The Mailing Conundrum
If you publish and mail a magazine, you are already well aware of the impact of the latest postal hikes. The United States Postal Service’s (USPS) 2007 price hike significantly affected both Standard and Periodical rates. Initially, the USPS proposed a change that would increase Periodical rates by an estimated 11.4 percent.
The USPS does offer discounts to publishers based on how well the publishers integrate into the USPS’s automated systems with presorting, palletization and other factors. However, publishers do not perform these services … printers do.
On its Web site, www.USPS.com, the USPS clearly states its intention to pass responsibility of automation onto the mailers (our printers). It says, “On July 15, we implemented new Periodicals prices to enhance efficiency, offer more choices and better ensure that all types of Periodicals mail cover its costs. Periodicals mailers have new incentives to use efficient containers and bundles, and co-palletization becomes a permanent offering to encourage more publishers to combine mailings. We also added new prices for the non-advertising portion of a mailing to give mailers of high-editorial-content publications access to lower destination entry rates.”
Let’s break that statement down into pieces.
“On July 15, we implemented new Periodicals prices to enhance efficiency …” The efficiency comes from automation that requires mailers to perform list management services and capture high presort levels prior to the USPS taking possession.
“… offer more choices …” In May, the initial proposal projected that Periodical-class mail would just pass on rate increases; however, in July, the Postal Rate Commission (PRC) introduced a variable rate plan with 55 different prices based on the type of container used, number of entry points and, of course, the level of presort. Many believe this structure only benefits large-run publishers and actually penalizes short runs.
“… and better ensure that all types of Periodicals mail cover its costs.” This explains the rate hike.