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Topic: Including a Promo Bookmark in a requested book

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Subject: Including a Promo Bookmark in a requested book
Date Posted: 8/1/2016 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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This question came up in a book group at FB - one of the members there has an Etsy shop and wants to include a bookmark with her Etsy information listed on the bookmark. Is this against PBS rules? If not what's the general consensus about promo items being included in a book you receive. The person in question isn't me, in case anyone's wondering. I'm just curious as the young lady seems to be a very nice person and it would be a shame if she got into trouble for doing this. Any feedback would be welcome.

Date Posted: 8/1/2016 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,090
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Technically, you can't include other items inside a media mail package. So that's one reason why she shouldn't do it.

Also, PBS does frown on advertising your "business" on PBS, I imagine that would include a package insert into a book.

Having said that, I get plenty of bookmarks in books that people mail to me and I don't care. I wouldn't report it.

But some poeple may be personally bothered by it.

All in all, probably not a good idea.

Date Posted: 8/1/2016 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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Thanks, Sara. I totally forgot about the Media Mail regs! 



Date Posted: 8/2/2016 8:06 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I agree, I often get bookmarks included, even PBS has -- or at least used to -- a bookmark you can print. Having said that, I have always understood that included advertising was not allowed...and yes, there are those pesky Media Mail regulations.

Date Posted: 8/2/2016 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,295
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I think amazon does not allow it either.

I find books once in a while that have book marks that are themed in connection with the book they are in. I also find old books in thrift stores and the book has a book mark in it from a bookstore from locations all over the US. I thought about collecting these book marks from around the US. but I don't really have the room for it.

Date Posted: 8/2/2016 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,466
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Personally, I don't see a problem with including any bookmarks without advertising. Bookmarks are part of books. For example, if you include a bookmark with words like "Get caught reading a good book," with a photo of a person reading a book (an actual bookmark I have) where is the problem? I seriously doubt the Post Office will be sending either a postal inspector or the FBI to arrest you.

As for advertising, if a bookmark has some advertising on it, say an address of a book store, but the majority of the bookmark has facts about Civil War generals, I also don't see any problem. Even Amazon often includes bookmarks with famous saying about books, and the bookmark has the wording "Amazon.com" on it. I know this to be true, as I have several I received this way.

However, if the bookmark is mostly advertising or has advertising for a business you are connected with, then there certainly would be a potential problem. I once reported someone here to PBS for including advertising, and a really smelly sample, of scents they were selling for some company. The idea was for you to join and be listed under their management. I reported them more for the really bad smelling scents than the advertising pitch. I also discovered others had complained before me about that person.

Of course, official Post Office rules might disagree with me. But I usually include laminated non-advertising bookmarks with the books I send. One example is a bookmark from a large bundle the Federal Reserve Bank sent me on famous Americans. These go out in large hardbacks as they are long bookmarks.  Another bookmark I often include in smaller books has images of insects with a listing of the university Web site where you can go for free information. It was for a site I developed when I was employed by that university and was very popular. It recorded over 5 million page views a year for years, when I worked on it, and is still popular world-wide.

Last Edited on: 8/2/16 11:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2016 12:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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I don't think Amazon uses media mail for items sold.  You can send bookmarks or other items with First Class Mail.  

Date Posted: 8/2/2016 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 5,952
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It falls under the Domestic Mail Manual - Chapter 270- Media Mail, 273-Prices & Eligibility --- 5.2 Incidental First Class Mail Attachments & Enclosures.   !!The bookmark can NOT advertise any business, anything to purchase, any reference to a place to visit - anything!

It's akin to writing "Happy Birthday, Love Mom" on a piece of paper and putting it in the book.

(Of course no one in the post offices has read their manuals front to back, so every postal employee will have a different answer.)

Last Edited on: 8/2/16 3:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2016 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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Happy Birthday is actually OK.  I will have to look up that reference.

Date Posted: 8/2/2016 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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5.4 Written Additions

[6-2-14] Markings that have the character of personal correspondence require, with certain exceptions, additional postage at the First-Class Mail prices. The following written additions and enclosures do not require additional First-Class Mail postage:

a. The sender's and the addressee's names, occupations, and addresses, preceded by “From” or “To,” and directions for handling.

b. Marks, numbers, names, or letters describing the contents.

c. Words or phrases such as “Do Not Open Until Christmas” and “Happy Birthday, Mother.”

d. Instructions and directions for the use of the item mailed.

e. A manuscript dedication or inscription not having the nature of personal correspondence.

f. Marks to call attention to words or passages in the text.

g. Corrections of typographical errors in printed matter.

h. Manuscripts accompanying related proof sheets and corrections of proof sheets including corrections of typographical and other errors, changes in the text, insertions of new text, marginal instructions to the printer, and corrective rewrites of parts.

i. Hand-stamped imprints, unless the added material is in itself personal or converts the original matter to a personal communication.

j. Matter mailable separately as Standard Mail printed on the wrapper, envelope, tag, or label.

Date Posted: 8/2/2016 8:05 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,533
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I don't mind having a 'generic' bookmark enclosed, but I don't particularly like anything with advertizing on it. It's just something else that I have to dispose of - probably into the recycle bin, but still...

Date Posted: 8/6/2016 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 16,266
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I sent out 7 books via media mail yesterday. I was asked if there was anything, including correspondence in the books. And then each package was stamped "media mail, subject to inspection" in red.

Date Posted: 8/6/2016 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 4,588
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I wouldn't want to receive anything promoting a business with my book. I don't want religious literature either and used to have a problem with that.

Date Posted: 8/11/2016 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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What Diane said.  IIRC a generic bookmark may be send as 'incidental' but advertising for a personal business is not in compliance with PBS guidelines (and possibly MM).

Date Posted: 8/12/2016 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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I have no desire to receive ANY advertising, solicitations, prayers, or other messages with my books here.

I certainly wouldn't report anyone, but it's just one more thing I have to put in the trash, and since I have to haul my own trash and/or burn the paper trash myself, it is really not appreciated.  

If I were interested in purchasing on Etsy, going to your church, etc. i would seek out those sites directly.  


And by the way, add a few hundred "cardboard" bookmarks to the cargo area of a plane......it mounts up.  The REASON media mail is less expensive is a gift.   Please don't think it's no big deal.  Everything is weighed and there is only so much that can fit on a plane.....

People who continue to cheat the system (ANY system) are those who always ruin a good thing for the rest of us.

Last Edited on: 8/12/16 6:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 2