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Topic: religious enclosure with book

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Subject: religious enclosure with book
Date Posted: 7/25/2015 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 57
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If a book was received with a religious enlosure, should it be reported to the PBS team or just the sender is sufficient?

Date Posted: 7/25/2015 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2014
Posts: 860
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Last Edited on: 7/16/17 12:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/25/2015 5:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,960
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Yes, it's against PBS rules for senders to enclose additional materials in books. It's also against Post Office rules to enclose anything that is not media as they define it, in the package, particularly  advertising of any kind.

I would send the sender a message about it, and if they seem like they didn't know and won't do it again, I wouldn't report it any farther.  If they seem like they know and are doing it anyway,  then yes I would report it to PBS at that time. 

Subject: religious enclosure
Date Posted: 7/25/2015 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 57
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I know it's against PBS rules and I did notify the sender.  Thanks.

Date Posted: 7/26/2015 12:01 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,431
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Use your own judgment on this -- however, if they don't continue the practice, your report won't hurt them.   If they have a number of reports from other members then PBS may contact them and take appropriate action.

Date Posted: 7/27/2015 1:49 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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What Sara said (I say that alot lol)  A violation of terms of use.  If inspected, the book could have arrived postage due (sometimes quite a lot due).

Not Kosher, to report or not is your option.

Date Posted: 7/27/2015 9:23 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 4,980
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May I include anything with my book?

Generally: No.

Media mail regulations are very strict: only media (books, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes) and an invoice (page 2 of the PBS wrapper qualifies as an invoice) are allowed to be sent using Media Mail rate. No advertising, commercial solicitation, political materials, religious tracts, non-Media items, letters, cards are allowed.

  • Media Mail is subject to postal inspection
  • If your package is found to be in violation of Media Mail regulations:
    • Your package may be returned to you
    • Your package may be delivered to the requestor postage-due
    • Your package may be destroyed.

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 (we have edited these for relevance; the full regulations are at http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/173.htm#wp1060522)
    • 4.0 Attachments and Enclosures

      4.2 Enclosures in Books (bound into the books)

    • a. Either one envelope or one addressed postcard may be bound into the pages of a book. If also serving as an order form, the envelope or card may be in addition to the order form permitted by 4.2b..

      b. One order form may be bound into the pages of a book. If also serving as an envelope or postcard, the order form may be in addition to the envelope or card permitted by 4.2a..

      c. Announcements of books may appear as book pages. These announcements must be incidental and exclusively devoted to books, without extraneous advertising of book-related or other materials or services. Announcements may fully describe the conditions and methods of ordering books and may contain ordering instructions for use with a separate order form. Up to three of these announcements may contain as part of their format a single order form, which may also serve as a postcard. The order forms permitted with these announcements are in addition to, and not in place of, order forms that may be enclosed under 4.2a. or 4.2b..

      4.3 Written Enclosures

    • 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. (page 2 of the PBS Wrapper qualifies here)

      b. Marks, numbers, names, or letters describing the contents. (page 2 of the PBS Wrapper qualifies here)

      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. (page 2 of the PBS Wrapper qualifies here)

      4.4 Invoice (page 2 of the PBS Wrapper qualifies here)

      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.

Last Edited on: 7/27/15 9:23 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/27/2015 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Hilariously, the only time I received a religious tract, the book was horrifically damaged, and the person was incredibly nasty about the RWAP. I've had almost no problems with people making a fuss about RWAPs, but this was one of the few.

Date Posted: 7/27/2015 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
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Many mass market paperbacks traded on PBS are light enough to be mailed first class where the media mail rules concerning enclosures don't apply but the PBS rules still apply.

Last Edited on: 7/27/15 1:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/9/2015 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2005
Posts: 3,012
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I recently received a religious tract.  Had the post office opened and examined the package, I'd have been charged the first class difference.  I told the person not to do it and why, but I doubt they listened. If I receive another one, I will report to PBS.

Date Posted: 8/10/2015 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 9,946
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Does this go for bookmarks too? I recently had someone put 2 in the book she sent me and I thought it was a lovely gesture. Is that not right for media mail? Also, I have sent a note on n/b paper inside the book. She didn't mind either, it was a list of books by an author she wanted..would that have been an issue with the post office?
zeke68 -
Date Posted: 8/10/2015 11:01 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,810
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From what I've been told, and it's not easy to verify on the USPS website, bookmarks are technically not allowed, but are usually overlooked. A personal note is OK.

Date Posted: 8/10/2015 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,476
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The USPS guidelines state an invoice is okay. A note, such as on the packing list page, is fine. A letter is not. The PBS packing list was designed to fit this guideline.

I try to limit it to book related material, such as what a bookstore would include. Suggested or related books would fit into that idea. A bookmark also squeaks into that limit. But just barely. The guidelines used to specifically state that bookmarks were okay. The most recent edit removed that language.