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In the Interest of Advertisers and the Public at Large
Good Work Done by Publishers with the U. S. Postal Commission
The Proposition of W. D. Boyce and Others to Take Over and Operate the Postal Service of the United States as a
Private Business Under Government Control
NDER the Act of Congress ap- Among publishers and editors of Ag
proved June 26, provision was ricultural papers who presented able armade for a Commission, as fol- guments, were Wilmer Atkinson of lows:
Farm Journal, Herbert L. Myrick of the That there shall
Orange-Judd pubbe appointed a joint commission of Con
lications, H. C. gress, consisting of
Wallace of Walthree Senators, to be appointed by the
laces' Farmer, P. President of the Senate, and three
V. Collins of members of the House of Represen
Northwestern Agtatives, to ap
riculturist, and pointed by the Speaker of the
others. House, whose duty it shall be to inves
Space forbids tigate, consider, and
the presentation of report, by bill or otherwise, to Con
these arguments, gress its findings
much as AGRICULand
recommendations regarding the
ADVERTISsecond-class of mail matter. The said
ING would like to joint commission shall have power to
publish them. employ clerks and
In many respects stenographers, ad. minister oaths, send
the most convincpersons and
ing arguments propapers, and do all things necessary
duced, were those for the carrying out of its objects.
presented by W. By virtue of au
D. Boyce of Chithority of the fore
cago, on behalf of going Act, the
the A merican President of the
Weekly PublishSenate appointed
MR. W. D. BOYCE. as Commissioners
of which he is Senators Penrose,
President, and by Carter and Clay, and the Speaker Col. W. C. Hunter, President and of the House appointed Representa- George H. Currier, Secretary of Curtives Overstreet, Gardner and Moon. rier-Boyce Co., Chicago, publishers of The Commission duly organized by Woman's World. the election of Senator Penrose as Claim has often been made by publishChairman.
ers that the U. S. postoffice department Various publishers and editors ap- can well afford to carry second-class peared before the Commission, and pre- matter at a low rate, for the reason sented arguments as to why the present that it is a large creator of first-class rate of one cent per pound for second- matter. class of mail matter should not be in- This claim, however, has always been creased.
either ignored by the postal authorities,
or publishers have been given to understand that the claim was not sustained by facts.
Messrs. Hunter and Currier, in their statement, presented to the U. S. Postal Commission, which is published herewith, did far more than make a claim that advertisements in a publication, enjoying second-class privileges, does increase first-class postage receipts. They produced irrefutable evidence that such is the case.
Here is their report in full : To the Honorable Chairman and Members of
the Postal Commission: I herewith present some figures which have direct bearing on the matter of second-class mail, the figures obtained relating particularly to the operation of the Woman's World, pub. lished by the Currier-Boyce Co. of Chicago. REPORT SHOWING THE AMOUNT OF
FIRST, THIRD AND FOURTH-CLASS
ISSUE OF WOMAN'S WORLD. Every advertiser in the March, 1900, issue of the Woman's World was asked to furnish a statement showing the amount of postage in dollars and cents that was created by the insertion of his advertisement in this one issue. It was possible for 75 per cent of these advertisers to furnish this information, as 75 per cent of the advertisements in the issue contained "keyed" addresses. For example, the address in the advertisement of Friend Supply Company is 1 Washington Street, Dept. 483, Boston; in the February issue of Woman's World the address was Dept. 482, Boston.
If their advertisement appeared in any other papers or issues, the Department number in the address was different; therefore, all letters received by the Friend Supply Company addressed to Department 483, Boston, were replies to their advertisement in the March, 1906, issue of Woman's World. The “Dept.' idea is only one of many methods employed by advertisers to "key" their advertisements so they will know accurately how many answers each paper for every issue brings them in other words, how the insertion pays them.
The March, 1906, issue of Woman's World was 40 pages of 880 agate lines each, or a total of 35,200 agate lines of space, 16,391 of which were devoted to advertising and' 18,809 to reading matter.
We received reports from 101 of the 316 different advertisements in this issue of Woman's World. These 101 reports, furnished and signed by the advertisers, are produced here with. They represent 42 per cent of the advertising space in the issue--that is to say, these reports from 101 advertisers represent 6,888 agate lines of advertising out of a total of 16,391 agate lines, or 42 per cent of the whole.
These 101 reports from advertisers show that the immediate amount of first, third and fourthclass postage created from insertions of these 101 advertisements in March, 1906, issue of Woman's World was $11,262.99. This represents 42 per cent of the advertising in the issue. It can be stated positively and un. equivocally that the March, 1906, issue of Woman's World produced within practically thirty days after the issue was mailed $26,
816.64 in first, third and fourth-class mail from the advertisements in that issue to which, approximately, three-eighths of the space in the issue was devoted. The publishers of Woman's World expended $10,457.58 in postage (exclu. sive of second class), during the month of March, 1906. They also received 156,782 letters from subscribers and subscription agents during March, 1906, to which were affixed stamps amounting to $3,135.74.
These three items of postage-the $26,816.64 created by the advertisements, the $10,457.58 expended by the publishers, and the $3,135.74 expended by subscribers and agentsaggregate $40,409.96_in first, third and fourthclass mail matter. Every, cent of it is pertaining to the March, 1906, issue and March business (exclusive of second class) of Woman's World. The Woman's World has been built up, and its existence depends, upon the pound rate of postage. IF THE 339,895 POUNDS OF THE MARCH, 1906, ISSUE OF WOMAN'S WORLD HAD NOT BEEN CIR. CULATED BY THE POSTOFFICE DEPARTMENT AT ONE CENT A POUND, THIS $40,409.96 IN FIRST, THIRD AND FOURTH-CLASS POSTAGE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CREATED.
The mailing of this March, 1906, issue at 1 cent per pound cost the publishers $3,398.95; $40,409.96 is only a part of the business other than second class created by this March, 1906, issue of the Woman's World. The $26,816.64 created by the insertion of 316 advertisements represents immediate mail matter; in many cases permanent customers are secured by these advertisers who order goods by mail with more or less regularity for years. The subscription receipts of Woman's World during March, 1906, were $67,841.22, 85 per cent of which was remitted in postoffice money orders or registered letters, as the records of the Chicago Postoffice will show.
CURRIER-BOYCE Co., George H. Currier, Sec. and Treas. Chicago, Ill., Nov. 22, 1906. There has been much talk and little evidence about the volume of business created through advertising, and I believe this is the first instance where actual facts over the signature of the advertisers has been presented. Mr. Geo. H. Currier, the Secretary of our Company, caused each advertisement appearing in our March, 1906, issue to be cut out and sent to the advertiser, together with a list of questions asking the number of letters received in answer to the advertisement, the subsequent letters received ordering goods, also the number of letters, printed matter and merchandise sent to those answering advertisements, the follow-up letters and acknowledgments, the postage on merchandise or printed matter sold through the advertisement. These figures have been carefully, prepared, and in Mr. Currier's statement, which I give here for your inspection and verification, we find the following interesting facts:
The amount of postage of all grades absolutely created by the March issue of Woman's World is as follows:
Value. Lbs. Advertisers in this issue
sent out and received mail matter amounting in value to
$26,816.42 33,528 The publishers of Woman's
World sent out and received mail during this month amounting to... 13,593.32 16,991 For mailing this issue the publishers paid
3,398.95 339,895 Total value of mail created
Average postage per pound of mail of all grades, 11 1.5c.
Summarized briefly, THE TOTAL POSTAGE PAID ON ALL'INCOMING AND OUT. GOING MATTER BY OURSELVES AND THE ADVERTISERS WHOSE ADVERTISEMENTS APPEARED IN THE MARCH ISSUE AVERAGED 11 1-5 CENTS PER POUND-A HANDSOME PROFIT FOR THE POSTOFFICE DEPARTMENT.
It has been frequent stated by former Postmasters-General that the average cost of handling all mail matter was 8 cents per pound. This basis was arrived at many years ago, but it will be seen by the PostmasterGeneral's report that the cost of handling all classes of mail to the Government is considerably less than 8 cents per pound. If the number of pounds of mail matter carried per annum is compared with the total cost of the operating of the Postal Establishment, it is plainly evident that the cost is somewhere between 5 and 6 cents per pound.
In the figures above given no account is taken of the money orders issued and for the fees the Government received from the money orders issued by those who have sent money to the advertisers and to ourselves. Doubtless the Government would receive a benefit of about 12 cents per pound on the mail matter directly resultant from the appearance and issuance of the Woman's World.
We have gone into the matter of transportation, taking our circulation by states and distances, the result being that the average haul per copy of the Woman's World is 658 miles.
We pay the Government $1.00 per hundred for hauling our papers 658 miles. The Express Companies will haul newspapers an equal distance at a lower rate.
It will be seen from the figures herein given that the Government has made a profit of from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars on the mail originating and directly resultant from the publication of the March issue of the Woman's World. In other words, if the cost to the Government is 6 cents per pound, and the receipts from all classes of mail handled in accordance with the figures above given are 11 1-5 cents, then, indeed, there is a profit of 5 cents or thereabouts per pound.
THIS MUCH IS SURE: THE $43,000 PAID FOR POSTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT BY OURSELVES, OUR ADVERTISERS AND OUR CUSTOMERS, WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PAID IF THE WOMAN'S WORLD WAS NOT IN EXISTENCE.
It has been shown by the figures prepared by the Postoffice Department that, though the second-class matter has steadily increased in volume, the deficit has correspondingly decreased and would by this time have been wiped out entirely, and instead of a deficit a profit would appear, were it not for the Rural Free Delivery and free Government matter.
I wish to say in all sincerity that it is my firm belief that the law establishing a cent a pound on second-class matter was a decided benefit to the people of our country. The figures show that the volume of highly profit. able mail, namely first, third and fourth classes, have correspondingly increased with the increase in second-class matter. The subscriber benefits by getting his publication at a low price, which would be impossible if a higher rate of postage were charged, and the Postoffice profits by the increase in business.
Years ago, the second-class rate was twice the present amount. Coincident with the 2. cent-a-pound rate for second-class matter, the cost of paper was twice its present cost. Publishers have kept abreast with the times and at this moment the production of the printing press has been increased manifoldly, the cost
of paper has been reduced 50 per cent, and the postage on second-class matter has been duced 50 per cent, and these reductions have made it possible for the publishers to sell their paper for 10, 25 or 50 cents a year, where a like paper could not be sold when the 2-cent-a-pound rate was in effect at less than 50 cents or $1.00 a year. Further than this, the publications now issued are infinitely bet ter, broader in their scope and more in conformity with the meaning, "published for the dissemination of knowledge, news, etc.”
It is and has been the policy of the Govern. ment to look after the interests and welfare of its people. The Government annually expends vast sums of money to help the farmer through the Agricultural Department. This nation of ours only progresses if the individuals progress mentally, and no factor has been more potent in educating our people than newspapers and periodicals.
To increase the second-class matter would certainly work immediate hardship on publishers whose vested rights, now exist through the laws established by the Congress pertaining to postage. The policy of the Gov. ernment has always been to decrease the postage rate when changes have been made. No factor will help to increase the postage receipts more than the publications which now are under consideration by your Honorable Body, and concerning which, the Honorable Third Assistant Postmaster-General reconi. mends the second-class rate be increased.
If the establishment of the Rural Free Delivery was to benefit the people and the Government is willing to lose twenty million dol. lars per annum to benefit its people, then certainly a temporary deficit of ten million dollars per annum should not be
grave concern when it appears that the deficit will surely be wiped out unless unusual changes are made to the Postoffice Department.
Your Honorable Body is convened, as I understand it, for the purpose of getting in. formation on the subject of postal rates, and I suggest to this Commission that if the entire Government affairs were conducted as private business is conducted, one of the basic principles would be
that each Department is charged for expenses it incurs. In other words, the War Department, the Navy De. partment, the Agricultural Department, Interior Department, Executive and all the Arms of the Government have their mail matter carried without charge to them; therefore they bear no portion of the expense.
I quite agree with the Honorable Third As. sistant Postmaster-General that the laws now in force are inadequate, are not specific and are a source of misrepresentation. I believe the Honorable Third Assistant Postmaster-General should, so far as possible, be relieved from making individual decisions or interpretations. I believe a rate should be established covering third and fourth-class matter at so much a pound and that the postage be paid in a lump sum as it is now paid on second-class matter. The combination of two classes and abolishment of stamps on each package would make a decided saving to the Government.
I realize the difficulties under which your Honorable Commission labors. Publishers dif. fer greatly, and there are nearly as many recommendations as there are publishers appearing before you.
It is not a wise plan to upset precedent and place in jeopardy, vested rights when, through those vested rights, the Government is reaping a handsome profit.
WM. C. HUNTER,
Publishers Woman's World.
If the Government is willing to spend $25,000,000 per annum for Rural Delivery to benefit the people, it should not be concerned over the small deficit of $10,000,000 per annum.
The proposition of Mr. W. D. Boyce, together with his report, as Chairman of the Periodical Publishers' Association, has
been favorably commented upon by
publications of all kinds throughout the United States.
We are too apt to look upon the Government as an arbitrary power, ruling the people in an inexorable manner, forgetting that the Government is the people, and that the various departments of the Government service, should be administered for the good of the people generally, and not in the interest of politicians and their constituents.
Mr. Boyce has spoken frankly and fearlessly. Here are
a few extracts from his report to the Periodical Publishers' Association. Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:
The most profitable investment the Govern. ment has made in the Postoffice Department is the rate of one cent a pound for newspapers and periodicals.
The most potent factors in increasing the sale of postage stamps are newspapers and periodicals.
The most powerful factors for the dissemination of news and advertising the natural re: sources of our country are the newspapers and periodicals.
The most efficient method of educating our people and acquainting them with the benefits of our Republic are the newspapers and period. icals.
The best means of promoting our welfare and advertising this country among the sister Nations in the world are the newspapers and periodicals.
Without advertising and news-matter this country could not have attained its present proportions and its unbounded prosperity.
Without the newspaper and periodical, the civilized population of this country at
this time would be restricted to a few settlements along the Atlantic coast.
When the Postoffice Department was established, the cost of transporting letters was so high that letter writing was a luxury and could only be indulged in by the well-to-do people. From time to time the Government has reduced the postage rate, both on letters and on period. icals, and just so often as a reduction has been made a corresponding increase in volume immediately followed.
It is now time for a further reduction on first and second class postage, and that reduction should be at least fifty per cent.
This reduction the two classes named would mean first, penny postage for letters and the people of the country would send their communications in the form of a letter rather than on postal cards. The Government carries the postal card for a cent and furnishes the paper on which the communication is printed. The Government could just as well carry a letter for a cent and only furnish the postage stamp, the cost of which is insignificant; the writer would furnish the paper and envelope.
Penny postage, however, would not be practical without a reduction in the second class rate so as to allow an increase in the volume of second class mail which creates first, third and fourth class mail matter.
While those who watch the pennies closely are enabled to communicate through the postal card plan for a cent, yet the number of pieces would be more than doubled if the communications could be private instead of being subject to the gaze of the Postmaster and Postal clerks.
Over 700,000,000 postal cards were sold by the postoffices last year.
A reduction in the second class rate would be a distinct gain to the people of the country, for it would enable the publishers to give more pages for the
subscription price and would enable some of the publishers to lower their subscription rate.
The second class postage rate has often been referred to as a "privilege” or a “subsidy” to the publisher. The rate is not, and never has been, a privilege or subsidy to the publisher, but it is a benefit directly to the people.
Second class postage creates most of the first, third and fourth classes of mail. These classes are highly profitable to the Government,
the following figures will show: On first class mail matter the Government receives over $3,000 per ton; on third class about $200 a ton; on fourth class about $400 a ton. The average haul on these classes is about 400 miles.
As publishers, we know that in proportion as we can manufacture, print and circulate our papers cheaper, the benefit goes to the reader in the shape of lower subscription rates or in increased quantity of reading. If the second class matter rate were increased, many publishers would be forced out of business, for in many cases the annual profits of a publication are less than the amount of postage paid for second class matter.
The Postmaster General-Geo. B. Cortelyou -in his recommendations to Congress emphasizes the fact that the Postoffice should be divorced from politics and conducted on business principles. This suggestion of his is the most hopeful thing publishers have heard from the Postoffice Department. General Cortelyou is to be commended for his recommendation.
Last year the second class mail increased 45,000,000 pounds and the deficit decreased $4,000,000.
The Postoffice Department would today show a profit of $15,000,000 except for the loss sus. tained through the Rural Free Delivery.. In other words, this past year shows a deficit of $10,000,000 on the whole operation, and in the debit charges appears $25,000,000 expended for Rural Free Delivery.
This service could be made profitable and extended to reach every farm home in the country if a Local Postal Express were established.
This service to be confined to the rural route itself. Merchandise starting and terminating on the route could be profitably carried at one or two cents a pound.
We find that the losses through the Rural Free Delivery are
more than the total Postal deficit and yet we wish to continue the Rural Free Delivery, because it is a direct benefit to the people.