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New USPS Rules That Should Be On Your Radar - 2/12/2013 -

Numerous U.S. Postal Service changes took effect last month. What do association publishers need to know?

By Carla Kalogeridis

The U.S. Postal Service implemented a number of changes in January and then announced on February 6th that it will cut Saturday deliveries. Although packages will still be delivered six days a week, the move to a five-day mail delivery schedule will save the financially struggling organization about $2 billion. (Editor’s note: Don't miss Signature’s Jan/Feb 2013 feature on the future of the USPS, "This Could Get Ugly.”) Here is a summary of the most recent changes affecting association publishers.

1. Intelligent Mail Barcode. Beginning January 27, 2013, the USPS no longer recognizes the POSTNET barcode as a means for mailers to obtain automation discounts for letters, cards, flats, and periodicals. The use of IMb gives association publishers the ability to receive additional postage discounts, obtain Address Change Service at no charge, and increase mail visibility to track the delivery of mail.

"Of all the changes taking effect in January, the most crucial for association publishers is making sure to use the IMb on business reply mail,” says Joyce Keefauver, postal support customer service representative for The Sheridan Group’s journal companies, which includes The Sheridan Press, DartmouthJournal Services, and Dartmouth Printing Company. (Sheridan prints Association Media & Publishing’s Signature magazine.)

Either the basic or full-service IMb will satisfy this rule change. Qualified Business Reply Mail must contain an IMb to receive discounted postage.Failure to print an IMb will cause a postage increase up to 23 percent compared to current automation rates. QBRM postage will increase by as much as $.10 per piece without an IMb. "Many association publishers use BRCs for subscription renewals, and they will want them to be returned at the discounted rate,” notes Keefauver. "Make sure your reply cards and letters are prepared with the new IMb.”

2. No additional entry fee for periodicals. Periodical mailers are no longer required to pay a fee for additional entry locations. This means approved periodicals may now mail from any post office. Association publishers can apply for free at a new post office to allow that office to be an additional entry location; this is represents increased convenience and cost savings for publishers, which before were required to make that request at their original post office.

Keefauver says this elimination of the additional entry fee is an important change coming from the USPS. "Not only is this beneficial financially, but also association publishers will experience no more mailing delays due to their printer or mail house waiting on the approval,” she explains.

3. Change in advertising percentage. Periodical Requester publications will now be permitted to exceed the 75 percent advertising limitation on no more than 25 percent of the issues produced in any 12-month period. This change will allow publishers greater advertising flexibility during periods of high-advertising volume.

4. New option for periodical identification statement. The USPS is offering publishers the option to direct Undeliverable As Addressed mail to a Centralized Forwarding Site rather than directly from the local delivery unit. The goal is to increase the number of electronic Address Correction System notifications and lower the volume of hard-copy returns.

  • The previous text: POSTMASTER: Send address changes to (insert Publication Title and Mailing Address).
  • The new text: POSTMASTER: Send all UAA mail to CFS. NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: Send address corrections to (Publication Title and Mailing Address).

5. Rate change for postage and fees. The USPS adjusted postage rates on January 27, 2013 using its annual Consumer Price Index authority. Average rate increases by mail class and piece type are:

Mail Class

Increase Percent

Postage Increase/Unit

First-Class Letter



First-Class Card



Standard Letter



Standard Letter – Nonprofit



Business Reply Letter



Business Reply Card






Permit Fee (Annual)



Accounting Fee (Annual)



Post Office Box (6-month)



Address Correction (ACS)



Carla Kalogeridis is editorial director of Association Media & Publishing. Thank you to CDS Global for providing the summary of USPS changes mentioned in this report.


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