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Topic: writing the address by hand: why do they ask us about that?

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Subject: writing the address by hand: why do they ask us about that?
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 2:31 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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I do collage/papercraft/decoration on all my outgoing book mailers. After several months of using the labels with the pre-printed postage, I'm ready to switch to a more aesthetically pleasing practise--writing the address by hand with an italic pen or socalled "calligraphy markers. 

So here's my question: Why, when you fill out the info for a book received, do they ask you whether the book was hand-addressed? What's the meaning of that information?

Has an FAQ ever been suggested? Just curious... I was expecting this question to have been asked before, so I did a search for it. I tried a bunch of different words and combos of words: No luck.

Fiona

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 3:24 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I believe the reason is because PBS compiles statistics on how long books take to be delivered from one zipcode to another.  There are places on the site where you can view this info, I just can't remember where at the moment.

With PBS' printed labels there is a bar code added under the address that makes it easier for the postal sorting machines to direct the piece to the proper place.  Even without that bar code the machine printed characters are machine readable, which still aids in sorting and processing.

With a hand addressed label, even with excellent penmanship the sorting machines may not be able to read the address and zipcode, meaning the piece then has to be diverted for manual sorting.  Since that takes longer it can delay processing and affect the averages that PBS is compiling.