Bob Shell: The USPS is Destroying Freedom of The Press

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Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2024


The USPS is Destroying Freedom of The Press


I was in the magazine business for many years. The largest single item in every magazine’s budget was the postage to get the magazines to our subscribers. The increase in postage prices practically every year forced us to increase subscription prices and cost us subscribers. 

Yes, the Internet has cut into print magazines, and other costs went up, but not usually as much as postage. Recently I saw on TV that postage prices are going up yet again. A First Class one ounce stamp is going up by five cents. Unless I’m mistaken, that’s far higher than the inflation rate. And it is certainty extremely inflationary. 

I used to love to read Rolling Stone magazine. I subscribed since the 1960s when Jan Wenner started it. 

Two years ago I had to drop my subscription because it went up to $ 60 a year! I simply could not afford it anymore. I knew that big chunk of that price increase is postage. 

Beyond that, the USPS actually regulates the percentages of editorial and advertising content in a magazine to qualify for Fourth Class, the cheapest postage rate. 

One of the magazines I subscribe to recently dropped their First Class subscription service due to the last round of postage increases. 

I expect other magazines to respond. History Magazine recently went to fewer issues per year due to postage increases, while another magazine I used to get has gone to only one issue a year! I expect to see more printed magazines disappear. 

Now, seeing something on a computer screen or tablet is good for some things, but it doesn’t come close to holding a high-quality printed magazine in your hands. 

Now, the same problem faces book publishers. I recently mailed a book to the next state, about three hours away by car. It went by UPS, which used to be cheaper. This small book weighed well under a pound. The price I was quoted? Fifteen dollars! So, maybe the Post Office would be cheaper? Yes, but it was still $ 8.00 for regular Parcel Post! 

Those ridiculous prices will impact the income of writers negatively. The USPS says it is having problems from the Internet’s competition and email. Anyone with even basic business knowledge knows you don’t compete with lower prices by raising yours!


About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 15th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell, click here:

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