ABAA Urges Congress to Support Postal Service

The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) is asking Congress to do its part to facilitate the spread of literacy and guarantee free speech by ensuring the U.S. Postal Service remains solvent and that special Media Mail rates stay in place.

The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service ended the second quarter of its 2013 fiscal year with a net loss of $1.9 billion and mounting debt. Efforts to eliminate Saturday delivery of mail were blocked earlier this year. But many fear plans to reduce debt could lead to higher postal prices, further reductions in service and the elimination of the reduced Media Mail rate many booksellers rely upon. Media Mail facilitates the spread of literacy and free speech by enabling the shipping of educational, literary and other written and electronic forms of communication at preferential rates.

“The discontinuation or a significant decrease in services by the Postal Service would cause undue hardship to hundreds of millions of Americans dependent on the Postal Service for the delivery of well over 100 billion pieces of mail yearly,” says ABAA President John Thomson. “This would also place a burden on bookseller small businesses who rely on the postal service for affordable delivery of their products.”

The Postal Service's own financial reports show that its package business, for items such as books, is on the rise. “The continuing shift to electronic communication alternatives had a pronounced negative effect on First-Class Mail volume and revenue, the growth of e-commerce and successful marketing campaigns continued to grow Postal Service Shipping and Package business. Total Shipping and Packages revenue in the second quarter increased $267 million, or 9.3 percent, compared to the same period last year. For the six months ended March 31, Shipping and Package revenue is up 6.9 percent.”

The United States Postal Service Resolution was adopted at the ABAA’s board meeting in April. The ABAA is the largest and oldest association of antiquarian booksellers in the U.S., representing more than 450 member firms across the nation. The mission of the ABAA is to promote ethical standards and professionalism in the antiquarian book trade.

For further information, please contact Susan Benne at sbenne@abaa.org or 212.944.8291.

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