Video: After 22 years, book publisher told he can’t use media mail any more

GLOUCESTER VA-Steve Lanning is proud of what his company, Bluewater Publishing, produces and so are the tens of thousands of service members who have ordered one of his cruise books that documents deployments for the Navy, Marines, Army and National Guard.

Since 1991, his books have qualified for what’s called the media mail shipping rate, a discounted price from the U.S. Postal Service for mailing items such as books. He often sends hundreds of books at time, so the rate saves him money.

Suddenly last month, Lanning learned no can’t ship under the media mail rate, so that has increased his shipping price by more than $7.00 a book.

Read more: Gloucester publisher fighting to keep postal rate for military cruise books | Norfolk – Hampton Roads.

  • RacerRay

    We are being led to destruction by these idiots(management) that are paid big bucks to make these asinine decisions and obviously are not qualified to do so.

  • JK

    Instead of raising prices how about slashing salaries of management and these damn engineers making 6 figures who walk around with their clip boards to make sure everyone jogs their mail! Lol what a joke USPS is any more.

  • JB

    I’ve seen management in my office open media mail for inspection when they know damn well who the mailer is and what they mail.Management needs to do something constructive with their work day…like actually being in the office when there’s a problem instead of sneaking home early,leaving a clerk to handle things.This dumba$$ postmaster should be relieved of her cushy job.She makes all of us look bad.

  • mjamison

    I’ve been in touch with Mr. Lanning. His pieces were unquestionably Media Mail. Perhaps even worse than the denial of service was the fact that the only alternative offered was Priority Mail Flat Rate – even though he would easily have qualified for BPM and other discount or bulk services.
    In an e-mail Mr. Lanning indicated that he just received news from NY pricing that the pieces do, in fact, qualify for Media Mail.
    This is simply another example of what a privatized for profit entity would act like. There are solid reasons for Media Mail and non-profit discounted rates as well as discounted rates for periodicals. Many of these rates would disappear under the sort of postal system envisioned by PMG Donahoe, the BOG, and many members of Congress.

  • Cliff Claven

    Do you think this PM will get any form of discipline for embarrassing the USPS like this? Of course not, management can do no wrong. Shame full.

    • Sam Malone

      no, probably be promoted…

    • LiamSkye

      Of course not. She should not face discipline for doing her job. She issued a local ruling as she is required to do in her job description and it was not outrageously off the mark. There is an appeal process in place if the customer does not agree with a postmaster’s local decision and I’m pretty sure the appeal will be in her favor. I have seen hundreds of children’s books that qualify for Media Mail rate that have even more pictures compared to text than Mr. Lanning’s books.

      • Cliff Claven

        So is your PM stopping the children’s books?

        My supervisors can’t make a decision with out consulting the station manager, who must consult the PM, who must consult the District Office.

        I can only conclude that the PM in this office over stepped her responsibilities. Looks like a 7 day suspension is in order.

        • LiamSkye

          No, the children’s books aren’t being stopped because they qualify for Media Mail rates. My point is just that the postmaster has to make a decision and sometimes they make the wrong one so there is an appeal process. Usually an appeal will be answered by an official letter that explains the regulations and how they apply and both the customer and the postmaster get a copy. Our regs can be both complex and vague and I’ve never heard of any discipline being issued because of an erroneous ruling.

          • Cliff Claven

            There are consequences for poor judgment.

            There are people on the payroll at the District offices that specialize in “sales”. They know what qualifies in each category of mailing. This PM should have consulted with the experts before embarrassing the USPS.

            She is power hungry and a disgrace to the USPS. She will be promoted shortly, like Sam said.