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Topic: Using Paperbackswap.com "information to receiver" note disqualifies for m

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Subject: Using Paperbackswap.com "information to receiver" note disqualifies for m
Date Posted: 1/16/2008 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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I  find this odd. I just received a book in the mail today from a paperbackswap.com  member wrapped up in the printed paperbackswap.com label. There was a note inside from USPS saying it does not quailfy for Media Mail.

I received the book with a stamp from the Postal Service on it that it was"opened for inspection by USPS".

It was also stamped on the outside postage due 87 cents.


Inside is a note from USPS with a note stating "Contents did not qualify as Media Mail. Written by hand it says "informational letter enclosed".  The informational letter is just the information for the receiver from paperbackswap .com     That seems just crazy to me because if I receive a book in the mail I may not remember off hand if I purchased it off of another site or if I ordered it from paperbackswap.com without the enclosed informational letter or getting onto paperbackswap.com and checking.

It says "Media Mail may not contain advertising except books may contain incidental announcements of other books,and sound recordings may contain incidental announcements of other sound recordings and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such recordings. "

This Postal Worker that marked this must be a little goofy. I just can't believe you can't give enough informtion to let the receiver know where the book came from.


Has this happened to you ?



Date Posted: 1/16/2008 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2005
Posts: 1,159
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Sherry, you might want to put this question on the discussion boards to receive more answers.

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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It's my understanding that the Media Mail postal regs are strict about additional material. So, say you include a bookmark with Borders or some other bookstore advertising. Such would disqualify the book for MM delivery.

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I think you should bring this to the attention of the owners of the site. My guess is that some postal worker was seriously overzealous, but if this is going to be an issue, they may need to reword how the inside wrapper is phrased.

Subject: My experience
Date Posted: 1/16/2008 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2007
Posts: 126
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 I was told by the post master here in Ringgold, GA that Media Mail could contain an invoice just no personal correspondence.  He told me personally that the print out your referring to was considered an invoice. He also told me it was perfectly fine for me to enclose a few bookmooch business cards. I usually put a few Bookmooch cards in my books before packaging.  Once I forgot to put the cards inside the book and didn't realize it until I had it packaged and ready to address. I put the cards in an envelope and taped them to the outside and wrote the address on the envelope. I didn't want the cards thrown away by accident so I wrote "bookmooch cards enclosed" at the bottom of the envelope in small print.  I asked the clerk at the P O counter if this was ok. She called the head honcho up and showed it to him and he said it was fine as long as there was not personal correspondence in it.

 I also asked if I could still use Media Mail rate if I enclose a "thank you note" or a deal offer on more books. I was told yes that it was fine just as long as I informed the postal clerk that it was "Media Mail" with a "First Class enclosure. The rate to send the book is the same except that you have to add the .41 cents for the first class enclosure. I have done this several times.

 Sometimes I think the Postal employees should be required to know alot more than they are. One lady at my post office lets me use the "Bound Printed Matter" rate when it is less than the "Media Mail" rate.  The next time I had a larger size package of books and asked if "Bound Printed" would be cheaper than "Media"  the clerk didn't even know there was a "Bound Printed Matter" rate. Although the post master and one other clerk always check to give me the lowest rate, the other clerks want to argue with me about it. They really need to know their jobs better. LYN

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2005
Posts: 574
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I thought that I read somewhere on this site that the Sender/Receiver info on the label that we print is considered a Packing List and as such is  ok to be sent without incurring any additional charge. 

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,389
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I agree that some clerks don't know the rules.  Despite the fact I was showing it to them in their own documentation, they still claim I can't send small rigid items First Class Non-Machinable. 

Most of them are great, or at least willing to read, but a few...grrrrrr.

But anyone doing inspection should REALLY know the rules for whatever they are inspecting!

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 12:13 AM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
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I beleive the label from paperbackswap.com is considered an invoice, not an advertisement, and is allowable. This was just an over zealous postal worker needing a conk on the head with a rubber mallet. I hope I get someone reasonable when I go in next. If not, I am going to the next Post Office in the neighboring town. I've gone there before when the local Postal Clerk didn't know when to use Parcel Post on light weight books and I had a stack of 12 books.

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 12:27 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,896
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The USPS is actively regretting the Media Mail rate, and encouraging workers to be suspicious. First time I ever used it the clerk almost refused to accept my package because it was sealed, claiming I was supposed to allow it to be inspected to prove it qualified for the rate. I agreed to do it as long as they gave me back the wrapping and tape so I could seal it right back up again, which, as I expected, ended the matter. (I then wrote a very angry letter, complaining that I was being presumed guilty of mail fraud, to the contact link at the site -- though of course whether or not that saw the light of day, who the hell knows.) Notice, please, that you cannot select Media Mail rates from any of the automated postal kiosks. Q.E.D.
Subject: no media mail option at APC
Date Posted: 1/17/2008 12:58 AM ET
Member Since: 3/29/2007
Posts: 185
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Exactly, Greg! I have never had a PO employee go Inquisition on me about my media mail's contents, but I'm p.o.'d myself that the APC doesn't offer the option.  It must be done on purpose to force a choice between "pay first class or spend 20 minutes in line".  I'll spend the time vs the money any day--I know not to go there when I've got to be somewhere in, oh, 2 hours.

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 1:30 AM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2007
Posts: 215
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you know i took a book to the post office today in an envelope & she wasn't going to check it; and i asked her to do so; she did & said I need an extra 67 cents; i told her this has never happened before but i have an identical book at home; i will be happy to check it out. I am going to do so at a different post office because I strongly suspect the post office is pulling strange stuff. We need to follow up on this; because I am getting all my postage thru this paperback & the clerks at the post office always make a face when i bring one there;

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 3:45 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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I was always told nothing and I mean NOTHING else aside from the media piece was allowed in the packaging when going media mail. I've sent books for years (I'm 48) and it's always been the same where ever I've lived - as such, I never enclose the "informational sheet" even though I think they should be allowed.

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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"Exactly, Greg! I have never had a PO employee go Inquisition on me about my media mail's contents, but I'm p.o.'d myself that the APC doesn't offer the option.  It must be done on purpose to force a choice between "pay first class or spend 20 minutes in line".  I'll spend the time vs the money any day--I know not to go there when I've got to be somewhere in, oh, 2 hours."

You actually can use the APC to send books media mail - just buy a stamp in the correct amount and write "media mail" on the package. It was a PO employee who told me to do this and I've never had a problem. (Knock wood.) I agree, it's annoying that it's not just an option.

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I was told that a packing slip/invoice is acceptable but not like a Thank You or card for correspondence.  A clerk at the satellite PO told me audiobooks couldn't be shipped media mail.  We went back and forth for a bit and I tol her to send them MM and I'll take my chances on them coming back. They didn't.  I've been buying audiobooks on Ebay for years and getting them shipped MM. 

It's only .87 but if I had to go to the PO for anything I would take the wrapper and stuff in and see if I could get my money back. 

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2007
Posts: 131
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You can use the APC as long as you know the correct postage due - which is pretty easy, since almost everything for PBS is either $2.13 or $2.47.  Don't bother going through the APC menu, just ask it to give you a stamp for the correct amount.

And when re-reading, I finally notice that someone else already mentioned this.  Duh.

Last Edited on: 1/17/08 11:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/18/2008 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2007
Posts: 1,248
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What the heck is an APC?

Subject: APC
Date Posted: 1/18/2008 12:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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Amy C. - APC is "automated postal center".  It's like an ATM in the lobby of some post offices.  It has a scale and it's all self-serve.  I love it at Christmas time when the lines are l-o-n-g.


Date Posted: 1/18/2008 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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Look up the requirements at USPO and you will find this and more:

 The actual Media Mail regs regarding enclosures are at Link - specifically, section 4.3 says

"Markings that have the character of personal correspondence require, with certain exceptions, additional postage at the First-Class Mail rates. 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. ... d. Instructions and directions for the use of the item mailed