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Topic: Promotional stuff recv'd w/book

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Subject: Promotional stuff recv'd w/book
Date Posted: 2/16/2008 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2007
Posts: 57
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I just got a book (which is fine) and there are about 20 pages of promotional pages/cards/bookmarks included. It was sent media mail and I know this is against both PBS and USPS rules. Should I do anything about it or just let it go?

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
Posts: 2,461
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What kind of "promotional stuff"?

Honestly, I would mark it "received with a problem" and let the sender know its against the rules.  Its under the help center information as well.


Date Posted: 2/16/2008 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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I'd PM R&R about it!  Here's what the help center has to say about that.  The last sentence is in bold and red in the help center, so you know they mean buisness!

What is Allowed in a package sent using Media Mail rate:

  • Media, as described above
  • A note with a simple accompanying message,
    • such as "Happy Birthday!" or "Hope you enjoy it!"
  • An invoice or notification of the shipment
    • The second page of the PBS Wrapper falls into this category.
    • The USPS eligibility guidelines for enclosures and attachments for Media Mail say:
      "Attachments and Enclosures"
        2.4.1 Invoice
        An invoice, whether it also serves as a bill, may be placed either inside a Media Mail piece or in an envelope marked "Invoice Enclosed" and attached to the outside of the piece if the invoice relates solely to the matter with which it is mailed. The invoice may show this information:
        • a. Names and addresses of the sender and addressee.
        • b. Names and quantities of the articles enclosed, descriptions of each (e.g., price, tax, style, stock number, size, and quality, and, if defective, nature of defects).
        • c. Order or file number, date of order, date and manner of shipment, shipping weight, postage paid, and initials or name of packer or checker.

Including anything but the ALLOWED materials above in your package is a serious infraction of not only PBS rules, but also Federal law. Including inappropriate materials with your books will jeopardize your membership at PBS.

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2007
Posts: 57
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I know it's against the rules, but it didn't say in the Help Center what to do if you receive a book with "illegal" materials.

FYI, the stuff is promoting other books. Based on the return address of the package, it looks like this book came from a website that does some book promotions.

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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so the member runs a website that sends out books?   I would mark it RWP and just note what was sent.  You can also let the member know in that same area when you mark the book received that they included items that are not allowed to be shipped via media mail.  maybe they didn't know

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 2,024
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I wouldn't care.
Date Posted: 2/16/2008 5:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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I received a book once with an enclosure promoting a potentially offensive religious website.  Since it violated PBS rules, I sent feedback to R&R letting them know, and they thanked me and advised me they were glad to know about the member's actions.

So, if you haven't done so, you might consider letting R&R know what's going on.  Advertising aside, if PBS develops a "bad name" with the post office and media mail folks, we'll all be hosed.



Date Posted: 2/16/2008 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,773
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Including publishers' promotional materials such as bookmarks, bookplates, etc. is allowable via media mail. There is a whole article on www.usps.gov about what types of non-media inserts are allowed in a media package. It's actually quite surprising how much the rules allow for - the problem is that many USPS employees aren't familiar with the rules.

Book/author promoters/agents send out these types of promo materials with ARCs all the time, and most of the independent agents use media mail although the actual publishing houses usually use priority rate to send ARCs to reviewers.

Here's the link to the media mail info in the Domestic Mail manual:


Date Posted: 2/16/2008 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 9/17/2005
Posts: 418
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I drop a bookmark in some of my books that I got free from an author. But 20 pages sounds very excessive. You can contact R&R through the "Contact Us" form in the help center.

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2007
Posts: 57
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ChristianReader -

Thanks for that info, interesting. I'm not quite sure what part of that webpage describes what you're referring to though....

To clarify, this isn't just a bookmark or two. It's several printed pages, cards, and bookmarks advertising numerous different books. 

I'm not all worked up or mad over this, it's just kind of annoying. I get enough junk mail w/o getting stuff included with my PBS books.

Thanks everyone!

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Last Edited on: 1/14/14 6:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/17/2008 1:22 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 1,728
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i always stick a business card in things that i mail. its a habit and i do it without thinking. i guess ill have to stop doing that. it has nothing to do with books though

Date Posted: 2/17/2008 5:12 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2007
Posts: 127
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Bren-----So am I reading the reg correctly, that a promotional bookmark is OK?

Date Posted: 2/17/2008 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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Extra items must be directly related to the item being sent. The problem with sending anything promotional is that even if it seems like it should go OK, any USPS employee along the way can open the book and say- nope thats advertising-and the book gets bumped and arrives postage due. Some USPS employees even say the PBS instruction slip does not qualify. It is just safest (and most polite IMHO)  to the other member to keep the stuff out of books.