Postal Rates Rise; Markets Change to Cope

US Postal Service rates went up over the weekend — a first-class stamp went from 39 to 41 cents, and in the change that most affects me, a one-pound media mail package went from $1.59 to $2.13. (For the unfamiliar, media mail means reduced rates for sending books, CDs, videotapes, DVDs, and the like. Online sellers and traders use this class a lot.)

TwoMorrows, the magazine publisher, like many companies, had to reset its website rates as a result. As previously reported, they’re also working on moving more readers, especially those overseas, to online editions.

It’s a vicious cycle: with the convenience of online bill paying, email, and electronic greetings, who needs the post office for much these days? So they have fewer customers, which means price raises, which means more customers look for alternatives.

What does this mean for comics? It’s another reason to go digital. Sampling an issue through the mail may cost $5 (cover price + shipping); sampling online at a store like eyemelt costs 69 cents.


6 Responses to “Postal Rates Rise; Markets Change to Cope”

  1. Dwight Williams Says:

    I think I still like the idea of a papermail postal system in addition to everything else.

  2. Randy Lander Says:

    And sampling in a direct market store is free, and the charge to buy the comic is cover price instead of cover price + shipping.

    Just saying… it’s not only digital or only buying online.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Very true, Randy, but many customers looking for obscure titles may have a hard time finding a browsing copy on the shelf, with increased lean & tight ordering strategies. I wish it were otherwise.

    Lately, the titles I’m most interested in browsing are manga, and I go to Borders for that.

  4. Nat Gertler Says:

    Another change that effects those of us who deal in books and comics – Bound Printed Matter rates are no longer “available at retail”. The clerk will not check the cost of Media Mail versus BPM any more. You can still ship things BPM. (Although many folks don’t realize that many comics don’t qualify for BPM, as they contain ads.)

    While the Internet has drained some of the business for the post office, it has also generated some new work for it. Folks buying stuff from eBay, Amazon, and the like has spurred some, and they gotta love Netflix, with each rental being two First Class mailings.

  5. James Schee Says:

    I just want to say one thing “It isn’t my fault!!” :)

    Sorry but it was kind of weird over the past couple of years as a postal employee, that every time I got a raise the postal rate would increase. No raise this time, they are cutting my facility out in November actually.

    Interesting to see how it might change things for comics, and especially the media mail option.

  6. SLG Goes Digital-Only for Serialization — The End of the Indy Comic Book Issue? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] server space, on a website you’re already maintaining in many cases. With rising paper and postage costs, digital is a lot cheaper for customers to sample, too. This has been coming since at least 2009, […]

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