Maximize postage savings & improve delivery for community newspapers

By Max Heath

Postal Tips

Community newspapers have options to save money and improve delivery times under price and rule changes during the past decade, notably in 2007 with the last postal reform bill. From time to time, I like to review these for newcomers to the business or others who may have missed them. Updates to DMM citations and changes are made as well as percentage changes.



1. In-county eligibility … DMM Periodicals circulating under 10,000 total paid copies, or with more than 50 percent of total paid circulation within the county of original entry, can mail at lower in-county prices. There are no advertising pound prices paid on in-county mail, just a DDU discount and non-DDU pound price, based on no postal transportation costs for DDU (lines A1/A2, 3541 Postage Statement).

2. Requester Periodicals that meet the same qualifications above can mail at in-county rates under a provision of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), effective Aug. 30, 2007. Current price savings run from 30 percent to 52 percent, depending on weight, to move from Periodicals Saturation Regular Price to in-county, and 64 percent if a Standard Mail publication can qualify for in-county Saturation (25 percent non-advertising in 75 percent of issues and 24-page minimum, 50 percent +1 requesters). The lower the weight, the higher the percentage. DDU is assumed in all scenarios. In-county rates are only granted to the copies for which valid requesters exist, plus 10 percent non-subscriber copies.

NOTE: CSR PS-054 revised in April 2011 to allow faxed and e-mail requests with signature, address. 

3. In-county definition expanded … DMM Another provision of PAEA, effective Aug. 30, 2007, expanded in-county price eligibility to copies originating inside the county but delivered outside the county of original entry. These so-called “wandering-out route” pieces were excluded under the old statute definition.

4. Wandering-in pieces count too … DMM 207.l1.3.2(b) Another provision, widely overlooked, allows in-county price eligibility for any carrier-route copies delivered to an address inside the county when entered at a delivery office in an adjoining county and wandering back in-county. (BME interpretation that this only applies to mail entered at the outside-county DDU.)

5. Walk-sequence carrier-route sorted mail. (DMM 207.13.3b) Per-iodicals qualify for High-Density prices (line A14) at 125 pieces per route, saving 1.7 cents per copy (26 percent) in-county and 3.4 cents per copy (17 percent) outside-county (line C32. In-county mail gets a bonus under a rule that allows High-Density price for 25 percent of Active Possible Deliveries per route … DMM When routes, such as rural routes covering wide areas with low housing density, fall below 500 active deliveries, the 25 percent threshold pays off for carrier-route mailers. Walk-sequence can be obtained via Delivery Sequence File processing from software vendors, or Computerized Delivery Sequencing qualification that is updated monthly, or even weekly (DMM Requester publications saturating In-County routes (line A15) can save 5.7 cents off Basic carrier-route price, or 28 percent, on the part that pays outside-county prices (line C33). CDS is essential in this situation.

6. Limited Circulation Preferred Price Discount (5 percent) on the middle of Page 1 of PS Form 3541 applies to a Periodical with at least one in-county copy and under 5,000 outside-county copies. Effective May 2008, and defined in DMM Software should add line B19 and parts C, D, E totals times .05 and deduct automatically. This discount applies to the entire issue and not just a version by weight that includes in-county copies.

The National Newspaper Association had a hand in all these changes for its members, saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in postage.



1. DDU entry: Local/regional publications can maximize savings and get faster delivery by entering mail at delivery post offices (Delivery Units). See DMM 207.29.6. There are three ways to earn DU prices: Additional Entry, authorized simply by notification of your original-entry office, and no fee, requires postage payment at that office, See DMM 207.30. (Plant-Verified Drop Shipment Postage Payment System) requires mail acceptance at the office of original entry, at a designated office, or Detached Mail Unit within a printing plant, then delivery to other offices. Form 8125, PVDS Drop Shipment Verification and Clearance, must accompany the copies taken to DDUs. See DMM 705.17.2.9Exceptional Dispatch (see No. 5 below). This is likely the best method for local/regional publications.

2. In-county price eligible Periodicals save 4.7 cents per pound (24 percent) and 0.8 cent per piecefor DDU entry (lines A1/A17). The DDU discounts apply only to carrier-route sorted copies in Line-Of-Travel or Walk-Sequence order.

3. Outside-County price Periodicals save 8.8 cents per non-adv. pound (44 percent) and 9.2 cents per adv. pound (43 percent) for DDU versus non-DDU entry (zones 1 & 2 price), with no piece discount. This is a very helpful discount for nearby offices outside your county (lines B1 and B14).

4. DDU-entered carrier-route copies, whether in-county or outside-county, will not be upcharged to 5-digit prices if failing the “flimsy flats” deflection test, as of Oct. 3, 2010, thanks to NNA. See DMM 201.4.6 & Exhibit 201.4.6a. Carrier-route copies going through postal processing can be upcharged.

5. Exceptional Dispatch (DMM 207.28.3) allows local/regional Periodicals mailers to claim DDU prices with request letter to origin-entry postmaster. A 2001 rule change also expanded DU-entry to drops within zones 1-2, including the SCF zone. Neither Additional Entry nor Plant-Verified Drop Shipment Form 8125 is required. Eligibility is for Periodicals, which mail 25,000-under copies. USPS said, “waivers would be considered on a case-by-case basis.” SCF entry can be done under Exceptional Dispatch to improve service so long as only mail for that SCF is dropped at the SCF.(DMM 707.28.3.4) Mail dropped at an SCF for “the world” would require Additional Entry and postage payment at the SCF.


MAX HEATH, NNA postal chair, is a postal consultant for AMG | Parade, publisher of Parade, American Profile, Relish and Spry newspaper supplements, and also for Landmark Community Newspapers LLC. E-mail