The following is the opening of a letter sent to Congressman James Comer earlier this week with Executive Committee members who have newspapers in at least one of his 35 counties.
“Kentucky newspapers are actively concerned about the decline of the US Postal Service. Its recent massive service failures have damaged America’s country newspapers, including the 41 in your district that rely upon the mail to reach subscribers.
“Newspapers are critical to rural America, as you have frequently noted. But we have lost readers because of the service problems. Yet the federal law limits our ability to get them back. We are limited by law from sending more than 10% of our annual mailing total to non-subscribers.
“This limitation has been in the law since the 19th Century. If your committee could see its way clear to change that number to 50%, which is the total non-subscribers allowed under other parts of Periodicals’ rules, it would give us some momentum to begin recovering our lost subscribers.
“It is possible that this increased allowance would actually earn USPS some additional postage, as new subscribers generally send us their checks by First-Class mail at 55 cents apiece, while the sampled newspaper would cost USPS only about 3 cents in postage losses. It is a win-win.
“The provision attached is the one that would need to be changed. We hope you would be willing to consider the merits of modernizing this restriction and aid Kentucky’s newspapers in continuing to serve during this very tough economy.
“Thank you very much for considering our request.”
39 USC 3626 Section (h)
In the administration of this section, the number of copies of a subscription publication mailed to non-subscribers during a calendar year at rates under subsections (a), (b), and (c) of former section 4358 of this title may not exceed 10 (change to 50) percent of the number of copies of such publication mailed at such rates to subscribers.