How to Mail Magazines Via USPS

By Louise Balle

Mailing a letter via the United States Postal Service (USPS) is simple and straightforward. Put it in the envelope, write the address, paste on a stamp and mail it off. But when you want to send commercial communications, like magazines, through the post office, you have to go through a few additional steps.

Apply for Periodicals mailing permission by filling out Form 3500 (available for pickup from the post office). The USPS classifies magazines under "Periodicals mail" with a discounted rate for certain volume mailings. Drop the form off at your local post office and wait for an approval notification for your new Periodicals account. Consult with your local post office representative for exact rules and regulations regarding your planned magazine mailing.

Determine the amount of postage required to send each magazine so that you can estimate your total cost. Add the required amount due to your account at the post office where you applied for Periodicals mailing privileges. The rates for presorted mail, where you sort the magazines by zip code or other identifying details before dropping them off, are commonly better than non-sorted.

Determine the correct place to print or label the addressee and postage information for each recipient --- usually at the bottom third of the back cover of the magazine. Keep this area of the back cover white (no graphics) when you design the magazine so that the post office can read the address clearly.

Print address labels to affix to the magazine or use a postage meter machine that can print addresses directly on magazines. Your local post office representative might instruct you to include your Periodicals account code on the back of the magazines before you send them to your printer. In some cases you can have your printer shrink-wrap each magazine and place the mailing information on the wrapping instead.

Bundle the magazines for delivery according to postal regulations. Bundling is organizing and securing the magazines together with rubber bands, shrink-wrap or other twine. You must pick up postage crates to hold the magazines from the post office and then drop off the full crates to the post office for mailing.