Piano Pronto Shipping Options: Striking the Perfect Chord in Home Delivery

What happened to First-Class Packages? Why do I not see Media Mail as an option? Get the answers to these and all the other questions you've ever had about choosing a shipping method on Piano Pronto.

Piano Pronto Shipping Options: Striking the Perfect Chord in Home Delivery

💡 Did you know? We offer instant viewable copies of all your shipped method books and songbooks right after checkout. Just complete your order while logged into your Piano Pronto account (or register a new account after checkout) and you’ll be able to see the full contents of the books instantly while you wait for them to arrive!

⚡ Introduction: We’re Serious About Shipping

As an entirely virtual storefront, we try to replicate the brick and mortar experience as best as possible, with ample preview pages and audio recordings of sheet music and songbooks. Since you can’t walk out of our store with your books, getting your order delivered to you fast and efficiently is a huge priority for us.

If you know me personally, it’s probably not a surprise to you that I’ve spent hours measuring books, their weights, how they fit into various boxes, and many more hours implementing that logic into code. Along with many other aspects of Piano Pronto’s website, I’ve built a custom algorithm tailored to our specific business, our customers, and the products we ship — piano books.

Due to some recent positive changes from the United States Postal Service, and so you can better understand the shipping methods available to you, I’ve written this blog post. Have shipping questions? Drop me a comment below.

📦 Media Mail: An Old, but Trusty, Service

Media Mail is a cost-effective shipping service offered by the USPS designed for sending educational materials, printed media, and other specific types of media content at a reduced postage rate compared to standard parcel services. Media Mail generally has longer delivery times compared to other USPS shipping options, but recently they have improved their delivery times with an estimated range of just 2-8 business days.

We’ve always been grateful that the USPS offers Media Mail, and is the primary reason we ship with them. Around 90% of our customers have historically chosen Media Mail for their orders. Without it, online ordering of piano books would be more expensive, making it harder for our customers to shop with us.

💡 Important: Only printed books, audio CDs, and playing cards are allowed to be sent via Media Mail. So if you purchase some of our popular ladybug squeeze balls, you won’t be able to choose Media Mail.

🚚 Ground Advantage: The Newcomer in the Shipping Lane

Move over Media Mail; well sort of… On July 9th 2023, the USPS launched a new service called Ground Advantage. The USPS has been working on streamlining its network as part of a 10-year plan, and Ground Advantage combines the former Parcel Select and First-Class Package Service rates. This effectively gives us the option to send packages via the First-Class network that weigh up to 70 pounds, where previously the limit was only 15.999 ounces. Ground Advantage has a faster delivery of 2-5 business days vs Media Mail’s 2-8 business days. It’s also insured up to $100!

So will Ground Advantage replace Media Mail as our most used shipping method? For orders of around 1-5 books, or for very heavy orders, Media Mail will still be the cheapest option, but for many package sizes Ground Advantage is more efficient. Below is a table that breaks down at what weights it becomes cheaper to send via Ground Advantage. Not sure what zone you’re in? Check out the Zone Map below.

Package WeightApproximate # of BooksZones Ground Advantage Cheaper
1 Lbs1None
2 Lbs3None
3 Lbs5None
4 Lbs61 2 3 4
5 Lbs81 2
6 Lbs91 2 3 4
7 Lbs111 2 3 4 5
8 Lbs131 2 3 4 5
9 Lbs151 2 3 4 5 6 7
10-20 Lbs351 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
21 Lbs371 2 3 4
22 Lbs391 2 3 4
23 Lbs401 2 3
24 Lbs411 2 3
25 Lbs431 2
26 Lbs441
27+ Lbs45+None

As a real-world example, say that you have 25 students and need to buy one copy of Keyboard Kickoff for each of them. With Media Mail, this would cost $14.72. With Ground Advantage, it’s anywhere from $7.62 to $12.43, depending on your zone. That’s nearly half the price for a faster delivery for the closer zones!

💡 Important: Most of our customers are used to always seeing Media Mail as the cheapest option. In cases where Ground Advantage is cheaper, we’ll hide Media Mail from your available shipping options at checkout. After all, who would choose a more expensive and slower option?

✈️ Priority Mail: Packages Delivered Pronto

Priority Mail is a premium shipping service offered by USPS that provides fast delivery within 1-3 business days across the United States, including territories and military bases. Priority Mail Cubic is a reduced rate version, designed to offer cost effective shipping rates for small, heavier packages — such as a box packed with music books.

Many of our customers choose Priority Mail during checkout. Typically it is only a few dollars more expensive, but due to the way cubic pricing is calculated, it can sometimes even be cheaper than Media Mail. You might choose Priority Mail when you need your order to reach you quickly, as Priority Mail’s 1-3 business day delivery time frame is ideal for fast deliveries.

There’s also Priority Mail Express, but we generally don’t recommend this option unless you really need your order in 1-2 days.

🗺️ Zone Map: Where Are You?

Do you want to know what zone you’re in? Below is a map based on our headquarters in sunny Southern California. Note that being in a further zone away from us doesn’t necessarily mean slower delivery, as the USPS delivers a lot of its parcels via air. Generally the closer you are to a major metropolitan area will determine how fast delivery times are. Zones are mainly used for shipment pricing.

Zone 1Zone 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8

📋 Comparison of Domestic Shipping Methods

Here’s a list of all the shipping methods we use. We will always show the cheapest method as the first option during the checkout process, and hide any more expensive but slower options. For example, if Media Mail is more expensive than Ground Advantage, we’ll hide the Media Mail option.

Media Mail

  • Estimated delivery within 2-8 business days
  • Subject to delays

Ground Advantage

  • Estimated delivery within 2-5 business days
  • Insured up to $100

Priority Mail

  • Estimated delivery within 1-3 business days
  • Insured up to $100

Priority Mail Express

  • Guaranteed overnight delivery in urban areas
  • Guaranteed 2-day delivery in rural areas
  • Insured up to $100

🌍 Comparison of International Shipping Methods

Want to ship to a country outside the US and Canada? We recommend using a Parcel Forwarding Service.

First Class Package Canada

  • Estimated delivery within 1-3 weeks
  • Estimated delivery time does not include customs processing

Priority Mail Canada

  • Estimated delivery within 6-10 business days
  • Estimated delivery time does not include customs processing
  • Insured up to $200

Priority Mail Express Canada

  • Estimated delivery within 3-5 business days
  • Estimated delivery time does not include customs processing
  • Insured up to $200

Justin Beaty
Written by Justin Beaty
As the sole developer at Piano Pronto, Justin is a master of bringing life to our website and ensuring it's the best possible experience of shopping for sheet music online. In a world of algorithms and APIs, Justin is our digital maestro, orchestrating every line of code to perfection. He's a transplant to Southern California from the East Coast, and never complains about the weather.


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