The Book Shipping Showdown: UPS and FedEx vs. The United States Postal Service

We know shipping (and its associated costs) can sometimes be a big pain. However, in the publishing industry, there is just no way around it. Books must get to the wholesalers and retailers in order for them to be sold to the customer, and someone has to incur the shipping costs.

There are a few options, though, when it comes to moving your books from here to there. Some are just OK; others are better. Trust me, we speak from experience (lots and lots of it!).

So, the big debate: which carrier to use? While Greenleaf Book Group typically recommends shipping with a courier such as UPS or FedEx, I will lay out the particulars of each option and let you decide which is the best option for you.

For the purposes of comparison, I’m going to lump UPS and FedEx together as couriers since they both operate in the same general way. Their primary challenger is the United States Postal Service (USPS).



  • Tracking number provided with every shipment (at no charge)
  • Ability to track online and receive email notifications of delivery status
  • Customer service support team
  • Return service
  • Claims processing (Should anything go wrong with your delivery, you can file a claim and the courier will look into the issue and, if appropriate, will compensate you for any damages or losses that occurred in transit.)
  • Saturday delivery option
  • Shipping discounts when you create an account with them


  • Prices tend to be slightly higher



  • Usually more affordable than couriers
  • You can leave the shipment at your mailbox for pick up if it’s not oversized
  • You can use stamps you might already have on hand (if it’s a package requiring small postage amount)
  • Tracking and delivery confirmation is available at an extra cost


  • If a package arrives damaged, or doesn’t arrive at all, and you did not purchaseinsurance, you are out of luck. USPS will not investigate the problem and will not compensate for losses
  • We've not found USPS customer service standards to consistently match the level of care our clients receive from UPS and FedEx

Greenleaf’s primary rationale for shipping with UPS or FedEx is that we have experienced books lost or damaged in the hands of the Postal Service and, in those instances, our authors were unable to recover their property or be compensated for the loss. Your books are an investment—emotional and financial—and they should be treated with care. Yes, USPS deliveries are just fine most of the time, but the loss of a single shipment can wipe out any past savings you've realized.

Shipping with UPS or FedEx will likely cost a few dollars more than USPS, but we think those dollars are worth the peace of mind!