Rule change for 'marked copies' for postal-permit holders

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    Barry Smith

    Below is a letter from Max Heath, chairman of the National Newspaper Association’s postal committee giving a heads-up on changes to the “marked copy” rule for periodicals-permit holders (and a link to the original letter):

    Many members have written to thank the National Newspaper Association for its work in getting the “marked copy” rule changed for Periodicals mailers. We know quite a few of you are considering whether you want to make the change.

    I wanted to let you know that this alternate process is about to be opened to the “world.” That means magazines, newsletters and other types of publications that may use Periodicals permits may soon flood the U.S. Postal Service help desk with requests to make a change. We have about another week for NNA members to beta-test this new process before it goes public. This was a consideration granted to NNA by the USPS Business Mail Entry people, and we were grateful for the head start.

    The alternate process will still be available after this week. It may just take longer to get it set up, with many other publications making a request.

    We’ve heard from a few people that making this change doesn’t save much time, given that you’re going to the post office every day to get mail. You’ll still reclaim some hours just by not having to mark up each page. You’ll still need to figure out your advertising percentage if your software doesn’t do that for you.

    Where you’ll see the difference is when you convert your newspaper to electronic documentation. Then, removing the bother of having to physically mark up each page and take it to the post office will make more sense. If you’re not moving toward electronic documentation for filing your weekly/daily postage statements, I hope you’re considering it. Taking this leap really will save you time over the long run. More important, it is going to be the key to our ability to track reliable mail service.

    The Postal Service has updated the documents you’ll need to understand and comply with the new alternate marked copy rule. They can be found here, here and here. Please let the Postal Committee know about your experience if you try to use the new process.

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