On Sept. 27, the U.S. Postal Service filed a request with the Postal Rate Commission (PRC) for an experimental “ride-along” classification change for periodicals. The proposal involves a two-year testing period, during which catalogs could be mailed inside polybags with magazines for a flat rate of just 10 cents more than the regular periodical-class postal rate. Previously, magazine publishers that enclosed catalogs in polybags along with their publications had to pay the full standard A mail rate for the catalogs.
Only one catalog can be enclosed per mailing, and it can weigh no more than the “host” magazine; it also can weigh no more than 3.3 oz. Both pieces must be of the same shape and dimensions.
At press time, the USPS was hoping for a quick approval from the PRC. If the experiment proves cost-efficient, the ride-along rate would become a permanent subclass of periodical-class mail. It is unknown which, if any, catalogers are planning to take part in the ride-along tests.