Slim-Jims Smarts

Many Recent Reports Foretell the Demise of the letter-size booklet, or “slim-jim” catalog. These articles have heaped unfair criticism on the U.S. Postal Service and industry experts who have been working hard to resolve the challenges and keep slim-jim mail volume in the automation letter stream. Here are a few things you should know about slim-jims.

  • The size of the tabs used with letter-size booklets, the materials from which they are made, and the locations where you affix them on the book are important factors in slim-jim automation.

  • Lightweight cover stocks can work. USPS testing has shown mail made from 50-lb. #5 paper stock could be processed on delivery point barcode sorters without incurring major damage for at least six automation processings. The test piece was a 2.5-oz. slim-jim with about 56 pages; results were similar using a 60-lb. cover and up to 96 digest-size pages.

  • If you use lighter weight cover stocks, put the right-size tab in the right locations on the mail piece. Perforated tabs perform miserably.

  • Three tabs work best. Use two tabs of 1.5″ diameter on the lead edge of the piece, as it will be fed into the machine, with the bottom tab starting 0.5″ from the spine and the top tab starting 1″ from the top edge going down. The trailing tab (left side) can be 1.25″ starting within 1″ of the top edge.

There is considerable work underway to solve the problems with mailing slim-jims. Working closely with the USPS will keep mailings efficient and cost-effective.


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