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February 6, 2012
Letter to the editor

Consequences of Postal Service consolidation

To the editor:

I find the news coverage of proposed changes in the U.S. Postal Service rather shallow, including the Jan. 23 story published in Mainebiz, "Postage due."

You should be asking the following questions, among others: Why should the U.S. mail be significantly cheaper than in other countries, such as Canada? If the cost of delivering first-class letters was raised by 5 cents, how would that bankrupt anyone? The Postal Service charges $1.41 to mail a book, at least $1.50 less than UPS or FedEx.

The private shippers at one time did a much better job than the Postal Service. As a bookseller, I can remember receiving boxes of books that were apparently tossed like footballs during handling. This was around 1975. Since then, the Postal Service has become a bit more gentle, while UPS and FedEx have become a bit rougher, so there is little difference now.

In addition, I can ship a case of books for around $15 through the Postal Service, while the private shippers charge $25; the Postal Service comes to your door to collect the packages; UPS wants an extra $5 for that.

As a bookseller for more than 45 years, I would be happy to pay an extra 10% or whatever to keep the current service. If the move to eliminate Saturday service and other valuable features continues, small business owners will soon be pushed into the high-priced clutches of the private shipping companies.

Arthur Harvey, owner

Arthur Harvey Books, Hartford

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