The best news I received the other day came to me in an e-mail, when I was cc’ed on a note from our magazine printer to Michael Peel, our Production Manager. Here is the complete e-mail:

“Michael,

“We have confirmed with the US Post Office that you are hereby officially considered a “droop free publication”. Congratulations!

“Thanks,

“Chad”

Those words, from our great printer Prismagraphic in Phoenix, meant a lot to us at Arizona Attorney Magazine. And to understand why they meant a lot, you have to understand what the Post Office thinks of magazines.

In two words, the answer is “Not much.”

We’ve all heard how the Postal Service is bleeding cash, and they are bound and determined to make it up however they can. Early on, postal bosses knew that raising the price of a first-class stamp a penny or so every year would only take them so far. The real cash cow, ready to be milked dry, was the collection of biggest domestic mailers—publications.

Our periodicals rate has risen faster than your stamp-rate has, but recently the Postal Service has found even more ways to locate magazine dollars. And that leads them to the “droop test.” Any piece that fails the test will be charged non-automated postage rates. And that is a really big deal.

Because the Postal Service is a quasi-governmental agency, their instructions for the droop test are complex and cover about four pages of single-spaced text. But the test boils down to this: We lay our magazine on a flat surface and let 5” hang over the edge. If it droops more than 3”, it fails the test.

Easy squeezy, right? It should be, but you really want confirmation from the Post Office. After all, one man’s 2.75” droop may be another’s 3.25”. (And we all know painful that can be.)

Well, we passed, and so we can relax—until the next round of regulation changes and enforcement.

Here is a video to see how you pass the dreaded droop test.

And here is a story about it.

Have a great weekend.

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