U.S. Postal Service

Paper Price Spike Causes Concern Among Publishers
June 1, 2004

As if publishers didn't have enough trouble. Advertising revenues, circulation and overall magazine size are still trending downward. The only thing that seems to be trending up is the price of paper. Some saw it coming, but it happened so quickly that almost all are concerned. Paper prices have been flat, even declining slightly, for the past few years. But over the past couple of months, they have suddenly leapt upward. "We're seeing prices go up 5 to 10 percent," reports Andrea Baron, manufacturing manager of American Express Publishing in New York. "We're certainly concerned about it. [But] it's not a shock—we were expecting it, and

Magic Bullet
February 1, 2004

By rounding out its service offerings, consolidating operations, and strategically leveraging digital variable printing, a direct marketing service firm does the impossible: boosts sales in the face of the recession. Two years ago, executives at The Instant Web Companies (IWCO) decided it was time to reevaluate and possibly recast their long-held successful business model. The goal: to find a way to boost sales and profits in a recession-era economy that was threatening both. The company, based in Chanhassen, Minn., has served North American direct marketers for 35 years. Its principal offerings: two proprietary commingling and logistics management programs that maximize postage savings for

A Critical Path for Mailing Software
December 1, 2003

In theory, bringing a technology solution to your business is almost always a good idea. Who wouldn't want to adopt techniques and equipment that can save you and your staff time, labor, and money? But with many choices in the marketplace, it's hard to know how to select a solution that suits your organization's needs. This is especially true when you're charged with a decision to buy mailing management software. Shifting government regulations and frequent rate changes increase your marketplace learning curve, lengthening and complicating the decision-making process. But certain landmarks can help mailing software neophytes ensure they're headed down the path. Prospective concerns

Going Postal
August 1, 2003

At 208' long, it's nearly two-thirds the size of a football field. But executives at Fry Communications say this digital printing behemoth is an effective weapon in the war against high distribution costs. Fry Communications' Co-Mailing Utility can print up to 33 publications simultaneously, while keeping mail databases properly sorted. This allows publishers to qualify for higher postal discounts. The process physically merges the mailstreams of different titles to create one master mailstream, which is then eligible for higher presort discounts available at the carrier route sort level. The process can result in a 10% to 15% savings on postal costs, compared to the price of mailing

Marching Orders for U.S. GPO
May 1, 2003

Quick: Name the man who spends 80% of his time focusing on the future of the U.S. Government Printing Office. Informed publishing professionals might point to Bruce James, the 24th Public Printer of the United States (a post first held by Benjamin Franklin). That's a good guess, but wrong. The U.S. GPO's new strategic thinker is James's chief of staff, Frank Parlow. A retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and former business consultant to the Public Printer, Parlow is drafting the strategic plan that will bring the U.S. GPO into the 21st century. As part of that process, Parlow is analyzing issues confronting not

January 1, 2003

The U.S. attorney general is suing a trade magazine publisher for millions in alleged postal fraud. Investigations and enforcement actions targeting other magazine and catalog publishers could follow. The suit also raises questions about the process and integrity of subscriber audits performed by Business of Performing Audits International. BPAI audited 14 of the publisher's 55 titles. The civil lawsuit alleges Medical World Communications Inc., Jamesburg, N.J., defrauded the U.S. Postal Service by "padding" mailing lists for its periodicals. Prosecutors say the company lied to the USPS when it declared over 50% of readers were subscribers. That qualified Medical World for periodical rates 30% to

Paper Jam
November 1, 2002

It's not just magazine publishers crying the blues over the weak U.S. economy, which inspired advertisers to cut ad page placements 9.3 percent in 2001, and 10.4 percent this year, according to a recent report from market researcher Nielsen/NetRatings. Magazine publishers have responded by tightening ad/edit ratios, decreasing trim sizes, and going with lighter basis weights. Cataloguers have also cut back, shifting promotions to the Internet and other electronic media, while pruning mail lists and slashing page counts. Corporations outside the publishing industry have also pulled back, trimming the number of brochures and other printed matter produced annually. It all adds up to a

Magazines and the Mail
November 16, 2001

Postmaster General John E. Potter, in testimony before the Subcommittee on Treasury and General Government Committee on Appropriations of the United States Senate, requested up to $5 billion dollars. In the category of direct impact of the terrorist attacks, he estimated costs to be $3 billion or more. For revenue losses incurred, he is asking as much as $2 billion. Potter's testimony left no doubt that the Postal Service does not believe the ratepayers, such as magazine publishers, should bear the costs associated with the recent terrorist attacks. He emphasized that the USPS does not intend to raise postal rates before Fall 2002. Magazine

We the People
August 1, 2001

In conjunction with its annual summer board meeting, members of Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) met with U.S. Postmaster General John "Jack" Potter and Congressional leaders regarding issues facing the United States Postal Service (USPS), including future rate hikes. At the earliest, the magazine industry strongly believes that there should be no new rate increase until 2003. Members of the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) also attended the day's events. "As we reviewed the many important issues facing our industry during our meeting, none ranked higher than the possibility of yet another postal rate increase. The modified rate increase imposed in July

Drawing Boundaries
May 4, 2001

Every time the average person glues a stamp onto an envelop, it costs money. But on a much larger scale, magazine publishers face the brunt of postal hikes ten-fold. Recently, Magazine Publishers of America (MPA), an organization dedicated to proactive education and industry activism, proposed a plan to eliminate U.S. Postal Service (USPS) hikes. MPA claims the USPS could save between $3.1 and $4.1 billion without a proposed rate hike by implementing a hiring freeze and consolidating "under-utilized" mail-processing plants. "The Postal Service does not need another rate increase," says Nina Link, MPA president and CEO. Link theorizes that the USPS should operate more