The US Postal Service apparently feels that the magazine industry needs a reality check. Last week an industry spokesperson complained about recent price increases and warned that new legislation would allow the USPS to charge “whatever it wants”- you know, the way magazine publishers do!
In response, the USPS claimed yesterday that pending legislation would still include restrictions on the USPS’s ability to raise prices. More importantly though, the agency reminded the publishers that they still get a much better deal than the average American- 27 cents postage to deliver a magazine. The USPS also points out that 27 cents doesn’t cover its costs- so the rest of us get to pay a little extra to mail our bills and cards in order to subsidize the magazine industry.
Here’s the USPS response, as published in USPS News Link:
Does legislation pending in the U.S. Senate designed to reform current laws governing USPS give the organization “unchecked, unprecedented power to charge Americans whatever it wants for its services?”
The answer is no, based on protections against theoretical monopoly abuses in current laws.
This assertion was made by Association of Magazine Media CEO Mary Berner in an opinion article that appeared in the publication, Roll Call. But, according to USPS officials, the underlying sentiment of Berner’s assertion is untrue.
“The bill provides reasonable authority and greater flexibility to develop and price products and services,” USPS said in response to Berner’s article. “This is a basic need for an organization that derives all of its income from the sale of postage.”
Also, the Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) are bound in current law to determine “just and reasonable” postage rates. This requirement won’t change under proposed legislation. “It will always be in our interests to preserve the affordability of mail,” USPS said in the response.
Magazine publishers only pay about 27 cents for delivery on average, a fee far lower than the rate at which the Postal Service can recover its costs to deliver their products.