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Topic: Media Mail for "Educational Only"???

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Subject: Media Mail for "Educational Only"???
Date Posted: 10/30/2009 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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So I went to my PO today to mail some books. They had the PBS label, so they were already marked media mail.  The clerk said, "Did you know they just changed the rules for Media Mail?"  I said, "No..what did they change?"  She said, "Media mail can now only be used for educational purposes, not for entertainment."  And so I said, "I hadn't heard that.  Give those back to me until I figure it out.  Is it on the USPS website?"  She said, "I don't know...it should be...let me go ask my supervisor."   She came back after a few minutes and said that her supervisor told her the post office had received a letter saying that the rules had changed, but they hadn't "clarified" it yet, so the supervisor said to go ahead and mail the packages Media Mail until they get clarification.   So we mailed them.

That makes no sense!  How are they going to define "educational"???  If a homeschooler orders a copy of The Kite Runner to read for school, is that educational?  But if I order it for "entertainment", that's not??? 

Has anyone else been told this??

Date Posted: 10/30/2009 7:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
Posts: 1,619
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That's the first time I've heard that.  I hope it's not true!  If it is, it will make using PBS a lot more expensive. 

Date Posted: 10/30/2009 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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I think those postal personnel have confused two things and come up with the wrong interpretation.  Here is what they probably saw, but it says nothing about books:


new Customer Support Ruling (CSR) PS-334, Computer Readable — Media Eligibility for Media Mail Prices. This CSR clarifies that video games, whether on CD-ROM, diskettes, or similar software, regardless of form, or playable systems including computers, do not meet the standards for Media Mail.

In addition, storage devices such as “portable hard drives,” "thumb drives," "flash drives," "jump-drives," and "USB drives” for use with computers are also not eligible for Media Mail prices.

New CSR PS-334 and all CSRs are available on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com. CSRs help Postal Service employees and customers use our mailing standards by providing examples of specific mailpieces and an analysis of how the standards are applied.

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is available on Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com). To subscribe to the DMM Advisory, send an e-mail to dmmadvisory@usps.com. Simply indicate "subscribe" in the subject line.

Date Posted: 10/30/2009 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2007
Posts: 36
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I just saw that too, Diane.

The clerk at Christa's post office must have stopped reading the new regulation when he/she came to this sentence:

"From the beginning of Media Mail, the policy behind this classification has been to encourage the flow of educational materials through the mail."






Subject: Playaways
Date Posted: 10/30/2009 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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"In addition, storage devices such as “portable hard drives,” "thumb drives," "flash drives," "jump-drives," and "USB drives” for use with computers are also not eligible for Media Mail prices. "


i'd recommend sending them FC as a zealous "inspector" is likely to see them as being excluded for falling under the above, a headache you don't need to possibly save a small amount.

Date Posted: 10/31/2009 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Christa, I think your post office may be confusing Media Mail with the Library Rate.  My PO hasn't said anything about changes to MM, and they are well trained and up-to-speed on upcoming changes.  Local counter clerks know me by name, and are well aware I send alot of books...sure they would mention if changes were coming.

In addition, recorded tapes, CD's, and DVD's may be sent MM...but the same media (tape, CD, DVD) is not eligible if blank/unrecorded.

ETA - if the question arises again Christa, ask to see the document they are working from.

Last Edited on: 11/2/09 12:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 11/1/2009 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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The clerks at my PO arent educated on thier own regulations to determine what educational material even is.

Last Edited on: 11/1/09 10:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/2/2009 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2009
Posts: 10
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By "not for entertainment", they are referring to the CSR clarifying that video games are not media mail. One thing I found rather ironic though is that adult videos are allowed as media mail. Apparently, they are considered as educational.