Contents Index



C200 Periodicals


C200 describes permissible mailpiece components (e.g., enclosures, attachments, and supplements), impermissible or prohibited components, and mailpiece construction for Periodicals.

1.0 Permissible Mailpiece Components


Pages are the printed sheets forming the publication or one of the mailpiece’s components, bearing advertising, nonadvertising, or both, including pages having textual and graphic matter (see E211), blank spaces for writing or marking, and material to be completed or used by the reader. A minor portion of the pages in a Periodicals mailpiece may have unusual characteristics, such as a different size, shape, or construction, or portions that may be wholly or partially separable, and pages prepared for folding out. No page may have dimensions (when folded, if folded) that exceed the dimensions of the publication. Pages are also subject to these standards:

a. Multilayer pages (including pages formed by sheets glued together and pages that have unusual shapes, such as cutouts, movable flaps, or “pop-ups”) may include small amounts of fastening material such as grommets, string, or rubber bands as needed to assemble the page. Multilayer pages may also be formed as pouches or pockets but may contain only permissible loose enclosures (see 1.4) or other securely affixed permissible components.

b. Multiple pages may be held together by staples or other means separate from and in addition to the regular binding of the publication.

c. Oversized pages may be used for illustrations, charts, maps, and other advertising and nonadvertising content.

1.2Parts and Sections

Parts and sections are pages (subject to 1.1) that are physically separate subdivisions of the publication, as identified by the publisher. Each part or section must show the publication title, and the number of parts or sections in the issue must be stated on the cover of the first part or section. Parts or sections produced by someone other than the publisher may not be mailed at Periodicals rates if these parts or sections are prepared by or for advertisers or if they are provided to the publisher free or at a nominal charge. On request, the publisher must submit contracts entered into with producers of parts or sections.

1.3Enclosure at First-Class Mail or Standard Mail Rate

Matter to be paid at the applicable First-Class Mail or Standard Mail rate may be enclosed in a Periodicals mailpiece subject to these conditions:

a. The total weight of all enclosed Standard Mail matter must be less than 16 ounces.

b. Postage and fee payment is subject to P070. A permit imprint that may appear on a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure must not be visible when the mailpiece is prepared for mailing except as provided under P070.

c. When enclosing nonincidental First-Class Mail or any Standard Mail, combination envelopes or containers with separate parts for the two classes of mail may be used. If both the sender’s and addressee’s names and addresses are not on both pieces, the sender’s name and address must be placed on one piece and the addressee’s name and address on the other. Combination containers with inseparable parts may bear the names and addresses on only one part.

d. The applicable “First-Class Mail Enclosed” or “Standard Mail Enclosed” marking must be placed on or in the host publication if it contains any nonincidental First-Class Mail or any Standard Mail enclosure. If placed on the outer wrapper, polybag, envelope, or cover of the host publication, the marking must be set in type no smaller than any used in the required “POSTMASTER: Send change of address...” statement. If placed in the identification statement, the marking must meet the applicable standards. The marking must not be on or in copies not accompanied by a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure unless additional information is provided under the applicable postage payment standards in P070.

1.4Loose Enclosures at Periodicals Rate

Only the following material may be included loose as an enclosure in a Periodicals mailpiece and be paid at Periodicals rates, subject to the corresponding conditions:

a. An incidental First-Class piece must be closely related but secondary to the Periodicals publication with which it is enclosed and must consist of matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class postage. Examples of an incidental First-Class enclosure are a bill for the publication, a statement of account for past publication purchases, or a personal message or greeting included with the publication.

b. A receipt, request, or order for a subscription may be printed or written; prepared as a reply mail card or envelope for any authorized Periodicals publication (or a publication pending Periodicals authorization); or inserted in an envelope within the publication. The receipt or request may be part of, or accompanied by, printed matter containing information related exclusively to a receipt or request or order for a subscription provided the printed matter does not advertise, promote, or offer for sale other products or services.

c. A card or form for the recipient’s use in providing address correction information to the publisher may be printed or written; prepared as a card or envelope, including business reply, or as a combination form for two or more Periodicals publications issued by the same publisher; inserted in an envelope that is attached to, bound in, or loose within the publication; or prepared as a detachable part of another permissible enclosure.

d. Enclosures listed in 1.4b and 1.4c are not counted when determining the percentage of advertising in the publication, but they are included in the total weight of the publication reported on the postage statement. If the publication otherwise consists entirely of nonadvertising matter, an incidental First-Class enclosure as described in 1.4a may be treated as nonadvertising matter. In all other cases, an incidental First-Class enclosure is considered part of the advertising portion of the publication.


A supplement is one or more pages (subject to 1.1) formed by one or more printed sheets that are not bound into a publication. A supplement may be devoted to a single topic and may contain material different from that in the host publication. The external dimensions of a supplement (i.e., its length and height) may not exceed those of the host publication except when the host publication and the supplement are contained in an envelope, polybag, or other complete wrapper. Supplements are also subject to these conditions as applicable:

a. A loose supplement to a bound Periodicals publication must contain at least 25% nonadvertising matter and bear the endorsement “Supplement to” followed by the title of the publication or the name of the publisher. A bound publication with one or more supplements must be enclosed in a wrapper under 3.5. If a supplement to a bound publication is formed of more than one sheet, all sheets making up the supplement must be bound together.

b. A supplement to an unbound publication must be combined with and inserted within the publication under 3.4. If the supplement is included loose outside the unbound publication, the publication and its supplement must be enclosed in a wrapper or envelope under 3.5, and the supplement must bear the endorsement “Supplement to” followed by the title of the publication or the name of the publisher.

1.6Cover and
Protective Cover

A cover may be placed on the outside of a Periodicals publication. A protective cover is an additional cover placed around the outside of a publication; preparation is subject to 3.6. Advertising, nonadvertising, or both may be printed on the cover or protective cover. The cover and protective cover on a publication are included when measuring advertising percentage. Nothing may be attached to the cover or protective cover except as permitted under 1.8.

1.7Mailing Wrapper

A mailing wrapper is an envelope, sleeve, partial wrapper, or polywrap used to enclose the mailpiece. Advertising may be printed on the mailing wrapper and is included when measuring advertising percentage. Nothing may be attached to the mailing wrapper except as permitted under 1.8.


The following may be attached to a cover, protective cover, or mailing wrapper of a publication:

a. Stickers of any size and shape. If stickers are attached to the cover, protective cover, or mailing wrapper, no portion of the publication title may be obscured.

b. Material allowed as a loose enclosure described in 1.3 or 1.4. When nonincidental First-Class Mail and/or Standard Mail enclosures (see 1.3) are attached, the marking “First-Class” or “Letter Enclosed” must be on a First-Class Mail attachment; “Standard” or “STD,” on a Standard Mail attachment.

c. Material normally allowed within the contents of the publication composed of advertising, nonadvertising, or a combination of both may be attached to the cover or protective cover only when the publication and attached material are enclosed in a wrapper. No portion of the publication title may be obscured.

1.9Printed Addition

Only the following may be printed on a copy of a Periodicals publication after it is printed or placed on its cover, protective cover, or mailing wrapper:

a. The name and address of the intended recipient or of the publisher or sender.

b. The printed title of the publication and its place of publication.

c. The expiration date of the subscription.

d. The request for address correction information from the addressee.

e. The words “Sample Copy” (if the copy is a sample), “Marked Copy” (if the copy contains a marked item or article), or “Address Service Requested” (if the copy is to be returned to the sender if undeliverable as addressed).

f. The number of copies enclosed in a package (on the outside of the package) or a package count such as “2 of 4” (on the package wrapper).

g. Corrections of typographical errors or a mark, except by written or printed words, to call attention to a word or passage.

h. Printed messages not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Express Mail.

1.10Label Carrier

A label carrier may be used to carry the delivery address for the mailpiece and must consist of a single unfolded, uncreased sheet of card or paper stock, securely affixed to the cover of the publication or large enough so that it does not rotate inside the wrapper (as defined in 1.7), subject to these conditions:

a. The label carrier must bear the title of the Periodicals publication or the name and address of the publisher; the Periodicals imprint “Periodicals Postage Paid at...” or the word “Periodicals” in the upper right corner of the address side (unless “Periodicals” is printed on the address side of the polybag); and the address to which the mailpiece can be returned if undeliverable (if endorsed “Address Service Requested”).

b. The label carrier may bear a request for address correction from the addressee. It also may bear information about requesting or subscribing to any Periodicals publication (or a publication pending Periodicals authorization), including a request or subscription form.

c. As applicable, the label carrier may show the endorsement “First-Class Mail Enclosed” or “Standard Mail Enclosed” or the permit imprint used to pay postage for the First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure if that permit imprint is below the Periodicals imprint or the word “Periodicals.”

d. Other printed information, whether advertising or nonadvertising, is permitted only on the back of the label carrier and is subject to measurement and postage payment accordingly. A single line of text calling attention to information on the reverse may be placed on the front of the label carrier. If any information on the reverse of the label carrier is advertising, the line of text on the front is also treated as advertising.

2.0 Impermissible Mailpiece Components

2.1General Standard

Regardless of preparation or characteristics, or whether otherwise meeting the standards in 1.0, the materials described in 2.2 through 2.5 are not eligible for Periodicals rates.

2.2Prohibited Matter

Material that contains any one of the following printed items or that is referred to in a component of the Periodicals mailpiece (by the use of one of these items) is ineligible to be mailed at Periodicals rates:

a. A separate price or subscription instructions different from those of the host publication.

b. The word “catalog.”

c. A First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, or Package Services permit imprint.

d. An ISBN (International Standard Book Number).

e. An ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) or USPS number different from that of the host publication.


Products may not be mailed at Periodicals rates. Examples include stationery (such as pads of paper or blank printed forms); cassettes; floppy disks; merchandise; envelopes containing enclosures, other than receipts, orders for subscriptions, and incidental First-Class matter; and wall, desk, and blank calendars. Printed pages, including oversized pages and calendars, are not considered products if they are not offered for sale.

2.4Package Services

Package Services may not be combined with a Periodicals publication.

2.5Nonprinted Sheets

Any matter not formed of printed sheets (except as permitted under 1.1a) is not eligible for Periodicals rates.

3.0 Mailpiece Construction


Publications may be prepared in either a bound or unbound form, with or without wrappers unless required by 3.7. A bound publication is a publication in which pages are securely held together by two or more staples, spiral binding, glue, stitching, or other permanent fastening. All other publications are unbound, including folded multisheet and single-sheet publications and those in which pages are loose and collated (“nested”) or in which pages are held together by a single staple.

3.2Physical Size

Standards for size or weight may apply to publications claimed at certain rates. Requester publications must contain at least 24 pages per issue.


[11-14-02] Automation-compatible pieces must remain uniformly thick. Cover attachments, tabbed or glued half covers, flat-surfaced ride-along enclosures, loose subscription materials, and flat-surfaced enclosures of other classes may be included as long as the overall uniform thickness of the flat is maintained.

3.4Without Mailing Wrapper

When the mailpiece does not have a mailing wrapper, all the components of an unbound publication must be combined with and inserted inside the publication. Only enclosures mailable at Periodicals rates under 1.4 may be included loose inside a bound unwrapped publication. An enclosure under 1.3 or 1.4 may be securely attached on the outside of an unwrapped publication along the bound edge if it does not exceed any dimension of the cover of the publication and comes within 3/4 inch of the edge opposite the fold or binding.

3.5With Mailing Wrapper

Except as provided in 1.5, when the mailpiece is completely enclosed in a mailing wrapper, the components may be placed anywhere within that wrapper. When a sleeve or other partial wrapper is used, the components must be secured so that they do not fall out during handling. Bound publications carrying loose supplements or prepared in physically separate parts or sections must be either completely enclosed in an envelope, plastic wrapper (polybag), or paper wrapper or inserted within a sleeve so that the component parts do not become separated while in the mail.

3.6Cover Page and Protective Cover

If the piece is not completely enclosed in a mailing wrapper, then any protective cover or cover page must cover both the front and back of the host publication and extend to within at least 3/4 inch of the edge opposite the fold or binding. Exception: Flat-size pieces may have short covers as provided in C820.6.2. If the host publication is bound, the protective cover must be permanently attached to the publication.

3.7APO/FPO Copy

Any single copy of an unbound publication that includes any enclosure, supplement, or more than one part or section and that is mailed to an APO/FPO address must be completely enclosed in a mailing wrapper.


Periodicals mail must be prepared so that it can be easily examined. The mailing of publications at Periodicals postage rates represents consent by the sender to USPS inspection of the contents whether loose or inserted in envelopes, wrappers, or other covers. Mailers who want to ensure that publications are not opened for postal inspection must pay First-Class rates and mark such mail accordingly.

4.0 Printed Features

4.1Publication Title and Address Notices

The publication title must be displayed prominently on the publication and any protective cover. The title or the name and address of the publisher must be displayed prominently on any opaque mailing wrapper. The publication title, followed immediately by the USPS publication number (or ISSN if one has been assigned), and the mailing address to which undeliverable copies or change-of-address notices are to be sent may be shown in the upper left corner of the address side of a mailing wrapper or directly on the outside of the host publication if it can be read when the mailing wrapper is in place. The publication number includes an alpha prefix and is to be within parentheses, e.g., THE NATIONAL WEEKLY (ISSN 9876-543X) or THE COMMUNITY (USPS 123-456).

4.2Periodicals Imprint

Mailing wrappers that completely enclose the host publication must bear the Periodicals imprint “Periodicals Postage Paid at...” or the word “Periodicals” in the upper right corner of the address area. If a clear plastic wrapper is used, those words may appear anywhere on the address side of the wrapper or the topmost item inside.


Advertising (as defined in E211) may be printed on the pages of any component of a publication, subject to the corresponding standards. Regardless of location, an advertisement must be prepared as an integral part of the publication. Except for advertisements in supplements, all advertisements in a bound publication must be permanently attached. Except as provided in 1.4d, all advertising must be included in the advertising portion of the issue measured under P200. Different advertising may occupy the same space in different editions of the same issue.

4.4Marking of Paid Reading Matter

Pursuant to 18 USC 1734, if a valuable consideration is paid, accepted, or promised for the publication of any editorial or other reading matter in a Periodicals publication, that matter must be plainly marked “advertisement” by the publisher. When a single item of paid editorial or other reading matter occupies more than one page, it need only be marked “advertisement” on the first page. The word “advertisement” may be included in a statement that explains why the material is marked “advertisement.” Such a statement must be prominent on the first page of the material and the word “advertisement” in the statement must be in bold or italicized print or otherwise emphasized so that it can be plainly seen. Editors or publishers who print such matter without plainly marking it “advertisement” are subject to a fine of not more than $500.

5.0 size

Periodicals mail may not weigh more than 70 pounds or measure more than 108 inches in length and girth combined. Additional size limitations apply to individual Periodicals rate categories.

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)