Digest>Archives> December 2007

Tower Talk

Postal Service Destroying Small Magazines

By Timothy Harrison


After January the United States Postal Service can’t raise postage rate higher than the rate of inflation, or around 3%, which is much less than the 10 to 15 percent or higher jump seen by many mailers in the last year.

However the Postal Service is attempting to squeeze in another postal hike by December 20th before the new law kicks in, and probably

will by the time you read this and if enacted, could be devastating to small niche market magazines like Lighthouse Digest.

The new proposed rate increase also comes with other new regulations that will also affect small magazines like Lighthouse Digest. One of these new regulations will require dramatic changes to

the cover of a magazine requiring the label to be at the top left of

the cover where the masthead is now located. The big publishers

will simply then print one version of the cover for mailing and

another version for newsstands, something that we simply can’t afford to do.

Most of these rate hikes and regulations will not visibly affect the big mailers, since by sheer volume they can bypass some of the rate hikes and the regulations, which will barely cause them to blink.

But it will affect, every small magazine in America, simply because of their smaller volumes of mail, will suffer the most.

We’ll know more in the weeks ahead about how these dramatic changes will affect us and whether or not the United States Postal Service will virtually cause the demise of small run magazines all across the nation, and possibly Lighthouse Digest.

Does the United States Postal Service care about lighthouse preservation or other small magazines devoted to various causes?

I can only assume that the answer is “NO.” While some small magazines dedicated to some particular cause can be saved through tax-deductible donations from the nonprofits that run them, Lighthouse Digest cannot.

The newly proposed rate increases and the newly proposed regulations by the Postal Service coupled with higher paper prices and printing cost could be a fatal blow to most of America’s smaller magazines including Lighthouse Digest.

With the demise of many small magazines, part of the Constitution’s “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of the Press” will have been chipped away. After all, neither of those statements will mean much if you can’t distribute the magazine and obviously Internet only publishing cannot sustain a small magazine that needs to make a profit to survive.

I wonder what Benjamin Franklin would have to say about this if he were alive today?

This story appeared in the December 2007 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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