Wednesday, March 14, 2007


This post is directed towards all of the international writers out there. May I introduce you to the United States Postal Store? It will allow you to buy US stamps, and will ship them internationally to you. You can buy a lot at once, and never have to go to your local post office for an IRC again. More importantly, it means that *I* will never have to go to the post office to redeem the IRCs that you send me.

Let me explain:

The people who run my post office are not that current on postal regulations. They are nice people, but I often find that they don't know the intricacies that I use, like sending manuscripts as Media Mail (much, much cheaper than first class) or redeeming IRCs. Today, in fact, I had to go to two different postal clerks in order to redeem the seven IRCs I had brought with me, and the second postal clerk had to go to her supervisor. The supervisor then needed to explain what an IRC was to the second postal clerk, who was then able to come back and process my order. It took a very long time, and suffice it to say, was quite frustrating.

If you just buy the stamps in advance and have them shipped to your home, you can save me all this trouble. Yes, I know it's more expensive, but it's not that much more expensive. And it really saves myself and other agents a tremendous amount of time. Plus, I'd like to also point out that some of you from the Down Under side of the world have been sending me submissions with insufficient IRCs for return postage. I've been putting my own stamps on your manuscripts and letters, at a cost to me, since I'm not a stamp dispenser. One package I had to slap on an extra $2-$3 worth of stamps, beyond the IRCs sent to me, or it wouldn't have made it back to the sender. And trust me, that adds up over time.

So save me the trouble, and save yourself the trouble, and just buy the stamps online.

The current postal rates for a #10 envelope weighing 1 oz. are thus:

From the US to Canada: 63 cent stamp
From the US to Anywhere Else: 84 cent stamp

For anything weighing more than an ounce it goes up substantially. All the rates can be found on the USPS website. Use it. Calculate your package weight appropriately. It will be worth both my time and yours.

Thank you in advance. =)

(Please note that there is a proposed rate increase for US postage, which is supposed to happen in May 2007. When I get the correct figures for it, I will post how much the increased postage rate is for international postage. I will also remind US senders, at that time, to put the correct domestic postage on their envelopes.)


Jordan Summers said...

I can't believe they're raising rates again, when the service seems to have slowed down. :(

Jodi Meadows said...

All our monies are belong to the USPS. :(

December Quinn said...

They're raising rates again? I just had my Mom send me a fresh sheet of stamps! (One of which was on my SASE, she says proudly.)

Jenny Rappaport said...

Yeah, they're raising the rates again, which just sucks. The postal clerk thought it was going to 41 cents for first-class, but I've heard 42 cents batted around online. I've also read, god knows where, I think the NY Times, that they're thinking of making a "forever" stamp. Basically, they issue this first-class stamp that has no price on it, and if you buy it in June 2007, for example, at 41 cents, you can still use it in June 2010, when the rates have gone up to a theoretical 85 cents per first-class stamp.

Jenny Rappaport said...

Oooh, and december quinn, I'm going to pick your British postal knowledge brain! For a regular, letter-size envelope, do I need a 0.72(pound) stamp, to send it from Britain to the US?

(It's late, I'm tired, and I apologize for not properly knowing how to reproduce the pound symbol on my keyboard.=)

Sam said...

I just spent a half an hour at the post yesterday (in France) getting and IRC. They are hardly ever used and the postmistress had no idea how much they were, where they were, and where to stamp it (when she finally did find it).
Now I'm just going to order stamps online. Thanks for the head's up!

Amie Stuart said...

Don't they already make first class stamps with no postage? I think they're the flag stamps. This is good news about them selling postage online and senidng it overseas (for work anyway LOL)

Tess said...

Thanks for the info on rates :-) And at least the USPS online makes it waaaaay easier for we Canucks to get hold of US postage. Far less expensive than driving across the border to find a post office *g*. Granted, I never did this - just waited till I was visiting, but I've known writers from Canada to do this.

BuffySquirrel said...

We've had forever stamps in the UK for a while. Very handy, especially as the Post Office were forced to admit that if you put on an old first class stamp and then stamps to make it up to the new first class rate, the letter just went second class anyway, because the machines can't count up combinations of stamps.

Royal Mail airmail rates to overseas are here. Apparently, the USA is in World Zone 1. A 20 gram letter (about .71 of an ounce!) would be 72 pence, yes.

December Quinn said...

Thanks, Buffy, you beat me to it!

McKoala said...

That's weird about needing to add extra postage to IRCs. I may be out of line here, because I have US stamps (heh heh), but when I used to use IRCs (sorry) I was told that it was return postage for a regular letter from wherever, however much it cost.

And just for fun, where I live it was just as much fun to purchase IRCs as it was for you to redeem them. My record was four post office staff to sell me a single IRC.

Jenny Rappaport said...

McKoala, I don't stand in line at the post office with each individual letter or package that comes with IRCs. I put my own stamps on them, mail them out, and save up the IRCs to redeem for stamps. When I go to the post office, they give me stamps back for the coupons.

If you sent me 3 IRCs, which are each worth 84 cents each, that's $2.52 worth of postage you've sent me. But if your manuscript needs $5 worth of postage to go back, I'm still putting that amount of stamps on it.

Jean said...

Here in east Texas there isn't a large need for IRCs. In fact the manager of one post office told me there was no such thing as an IRC. This was a town of over 100k people too.

My small town (less than 1K) post office knew what they were but didn't have any in stock.

I eventually did get my IRC but had to print out the info from the postal website and show it to them.