Bound Printed Matter Bulk Mail Rates and Requirements

Scott HochbergScott Hochberg
 Postage $aver Software

Bound Printed Matter bulk mail is for catalogs and other bound printed material. It is particularly economical for pieces that weigh more than the 16-ounce limit for Marketing Mail.

Postage Saver software makes postal bulk mailing easy Here's what this page covers:

red dotHow many pieces do I need?

red dotWhat are the size and weight limits?

red dotWhat are the postage rates?

red dotHow do I pay the postage?

red dotHow much are permits?

red dotWhat do I need to get started?

Bound Printed Matter pieces weighing less than one pound are charged a minimum one-pound rate. Because of that, Marketing Mail is often less expensive than Bound Printed Matter for pieces weighing less than one pound.

The basic content requirements for Bound Printed Matter are: Bound Printed Matter rates are available for domestic mail only (including military addresses, Puerto Rice and U.S. possessions). There are no Bound Printed Matter rates for international mail.
Other bulk mail categories:
Marketing Mail
Presorted First Class
Periodical Class
Bulk Rate Parcels

Postage Saver software makes preparing Bound Printed Matter easy

How many pieces in each zip code do I need for Bound Printed Matter rates?

For Bound Printed Matter mailings, there are no minimums per mailing or per zip code, although mailings of 300 total pieces or more get better pricing. There are no monthly or yearly minimums.

What are the size and weight limits for Bound Printed Matter bulk mail?

The weight limit for a piece of mail sent at Bound Printed Matter rates is 240 ounces (15 pounds). To qualify for barcoding discounts, flat-sized pieces can weigh no more than 20 ounces.

Pieces may not measure more than 108 inches in length and girth combined.

What are the postage rates for Bound Printed Matter bulk mail?

The postage rate for Bound Printed Matter depends on how many pieces you are mailing, the size and weight of the mail piece, and the distance it must travel. For mailings of 300 pieces or more, there are discounts for taking your mailing to a major sorting facility.

There's a pretty good chance that you'll pay several different postage rates on different pieces in the same mailing, depending on where the pieces are going.

There are no extra discounts for nonprofits when using Bound Printed Matter rates.

You can use our Bound Printed Matter postage rate calculator to find the rates available for your mailing.

Bound Printed Matter Bulk Mail Postage Rate Calculator

Rates updated for latest USPS changes effective July 10, 2022.

Make the following selections to find the rates for your Bound Printed Matter mailing:

How many pieces are in your mailing:
up to 299  300 or more

Mail Size:
flat - up to 12" x 15" x ¾", whether in an envelope or not.
parcel - larger than flat in any direction, or not flexible.
(Bound Printed Matter smaller than flat-sized is charged as flats.)

Enter Weight in Ounces:  
 Weight must be 240 ounces (15 pounds) or less.

If you already have the list you want to mail to, we recommend you download a free trial copy of our Postage $aver bulk mail preparation software and run your list through it. It will figure out the exact postage you'd pay for mailing that specific list, and let you try various options.

For flat-sized mailings, download our Postage $aver Pro software. For parcels, download our Postage $aver for Parcels software.
Postage Saver Low-Cost Software for Postal Bulk Mail
Track your First Class Mail FREE!

How do I pay the postage for Bound Printed Matter mail?

To use Bound Printed Matter rates, you must buy a "permit imprint authorization", which allows you to print an "indicia" box like this on your mail instead of postage. Stamps or meter strips cannot be used on Bound Printed Matter.

Here's what goes in an indicia box.

How much do Bound Printed Matter permits cost, and how do I get one?

Before you can mail using Bound Printed Matter rates, you need to have a permit. Your permit must be issued by USPS. A vendor cannot issue a bulk mailing permit.

For Bound Printed Matter parcels, the permit is free.

For Bound Printed Matter flats, two fees may apply, as follows.

Annual mailing fee (flats only):

If you are mailing Bound Printed Matter flats, you need to pay an annual mailing fee only if: If both of those three are true, then you must pay an annual permit fee of $275. Otherwise, it's free.

Permit Imprint Authorization fee (flats only): This lets you print a "postage paid" box (called a "permit imprint" or an "indicia") on your mail, which is required for Bound Printed Matter. You cannot use a stamp or meter imprint.

You'll have a deposit account at the post office where you have your permit, and USPS will charge your account for each piece that you mail when you bring your mailing in. You can now fund your permit online, instead of having to pay at the post office.

For Bound Printed Matter flats, the permit imprint authorization fee is: $275 (one time, not annual).

For Bound Printed Matter parcels, the permit imprint authorization is free.

How to apply: You can apply online for a Bound Printed Matter permit and for a permit imprint authorization. Or, you can apply for your permit in person, using USPS form 3615.

Where to apply: It's best that you apply for your permit at the post office where you expect to take your mail. You'll probably want to take your mail to the closest post office that accepts bulk mail, just for convenience. Even if you apply online, you will still need to designate the post office where your permit will be issued.

In suburban and rural areas, many post offices accept bulk mail. But in urban areas, bulk mail is generally accepted only at a major facility, and sometimes a few others. To find out whether bulk mail is accepted at a specific post office, find it using the post office locator on, and look at the services it offers. To find out all of the post offices in your area that accept bulk mail, call the USPS District Business Mail Entry office for your area, which you can find using this USPS locator screen.

If you're not far from the USPS sorting center ("Sectional Center Facility", or "SCF") for your area, and much of your mail is going to addresses processed by that sorting center, you'll get better postage rates by sending your mail from the sorting center. You can find the SCF for your area and see your possible savings by using the rate calculator above. If you are going to be mailing from the sorting center, you will want to get your permit at that center rather than at your neighborhood post office.
Postage Saver for Parcels makes shipping bulk parcels easy

What software and other supplies do I need to prepare Bound Printed Matter?

To prepare your mail, you'll need software, USPS mailing containers, and, sometimes, a certain size of rubber bands.

Bulk mailing software: To qualify for Bound Printed Matter rates, your mail must be sorted and placed in mailing containers according to very detailed USPS rules. It's not just sorting by zip code - various zips must be combined with others, depending on quantity, where you're mailing from and to, the size of the mailpiece, etc... It's literally a book full of sorting rules, and the details actually change each month, according to projected mail loads in different areas.

You'll also need to print paperwork for submitting your mailing, and special barcoded tags to label each mailing container.

The easiest way to do all of this is to use software designed to prepare bulk mail. Our Postage $aver Pro software prepares Bound Printed Matter flat-sized mail, and our Postage $aver for Parcels prepares Bound Printed Matter parcels.

Mailing sacks: You'll need to sort your mail into specific mail sacks before you can mail it at Bound Printed Matter rates. Your bulk mailing software will determine exactly what you need for each mailing.

The sacks are provided by the USPS at no charge. You can pick them up at the post office where you are mailing your bulk mail.

Size 64 rubber bands: If you are mailing flat-sized mail, or irregular-shaped parcels, you'll need these rubber bands to bundle your mail. You can buy a bag at your favorite office supply store.

Congratulations! You're now ready to move on to actually preparing your mailing.

Scott Hochberg
Scott Hochberg started Postage Saver Software in 1994. He's been helping small businesses and nonprofits save postage with postal bulk mail for more than 25 years. Scott's based in Austin, Texas. He's happy to answer your bulk mailing questions!
Postage Saver for Parcels makes shipping bulk parcels easy