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Darby Pops Off: Jeff Kline on Comics and Media Mail

Written by Kristine Chester | 6 Comments | Published on July 10, 2015
The content that follows was originally published on the Darby Pop Publishing website at http://www.darbypop.com/darby-pops-offs/darby-pops-off-3/

Media mail is a beautiful thing. For a fraction of the price educational materials including books, DVDs, CDs, scripts, music, and more can be shipped across the nation. So why are comics signaled out as not being media mail material? In this week’s Darby Pops Off: Darby founder and INDESTRUCTIBLE creator Jeff Kline gives us his take on the issue.

If you have a thought on the topic of the week, please join in the discussion on social media at Facebook (facebook.com/DarbyPopPublishing), Twitter (@DarbyPopComics), or in the comments below.

Until Next Time,

-Renae


 

Hey All –

Are you aware that comic books do NOT qualify as “educational materials,” can’t be (legally) shipped Media Mail via the USPS, and thus do not qualify for the (often) lower postal rates?

Don’t believe me? Go here: https://about.usps.com/notices/not121/not121_tech.htm

Taken directly from the USPS website: “Media Mail packages may not contain advertising. Comic books do not meet this standard.”

I’m guessing this POV is a leftover from the days when comics were chock full of (fantastic) ads for x-ray specs, toy armies, and Hostess cupcakes. But, even then, I would argue that floppies absolutely should have qualified as “educational materials” as they were often – and continue to be – a gateway to reading for many.

There are hundreds of postings that more eloquently make that very point; here’s just one: http://www.ourkids.net/blog/ten-reasons-children-should-read-comic-books-28236

Regardless, even if we accept the government’s opinion that comic books aren’t educational (which, again, Darby Pop most certainly does NOT), most floppies today – and nearly all TPs – contain absolutely no advertising other than of the “in-house” variety. Which means, they are no different from the publications and recordings that the USPS will gladly handle as Media Mail.

Again, taken from their website: “Books may contain incidental announcements of other books and sound recordings may contain incidental announcements of other sound recordings.”

So… what gives?

And just in case you’re wondering, the USPS does have the right/ability to open your package, determine that the contents do not qualify as Media Mail, and return same to you with First Class postage due.

I know you can’t fight City Hall, but what about the USPS?

Has anyone tried?

Curious to hear your thoughts.

Thanks in advance…

Jeff Kline
Founder – Darby Pop Publishing

Categories: Darby Pops Off

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6 Comments

Bram says:

Not a judgment on the “value” of the content — way the USPS explained it to me is that floppies (traditionally, technically) are periodicals, and they have their own postage rate. If printed material’s got an ISBN, it’s Media.

That being said, have had experiences where floppies ship fine, and other times they don’t.

Troubling about it being discontinued, if true; I share comics with a friend across the country all the time using Media.

Dustin Koetsch says:

Its funny too considering they allow books, and one of the two words in the name is Comic BOOK, and somehow its not allowed because of ads? What kind of bogus rule is that?

Gianluca Glazer says:

I was told last week when I went to the Post Office. I live in LA.

Darby Pop Publishing says:

Wow, Omar. Maybe it’s just us. Has anyone else had luck shipping comics through media mail?

We hadn’t heard that, Gianluca. Thank you for pointing it out. Could you post a link to the news post announcing its end? So far Google has not been helpful in tracking it down.

Gianluca Glazer says:

Media Mail is ending in September.

Omar Morales says:

I ship comics as media mail all the time. When the post office asks me what’s inside the envelope, I always say “Comic books, and/or graphic novels.” I’ve never had a single problem.

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