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If you mail books or other materials using the Bound Printed Matter (BPM) subclassification of the USPS Package Services postage rates, you are in an excellent position to save money on postage.

Many classes of mail offer discounts for "drop shipping". This is a process whereby you prepare your mailing, then use Priority Mail, UPS, LTL truck, or other shipping methods to move the mail closer to its destination. The USPS gives you "destination entry" discounts for most classes. Since BPM is "zoned", you can save even more.

Zoning means that you pay different amounts of postage based on the distance USPS must carry the package. For example, if you're in Tennessee, and you're shipping to California, this is zone 8. A 1.5 pound package will cost $2.45. If you have enough mail delivering in that area, you could enter it in Los Angeles instead, and pay zone 2 postage, for a charge of $1.30. There are also additional discounts for drop shipments into certain areas, and for placing a Package Services bar code on the piece.

If you have enough volume, you can drop ship yourself. If not, there are several consolidation services that can help you. By combining your mail with other shipments, they can build pallets that meet the 250 pound minimum weight per drop.

If you have a regular volume consisting of a number of small mailings, you might want to consider mail manifesting. By placing a unique identifier on each piece and tracking the pallets, you can combine the mailings, and obtain bulk postage rates and drop shipping discounts on even your smallest shipments. This can also be combined with the use of a consolidation service.

Most mail houses that understand how to process Bound Printed Matter fall into two categories. They are either publishers that do their own shipping, or printing and distribution plants. Since we are not affiliated with any particular publisher, printer, or distributor, we can offer this service in a vendor-neutral environment.

If you're a publisher, we can help you learn to do this yourself or teach a shipper to properly handle the procedures. You can expect to receive the same level of maximized postage savings wherever you ship. If you're a printer or distribution center, together we can develop a valuable new resource for your customers, and a potential new revenue stream for you.

Here are some examples of how this process has worked at other locations.

A mailing list is sent in (or purchased). All the necessary presort processing is performed, and a sorted list is returned, along with all the relevant postal paperwork. This list is used for printing the addresses (by inkjet, etc) at the shipper's location.

A list or orders is sent in. After the presort processing, labels or invoices are printed. These are returned to the shipper, who applies them to the books.

All printing and shipping operations are performed by the shipper on site (usually with remote setup and support). A data file is transmitted providing the information needed for manifesting. This data is used to create the manifest documents, data files and paperwork used by the USPS to verify the mail.

There are a number of combinations of these basic patterns in production. As you can see, our procedures are very flexible. It's also much easier to perform the actual sorting of the books than you might think. With the materials we provide, any shipper or mailer can learn to process Bound Printed Matter in the most efficient way possible.