USPS Five Day Delivery
After years of debating the merits of a USPS five day delivery schedule and the United States Postal Service’s declaration that it would move forward with the sweeping reform in early August 2013, the Postmaster General backed down due to significant pressure from Congress and the American consumer. The Magazine Publishers of America were front-and-center for the debate, serving up industry insiders, experts and executives to lend its highly relevant voice to the conversation—and always airing on the need to maintain Saturday deliveries.
However, despite calling off any efforts to eliminate weekend mail service, the USPS has indicated it will seek other methods to make up for the projected $2 billion it would have saved with this cut—and that could mean significant cost increases for magazine publishers, who ship more than 90% of all consumer and trade titles via USPS.
The relationship between the MPA and USPS has long been contentious, and these seemingly inevitable hikes—which some experts estimate could mean 20-30% increases for smaller circulation periodicals—will just add fuel to the fire. In 2007, the USPS implemented new rates for magazines and other media mail which equated to an average of 11.7% for most leading consumer books, and as much as 40% for smaller niche titles. At that time also enacted new discounts for dropshipping via private truckers, bundle charges based on presorting and a host of rate differences based on trim size and format. As a result, many publishers sought to co-mail or co-palletize—merge multiple magazines for the purpose of postal processing—to reduce costs.
The current debate will no doubt yield significant changes to the media mail regulations and effect print schedules of companies like Kopytek that do Digital Printing, as a result, directly impact thousands of print publications globally. Co-mail and co-palletizing and trim size reductions are already being rumored within the consumer publishing arena, taking a lead from titles such as Every Day with Rachael Ray, Elle, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone and The Christian Chronicle among others who, due to previous postage hikes and reduced retail rack space took their oversized glossies down by several inches.