Newspapers Periodical postage rates to rise dramatically in 2023

Oct 7, 2022

Local newspaper publishers entering their subscribers’ newspapers at local post offices will see an average 7.6% increase in postage rates in January 2023. The increase was announced today by the U.S. Postal Service. Newspapers mailed outside the county will increase by an average of about 4%.

The increase comes as USPS is experiencing inflation pressures and also raising prices to improve revenue for its operation, where a new Delivering for America plan will roll out major changes in the way mail is handled and transported. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy spoke today to an assembly of community newspaper publishers gathered at the National Newspaper Association Foundation Annual Convention & Trade Show in San Francisco. He said USPS had been hurt by pricing limitations in a 2006 law and that more postage increases were ahead.

NNA incoming chair John Galer, publisher of the Hillsboro (Illinois) Journal-News, said the proposed increases were daunting. The January increase added to a price hike of around 7% from July 2022. The total impact of increased mailing cost has risen into the range of 15% in a single year.

“We understand the damage that inflation inflicts upon the U.S. economy and, as loyal customers of the Postal Service in our industry for more than 200 years, we try to take actions to help USPS control its own expenses,” Galer said. “But price increases of this magnitude will hurt newspapers as well as the Postal Service. This is not the time to drive business away if the Postmaster General’s goal is to fill his mail trucks and his mailbags, as he told us today.”

There were some silver linings in the USPS price announcement today, building upon NNA initiatives of recent years:

  • Although Periodicals in sacks will no longer be accepted at many USPS facilities, local newspapers entering at their delivery units or a nearby Sectional Center facility will still be able to use sacks.
  • NNA has long encouraged publishers to use white flats trays instead of sacks. In the January rate schedule, the differential price between sacks and trays continues to spread. Publishers can save about 20 cents per container by using the flats trays.
  • The Postal Service has increased the amount of savings from worksharing for certain types of mail to encourage more efficient preparation. In its “passthroughs” where USPS passes along a percentage of its own savings from publishers’ efficient preparation, the most commonly used prices for Within County mail will gain back about 20% more of USPS’ own savings. However, even at the new rates, USPS will still keep more than half of the savings in Carrier Route and 5-Digit presort categories earned by publishers’ presorting initiatives.

USPS has provided no explanation for increasing Within County Prices at a higher rate than Outside County mail. Galer said NNA would seek explanations.

Also in this week’s price increase announcement, USPS said it would raise the price of the First-Class Forever Stamp by 3 cents.