The History of Media Mail

Interesting thing: I was at the post office, mailing a book to a friend (Beast – I’m so sorry! I should have sent it ages ago!) when I happened to mention that I love the media mail rate. (Instead of $12 to mail my book, it was only $3.) The postman gave me – and everyone else in line – a mini-history of the old book rate plan. It started in 1938 as a way to encourage reading, by making it cheaper to send books through the mail. More recently, the classification changed to “media mail” and it covers books and videos. For me, it’s a lifesaver. When I send books to friends, when I give away books on the website, mailing can be the most expensive part of the whole deal. (One year, I didn’t restrict a giveaway to US residents, and I spent almost $40 shipping a box of books to a winner in Canada. Ooops!) I think it’s great that the federal government gives a subsidy to the Post Office so that I can ship books to distant friends on the cheap! My tax dollars at work finally!

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