In the Mail: Good News and Bad News

The bad news first–and this sort of thing is always bad news for those of us who rely on the U.S. postal service as we submit our work (and SASEs)–it looks as though postal rates will be going up again. Expect another increase in May, to $.41 for a first-class stamp (that’s what I’m reading this morning, though I’d heard $.42 was a possibility).

So maybe there’s some good news in the “limited” hike. Another reason for good cheer is the the imminent introduction of the “forever stamp.”

As the Christian Science Monitor explains this morning:

Beginning in May, customers would be able purchase the stamps in booklets of 20 at the regular rate of a first-class stamp. As the name implies, ‘forever stamps’ will retain their first-class mailing value for all eternity, even when the postage rate goes up.

The new ‘forever stamp’ is the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) answer to customer complaints about frequent rate increases. The May hike will be the fifth in a decade. Postal rates have risen because of inflation, competition from online bill paying, and the rising costs of employee benefits, including healthcare, says Mark Saunders, a spokesman for USPS.

Watch for updates on this–or risk consigning your manuscripts to oblivion when a journal can’t add a two- or three-cent stamp to your SASE and you haven’t used the “forever” stamp!