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Topic: SEMI-URGENT: Q re. pre-paid label + handwritten address

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Subject: SEMI-URGENT: Q re. pre-paid label + handwritten address
Date Posted: 7/12/2009 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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Sorry about the "semi-urgent"--it's 6:15 PM ET (Sunday PM) and I need to get some books in a PO Box tonight (like before Monday AM).

This is how I'm making a couple of book mailers:

    (1) pre-paid label with address area cut out, affixed to the left & upward from the center of the mailer

    (2) handwritten "from:" & "to:" addresses, in rectangle about as large as the whole original label (letters will be larger because
          they'll be calligraphy); the upper left corner of this rectangle will occupy the notch created when address area was cut out
                                        _______________________________________________

My Semi-Urgent (multi-part) Question:

---Further mods to mailing label: what if I were to discard the black box, then cut out, as separate pieces, these outlined areas: (1) rectangle containing the bar code; (2) rectangle containing the $ amount of postage & other info, plus endicia box; (3) large all-caps phrase "USPS MEDIA MAIL"...

---and then change their orientation & location with respect to each other--such as stacking them, from top to bottom, items (as numbered above) (2), (3), (1) (bar code oriented horizontally)? or would a different order stack be preferable?

---I assume that in automatic mail sorting & reading, a scanner gives its data to software: does that software need for the bar code, endicia box, etc., to be in a specific orientation and position with respect to each other? thus making my stack idea unworkable?

---If so, what are the rules for that? Does it have to be *exactly* like the PBS label? If there's room to move, please give me a link at the USPS site (or wherever) with the details.

---Can the scanner/software package in USPS sorters read addresses (via OCR)?  If so, I assume it can't read a calligraphy font (neat, but not a usual font). In which case, if the mailer has to be hand-sorted and hand-scanned anyway, will the position and orientation of the bar code and endicia box be relevant anymore? This would allow me to do a stack after all, right?
                                        _______________________________________________

Thanks for listening! If you, or more than one of you, provide an answer to my question, or help me find an answer elsewhere--you have my immediate and long-lasting gratitude. If anyone from this forum ever orders a book from my bookshelf   I'll write your address in calligraphy on the mailer. Just tell me you saw me on this forum. =smile= (Unless, of course, you don't want the calligraphy.)

I'll check back a few hours...

Fiona



Last Edited on: 7/12/09 6:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/12/2009 6:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Can I ask why you are doing all this to a label?  That seems like an awful lot of unneeded work.  Are you trying to make the package look prettier?  I know I for one don't pay any attention to that kind of thing. I jsut want the book. 

I think that black box has stuff encoded in it that's needed.  Also the DC # is attatched the address is was printed for so I dont' think it can be used with a different address. The zip code is embedded into the DC and the bar code.

Date Posted: 7/12/2009 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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Thanks, Mary, for replying so quickly.

Can I ask why you are doing all this to a label?  That seems like an awful lot of unneeded work.  Are you trying to make the package look prettier? 

Making the package look prettier is one way of describing what I'm up to. The time I've been swapping books happens to correspond with the time I've been working to learn papercraft--skills that underlie collage, box making, book making, mail art, etc. The chance to try out things on swap mailers has been a real boon to my self-education: in the six months & 8 days I've been in the Swap, I've sent out 196 decorated mailers and boxes. Sure it takes time, a lot of time, but it's been (& continues to be) an invaluable learning experience. And I love the transience of it all, the letting go! I don't photograph my creations, nor do I scan them. I just put them in the mail and never see them again. =grin=

I think that black box has stuff encoded in it that's needed. 

I don't know for sure, but I doubt the black box serves any purpose other than being a placeholder. The box is not always black, for one thing: for those books that are light enough in weight that sending them first-class mail is no more expensive than media mail, the box is white with "FCM" in black. And if you hold some of the black boxes up to the light, you'll see they're identical from one label to the next;  and they have nothing in them except black ink, and parallel lines, running horizontally, around 3/8" -1/4" apart.

But maybe someone more knowledgable has the scoop about the black box.

Also the DC # is attatched the address is was printed for so I dont' think it can be used with a different address. The zip code is embedded into the DC and the bar code.

I guess didn't make it clear that the mailer's going to the same person, at the same address, as the one on the label. My purpose in cutting the address area out of the label, is to handwrite the "from:" & "to:" addresses, not to send it someone else.   =smile=

Fiona

Tom (tombr) -
Date Posted: 7/13/2009 3:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2007
Posts: 4,305
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Last Edited on: 8/14/10 2:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 7/13/2009 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,132
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I know it's Monday morning and you needed answers on Sunday; but Tom is right, you can't alter a pre-printed mailing label.

Before an online company can get permission to offer pre-printed postage, they have to give the USPS a whole batch of sample labels which USPS tests and approves to make sure everything is machine readable. The font sizes and the positions of every element of the label are tightly controlled and if you have one thing wrong, you don't pass the tests and have to resubmit.

The black box is called a service icon that means this is a parcel class of mail. There are other icons for Express, Priority and First Class.

Date Posted: 7/13/2009 10:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2006
Posts: 24
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If you're using some sort of large box you can always put the printed label off to the side and still create your own fancy custom "label" in the middle. Or put your fancy custom label on the back leaving the regular pritned label alone on the front. That should satisfy the USPS while still allowing you creative freedom.

Date Posted: 7/14/2009 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Your creativity is admirable, but this one could be trixy.  It's my understanding, that for PBS to qualify for the cheaper DC rates, there are some requirements of standardization....such as the placement and size of label elements.  Notice e-bay and other electronic postage is identical or very similar.  Calligraphy over the addresses might be an option (don't cover any of the barcodes), but you may wish to check with PBS admin first, or your post office first.  If the label becomes ineligible for postage discounts, it could incure 'postage due' for the requestor.