail classes that USPS offers, but it is very affordable.

However, since BPM is also quite affordable, I think it is safe to say that the service’s delivery window is likely quite similar, too.

How Much Does It Cost to Mail Bound Printed Matter?

How Much Does It Cost to Mail Bound Printed Matter? USPS

As I mentioned above, BPM is priced by size and weight, distance traveled, and whether the shipments are presorted or not.

You can have Commercial Large Envelopes (Flats), which have a Carrier Route and Presorted designation, or Nonpresorted designation.

Generally, Flats will cost between $1.177 to $1.329.

Nonpresorted BPM in Commercial Large Envelopes starts at just $2.23 for items that weigh up to 1 lb., from Zone 1 to Zone 9.

Usually, the maximum you will pay for Nonpresorted BPM Flats is $5.85, from Zone 1 to Zone 9.

BPM Parcels that are being shipped Carrier Route cost $1.441, while Presorted pieces cost $1.596.

Finally, non-presorted parcels start at $2.87 for shipments weighing less than a pound and traveling to Zones 1 or 2.

The most you will pay for Non-presorted BPM Parcels, which would be a 15-lb. package heading to Zone 9, costs $13.49.

(You can find the full chart of BPM pricing here.)

Is Bound Printed Matter the Same as Media Mail?

BPM and Media Mail are actually opposites of each other. Media Mail, which includes books, music, and other educational items, completely forbids advertisement and marketing materials.

BPM, on the other hand, is specifically for advertisements and marketing materials, like catalogs selling clothes or brochures selling vacations.

To know more, you can also read our posts on whether or not USPS sends text messages, does USPS first class have tracking, and the cheapest USPS shipping method.


Bound Printed Matter, or BPM, features low rates, which are only available to those who apply for and receive a special permit from USPS.

Once an organization has that permit, though, they can begin to take advantage of the incredibly affordable shipping BPM offers, which maxes out at just $13.49.

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Cara Suppa

Cara Suppa has been freelance writing for over a decade and holds a BA in English and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications. Outside of work, she is an avid cook, gardener, and discount shopper.

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