USPS Issues New Rule On Requester Newspapers

Print publications are facing many challenges, not the least of which is one caused by that old partner: The U.S. Postal Service. 

The USPS has issued a rule that allows it to revoke an audit bureau’s authority to validate requesters, according to the National Newspaper Association (NNA). 

Requester newspapers are those that have more than 50% of their circulations paid or requested. That includes paid single-copy sales. 

The USPS can withdraw the audit bureau’s authority if it finds that its procedures are inadequate. 

According to NNA, requester newspapers must demonstrate that “at least half of their distribution is requested by persons making specific affirmative requests to receive the paper.”

NNA says these requests must be:

  • Valid for three years
  • Maintained on file by the publisher and 
  • Must not be prompted by payment, premiums or other incentives. 



It is not yet clear what impact the rule will have on periodical delivery. At the least, it may remove a little wiggle room. 

The USPS says "USPS employees or an authorized audit bureau may conduct verifications of circulation for an application for Periodicals mailing privileges, reentry application, or other required circulation verification of general or requester publications, provided, however, that the Postal Service will have the authority to review audit procedures upon request.” 

It states. “the Postal Service reserves the right to verify each audit bureau’s compliance with such audit procedures. The Postal Service shall have the authority to revoke any audit bureau’s authorization to conduct verifications if it finds such audit bureau has failed to follow approved audit procedures.” 

NNA describes it as follows: A requester newspaper may substitute an audit bureau’s report for the publisher’s records to be reviewed in case of a USPS audit. If an audit bureau is used, the publisher is required to keep only the records required by the bureau. And the audit bureau is required to maintain its records for three years following an issue date. But USPS reserves the right to review the bureau’s procedures.

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