Customer Support Ruling

Books and Charts – Media Mail

UPDATED January 2017

PS-213 (273.3)

This CSR is a case study of a prototype mailpiece containing books and charts that a postal customer wants to mail at Media Mail prices.

Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 273.3.1a*, prescribes that books, including books issued to supplement other books, of at least eight (8) pages, consisting wholly of reading matter, or scholarly bibliography, or reading matter with incidental blank spaces for notations and containing no advertising matter other than incidental announcements of books, may be mailed at the Media Mail prices.  Advertising includes paid advertising and the publisher's own advertising in display, classified or editorial style.

Pages which form a book may be enclosed in a binder or mailed with a binder at Media Mail prices.  However, binders when mailed by themselves are subject to the applicable prices, according to weight.

Printed educational reference charts qualify for Media Mail prices under DMM 273.3.1.g.  As applied by the Postal Service, each qualifying chart must be a single printed sheet of information which is designed to be used for educational reference purposes.  It must be designed to instruct or train individuals for the purpose of improving or developing their capabilities.  The information on the charts, which may be printed on one or both sides of the sheet, must be primarily conveyed by graphs, diagrams, tables, or other nontextual matter.  Sheets in which the information is primarily conveyed by textual matter in a narrative form do not qualify as printed educational reference charts for mailing at Media Mail prices even if they include graphs, diagrams, or tables.

Charts are normally, but not necessarily, devoted to one subject.  Examples of charts include, but are not limited to: maps; tables of mathematical or scientific equations; noun declensions; verb conjugations used in the study of languages; the periodic table of elements; botanical or zoological tables; and other tables used in the study of science.

DMM 273.5.3 provides that any printed matter which would be mailable as USPS Marketing Mail may be included loose with any qualifying material mailed at Media Mail prices.

An examination of the items in question, which will be mailed in cartons, has disclosed that there is a three-ring binder bearing the title "The Medical Handbook**," a mock-up 12-page booklet with three punched holes titled "The Medical Handbook," cards with illustrations and medical information in a narrative form about different topics printed on each of them, divider cards with subject titles and other matter printed thereon, a copy of "The Medicine Book**," and two attached printed sheets that contain information regarding the aforementioned contents.

Each copy of "The Medical Handbook" that is enclosed in a binder (loose or attached to the rings) and each copy of "The Medicine Book" are mailable at Media Mail prices.  The cards with medical information printed thereon do not constitute printed educational reference charts because they consist primarily of textual matter.  Such cards are mailable at USPS Marketing Mail prices.  However, in view of the provisions of DMM 273.5.3, those cards and the divider cards may be enclosed with copies of "The Medical Handbook" mailed at Media Mail prices.  This means that the postage on them will also be computed and charged at Media Mail prices.

It is understood that once the customer receives the initial books, cards and other materials at Media Mail prices, the company will mail additional cards to that customer.  Mailpieces weighing less than 16 ounces are mailable at USPS Marketing Mail prices.  Endorsed USPS Marketing Mail pieces containing such cards that are refused or which are undeliverable as addressed will be returned through the mails to the sender and be subject to the applicable weighted fee charged, or single-piece First-Class Mail or Priority Mail price as applicable for weight of the piece and according to the endorsement on the pieces.

* See also DMM 173.4.

** Not actual title in original ruling.

Sherry Suggs


Mailing Standards

Headquarters, US Postal Service

Washington, DC  20260-3436