Magazine publishers in the U.S. are reeling at the prospect that the United States Postal Service may be preparing to impose a rate increase of as much as 10% across the board for mailing magazines effective January 2014. According to a story in Folio: the unexpected cost is a huge budgetary consideration for subscription-based periodicals that rely on mail on the ground for circulation distribution.
“This is not a bluff on behalf of the postal service,” says James Cregan, executive vice president, government affairs, for the MPA—The Association of Magazine Media, in a phone interview. “Among knowledgeable people working within the mailing industry, it’s commonly known that this exigent rate increase is very much on the table.”Essentially an exigent increase was allowed for in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in 2006 and is meant to allow the USPS to meet "exceptional or extraordinary" circumstances. -- things usch as terrorist attacks or natural disasters. However, the post office is apparently using it to respond to to the impact of digital publishing on their bottom line.
“The possibility of magazines on the brink deciding to move to a digital format, being pushed that way in response to a rate increase, is not an extraordinary circumstance,” argues Cregan. “It’s something the postal service should have planned for already.”The Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) said
“an exigent rate increase is not a solution to the agency’s financial issues or the profitability of certain classes of mail,” in an open letter from the coalition to the chairman of the USPS Board of Governors Mickey Barnett.