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Ben Towle On Whether That Media Rate Judgment Against The Comics Charity Was New In Any Way
posted April 6, 2009

It's been a year or so since I've done much mail order comics business, but after reading through the recent Operation Comix correspondence on CR, I don't see any evidence of a "new ruling" at all, but rather, just the existing standards for media mail being enforced as written. I've had some back and forths with the post office folks when shipping comics, but the bottom line for Media Mail (which you can find spelled out pretty clearly on the USPS site) are that items with ads or that are periodicals cannot be shipped via media mail. This pretty clearly excludes most comic books from Marvel, DC, etc.

While I certainly support the Operation Comics cause, and I admire the chutzpa of anyone willing to hash this kind of stuff out with the postal service, Tom Clancy books are clearly not periodicals and the "ads" referred to are, I'm betting, simply lists of other books by the author and/or publisher, an exception noted in section 3.2a on the page cited above for "incidental announcements of books."

Interestingly, I've had some minicomics refused for Media Mail shipment because they were designed to be read "accordion-style," without a bound spine. That was just a ruling from the local Postmaster, though, and since I decided not to pursue it further, I wouldn't take it as gospel.