Wednesday, March 24, 2010

U.S. publishers wonder if their magazines will stand up to the "droop test"

Magazine publishers in the U.S. -- particularly those whose recession-hit magazines are a bit thin for lack of advertising -- are concerned about whether or not they will pass the U.S. Postal Service's "droop test", also called "deflection standards". According to a story in Audience Development, American Business Media (which represents b2b publishers) says the penalties will be severe, starting next fall.
According to a recent post by anonymous blogger Dead Tree Edition, publications that are unusually tall and/or wide are equally at risk of failing the droop test. “Oversized magazines may still be inserted into newspapers, sold on newsstands, handed out at trade shows, and distributed via alternate delivery,” the post reads. “But unless the Postal Service changes the regulations and/or the proposed penalties, the sight of a mailbox containing an oversized magazine or catalog could become extremely
rare.”
The "droop test" determines whether a flat mailed piece will be too flexible and will fall off the automatic postal sorting machines that handle them. For instance, if a magazine 10" or longer bends more than 3 inches when extended 5 inches into space from a flat surface, the post office will charge a penalty; a higher rate. This affects catalogues and other pieces of direct mail, but can also apply to magazines, especially larger, floppier ones.

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