Postal Orifice

I’m a bit put out with the US Postal Service at the moment. Specifically a unit in Toledo Ohio. Here’s why:

I received a box from a fan with two mass market paperbacks inside that my fan wanted signed and returned. He included an addressed return box and postage as well as a note saying he thought the Post Office might have overcharged him to send the books to me.

The books had come parcel post and cost $8.57 to come to me. Another $8.57 in assorted stamps represented the return cost. But, and here’s where I’m pissed off on my fans behalf and mine–since this puts me in a bad light for asking the fan to spend so much ($17.14 total postage)–I know from talking to my own local Post Office employees that they are supposed to help customers find the best option for their needs. I don’t think the Toledo Post Office did that, since it costs only $4.95 to send the same two books in a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope just like this one:Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope

I send books all the time in this envelope. I can fit two mass markets, or one trade paperback, or one hardcover in the envelope and they arrive sooner and in fine condition for less money than parcel post. If it’s just one mass market, then it’s goes in a padded envelope with Priority Mail postage (because it’s more than a 1/4″ thick and is therefore a package). It’s cheaper than the flat rate packs and faster than parcel post for about $1 more. With the cost of postage what it is, the flat rate Priority Mail packaging is often the best way to go, even when it’s not the cheapest–it arrives sooner and is handled with more care. And as you can see, it’s sometimes cheaper than anything but Media Mail, which under the new restrictions no longer includes a signed book with any sort of letter or promotional materials included.

Postal Employees working at the shipping counter are required to tell you all your shipping options and help you send your mail and packages in the most efficient and cost-effective way. These guys fucked that up and it pisses me off that my fan paid enough in postage to have mailed the books to me and back twice because of poor advice.

I returned my fan’s books in a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope, utilizing the $4.95 stamp included in the return postage he’d paid for, and put the rest of the postage stamps in the envelope for him to use on something else. I hope he changes Post Office branches or at least has a word with that station’s manager. Is it any wonder the Post Office has the crappy rep it does with service like this?

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About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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4 Responses to Postal Orifice

  1. Art Boulton III says:

    Signed books no longer qualify for media mail?

  2. Garrett says:

    It depends on how accommodating your PO guys are. I’ve had some refuse to ship books as media mail, and some who do what they are supposed to do.

  3. It’s mostly the “other stuff” that disqualifies them, but yes, some POs will tell you that only libraries and booksellers can use media mail. Or if you’re sending a book TO a library, there’s a special rate for that too.

  4. Of couse, if you are a bookseller and the boxes say “University Book Store” that’s a different kettle of fish from being a writer sending out your own. (Can’t trust us nasty word-wranglers, y’know.)

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