Q & A: NNA mail prep, tracking webinar: Tubs & Barcodes

May 9, 2016

More than 50 newspapers/plants were represented on the National Newspaper Association’s Pub Aux Live webinar conducted by Brad Hill and me April 7, 2016. Several questions arose that deserve answering to a wider audience. Here they are:

 

Q

 What about changes in the marked copy rule?

 

A

 Although we reported some months ago that the marked copy Periodical requirement might be eliminated except on request, that did not yet happen. Business Mail Acceptance wanted to exact too high a price for that change, so it was withdrawn by majority of Periodicals publishers on the Periodicals Advisory Group, where NNA is represented. 

There were some good changes in the process, one on a request from NNA. 

1. The marked copy can be submitted to either an original entry or additional entry office, but does not have to go to both. 

2. Only one marked copy of the main edition (read that as the ROP newspaper) has to be submitted. You do not have to submit a separate marked copy for each different version (edition) with various advertising preprint combinations. See italics below in Domestic Mail Manual passage:

 

DMM 207.16.2 Filing Marked Copy 

“The publisher must file a copy (marked by the publisher) of each issue, so the advertising content may be verified, with the postmaster of either the original entry office or an additional entry office. If there is more than one edition for an issue, the publisher must submit the main or most prominent edition of the issue and must have all other editions available for review upon request by the USPS. On the first page of each marked copy, the publisher must show the total units and percentage of space devoted to advertising and nonadvertising in the copy.”

 

Q

 How can I order flats trays (tubs) with green lids, pallets, etc. from USPS?

A

 Although many newspapers get enough supply through their local postmaster or from a Sectional Center Facility, newspapers that have established use of electronic documentation have an account in the Business Customer Gateway. 

Once logged in to the Gateway, click “Other Services” and then the “Mail Transport Equipment (METEOR)” link to place an order. Be sure that you and your post office can handle pallets, because equipment is delivered that way.

 

Q

 How can I get help in setting up my Business Customer Gateway account and deal with questions and problems that may arise?

 

A

 The PostalOne!™ Help Desk is available at 800-522-9085, or e-mail postalone@usps.gov.

Q

 What is CAPS?

 

A

 Central Account Processing System, with information available at https://caps.usps.gov/. This allows a newspaper to have postage deducted once the postage statement has been entered in the PostalOne!™ System for each issue of a newspaper or shopper via an electronic deduction from your bank account, just like a debit card. It is valuable in that the publisher no longer has to maintain deposit accounts at their entry office for Periodicals and Standard Mail. That means no hustling to see that checks arrive in time to be on deposit before mailing, which saves your business the cost of “float” or money tied up in those advance deposit accounts. The costs of writing multiple and frequent checks, especially for a group with payments from a central office, and the postage to mail or even overnight those checks, are also saved.

 

Q

 Does the in-county rule require fewer than 10,000 copies mail or total circulation?

A

 There are two parts to the in-county eligibility rule: Either mail more than 50 percent of your circulation within the county of original entry, or distribute fewer than 10,000 paid copies (by all methods, not just mail). The DMM language is pasted below for clarification.

 

DMM 207.11.3.1 Subscriber

or Requester Copies 

“In-county prices apply to subscriber or requester copies of a Periodicals publication entered within the county in which the Post Office of original entry is located for delivery to addressees within that county, if one of the following standards is met:

“a. The total paid or requested circulation of such issue is less than 10,000 copies.

“b. The number of paid or requested copies of such issue distributed within the county of publication is more than 50 percent of the total paid or requested circulation of such issue.”

 

Q

 How do I track my mail delivery these days?

 

A

 There is only one good option left within the U.S. Postal Service. Full-Service IMb—Intelligent Mail barcode.

The electronic ePubwatch system is no longer available after a cyber intrusion of some USPS systems a couple of years ago. It was becoming less effective anyway with smaller staffs in post offices yielding less time for supervisers to log in to the Delivery Unit Computer and report the receipt of a newspaper. 

Likewise, the paper version, Publication Watch PS Form 3721, has never been effective, and it has been eliminated. 

A newspaper will need a Business Customer Gateway account used for eDoc and operating in Full-Service mode via your software vendor. See https://gateway.usps.com. From there, you can click on Mailing Reports, and then the Dashboard with Job ID or Mailing Group ID. Full-Service reports are listed. Select the one stating “Informed Visibility.” More details on this are contained in an archived webinar file on www.nnaweb.org.

Although newspapers may not get piece scanning, there is an increasing amount of tray tag and bundle scanning. © Max Heath 2016

 

MAX HEATH, NNA postal chair, is a postal consultant for Athlon Media Group, publisher of Parade, American Profile, Relish and Spry newspaper supplements, and also for Landmark Community Newspapers LLC. E-mail maxheath@lcni.com.

 

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