Comailing—in which your printer binds your catalog at the same time as that of another merchant and mails the two books together—can offer substantial savings by capturing deeper postage discounts based on your combined circulation. According to Jim Coogan, president of Sante Fe, NM-based Catalog Marketing Economics, it’s not unusual for comailing to cut your postage bill 10%-15%– and a 15% postage savings could yield a bottom line savings of 2% to 3% in net profit.
Your printer should be able to help you find a potential comailing partner. The ideal partner’s catalog must have the same trim size and similar page count and book weight as your catalog. Both catalogers need to print and bind at the same printer and have the same schedule in terms of drop dates, of course, and both mailers must have what Coogan calls “schedule integrity”: A cataloger that always misses its production deadlines isn’t a good partner. Also, the two catalog partners should have a combined press run of 400,000-500,000 copies.
Comailing is in your printer’s best interest as well, Coogan notes. It helps ease the pricing pressure on printers because the potential postage savings usually far outweighs printing manufacturing savings that can be found through competitive bidding.