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Topic: Book with an advertisement

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Subject: Book with an advertisement
Date Posted: 1/14/2012 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 31
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Today at my library I was able to pick up a few 1970's science fiction books for a quarter each.  One of them, in the middle of the book, has a cardstock advertisement page for Kent cigarettes.  I know that advertising makes a book unpostable.  However, if I neatly remove this page from the book, could it then be posted?  It is the only advertising in the book.  The book has a few wishers, and I would like one of them to have it since I have no use for this book.  Or maybe I should post it, PM the requestor that it has an advertisement, and send it First Class mail if they still want it?  I would hate to ruin the book by trying to tear the ad out.  By the way, I've never seen an ad in the middle of a book.  Is this common in books from the 70's?  Another thing different about this book is that the sides of the pages are dyed red.  I thought that was unique.  

Date Posted: 1/14/2012 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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How much does the book weigh? If it's about 8 oz, it might be the same or cheaper to mail by First Class mail anyway.

If that's the case, I'd just post it and mail it as is (without PMing the requestor).


Date Posted: 1/14/2012 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I was going to say the same thing as Sophia.  If it's a mass market paperback, you can probably send it first class for about the same as media mail anyway.

Date Posted: 1/14/2012 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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If it's card-stock and meant to be removed, I'd just remove it carefully. Or like Sophia said, if it's light enough to go first class then you don't have to bother. 

Date Posted: 1/14/2012 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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Those of us who were alive in the 1970s do indeed remember those ads in the middle of books.  IMHO, these should not make the book unpostable; they were incidental ads that were ubiquitous at the time.

Lori M. (ripley) - ,
Date Posted: 1/14/2012 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 1,616
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I don't see anywhere that these books would be unpostable; many older paperbacks had this kind of advertising in them. The problem is that they cannot technically be sent media mail and would have to go first class, most likely.

Date Posted: 1/15/2012 2:00 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The book is postable with the advertising card.  Remove the card and the book can be mailed Media Mail rate, but as already mentioned, could easily be eligible for Frist Class.

Date Posted: 1/15/2012 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2007
Posts: 6,559
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According to the help docs, anything with advertising is not allowed. So, I would think the cigarette ad would need to be neatly removed in order for the book to be postable. 

Date Posted: 1/15/2012 3:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 572
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I remember some paperbacks being like that when I was younger, too. A lot of series romance paperbacks came with a cardstock piece bound in at the middle of the book - usually it was some kind of postcard that you could remove and send back in if you wanted to have the series - Harlequin, Silhouette, etc. - sent to you monthly as a subscription. That's a little different, I know, because it's an ad for the book or the publishing company itself, just like a lot of books had in the back of the book - mail this back with your address and a check and we'll mail you some of our additional books in this series.

There seem to be two issues here. First is PBS's conditions for postability - I can't see anything in the help docs that would preclude a book like this being posted - it came with the ad bound in the book; it's not like you're adding it after the fact. I don't think you need to remove it, and in fact I wouldn't because it adds to the vintage charm of the book.

The other issue is whether it can be sent media mail via the USPS - strictly speaking, I suspect the answer is no, based on the USPS's "no advertising or added documents" rule for media mail, and that it should be mailed first class. However, I seriously doubt that a cardstock ad bound into a book would ever been found - the USPS is looking for gross violations of the media mail service, like mailing a pair of shoes or a personal letter, not an ad that's actually part of a vintage book.

Date Posted: 1/15/2012 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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The clearest way to an official ruling is Feedback via the Contact Us link in the lower right under Company. The PBSTeam can tell you if the advertising violates their ruling. Here, unless someone posts an answer they received from the Team or a document from the Help Center or Tour Guide Lounge, they are just giving you their opinion which won't really help if you run into problems.

I would lean towards yes, the advertising needs to be removed to make the book postable. The advertising in many other things that are banned from posting here (magazines, comics) also have it bound in, and those things are still banned from the site due to the advertising.  Anything that includes advertising not incidental to the book is banned. Could this be like those ads for the coffee makers that sometimes get tossed into B&N boxes and woouldn't be a MM violation? Maybe, but I think the Team's opinion is the one you need.

The likelihood is that the book could be shipped, and sent Media Mail, and it would travel without a hitch and be received without a problem. It could also go into a post office with a very strict post master who inspects everything and cigarette ads are definitely NOT incidental to the book itself and would violate Media Mail and the book could arrive with a large amount of  postage due.  There are postmasters out there like they, we've seen reports of them on the site more than once.  If the ad could be removed without damaging the book, I certainly would not take the chance of a problem. 

Last Edited on: 1/15/12 5:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: advertisment in books
Date Posted: 1/16/2012 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,448
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I remember getting the books in the 1970's with the advertistment in them. I believer that they would be small enough they would go as 1st class. I don't think they weigh over 4 oz..Even if it was over 7 oz, I would just send it 1st class-but I think it is part of the book and can go media mail too-the ad is part of the book.

Date Posted: 1/17/2012 9:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2008
Posts: 758
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New books also have advertising - they promote the author's previous books, upcoming books, and even have a chapter or two of their next novel.  This doesn't seem to make them either unpostable or not eligible for media mail.   PBS itself is sending these media mail if you buy new books from them.  Check with your Post Office if you're that concerned about the ad.


Date Posted: 1/17/2012 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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they promote the author's previous books, upcoming books, and even have a chapter or two of their next novel.

That would fall under the "incidental to the book" category. Meaning, it is directly related to the author/publisher. An advertisement for cigarettes is not incidental.