New Postal Rates Give Big Break to Small Papers

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

When new postal rates go into effect next January, community newspapers that use the mail to deliver inside their home county will get a big break.

Under the negotiated rate settlement, rates will increase 5.4% across the board — except for the in-county rate that smaller circulation papers, especially weeklies, rely on for delivery. In-county will actually decrease by 5% to 6%.

“While everybody else is going up 5.4%, in-county mail is going down, going down, going down,” Max Heath, the National Newspaper Association’s long-time postage guru, said at the NNA’s 119th annual convention in Milwaukee Friday.

Depending on a newspaper’s particular delivery needs, in-county postage costs will decrease in a range of 5% to 6%, said Heath, president of Landmark Community Newspapers Inc., in Shelbyville, Ky.

Heath said NNA deserved much of the credit for the decrease. The association campaigned for some 10 years to change the way the US Postal Service (USPS) measures the volume of in-county mail. With more accurate measurements, the USPS can now see how much the in-county rate is used.

The in-county rate should be lower because it is easy for the Postal Service to handle, he added. “Most of you have walk-sequenced [newspapers], and most of it is just dumped at the [delivery center] and put right into the carrier route,” Heath said.

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