Postal Service has a change of heart for Gloucester businessman

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by Janet Roach, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on June 5, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 2:54 PM

GLOUCESTER- Bluewater Publishing owner Steve Lanning finally got the news he's wanted to hear Wednesday.

It seems the US Postal Service has had a change of heart, reversing its decision that would no longer allow him to ship his military cruise books under the media mail rate.

The media mail rate is a discounted price offered by the post office to ship media items, such as books.

Wednesday afternoon, Lanning got a call from the District Manager of Consumer and Industry Contact in New York, who told him his cruise books do qualify as media mail.

"I am very pleased, " says Lanning, who has been fighting with the Gloucester Post Office for almost a month.

In May, Lanning was stunned to learn from Gloucester Postmaster Tracey Sigler that after 22 years, his books would no longer qualify as media mail.

Sigler's decision was backed by the Manager of the District Business Mail Entry Office in Richmond.

The books document military deployments and history for the Navy, Marines, Army, and National Guard. Sometimes, Lanning ships hundreds of books at a time.

Lanning was told his book didn't fit the requirements, that they must consist wholly of reading matter, meaning his books have too many pictures.

The rate-hike would be more than $7 a book, which would have been passed on to service members who buy the books.

Lanning worried about contracts he had already inked with government, who pays for a portion of the books.

"For contracts that I have negotiated based on my experience of 22 years, I have included a price at media rate," Lanning said.

The reversal means Lanning can get back to business as usual. 

The first book his company produced was in 1991 on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. He's currently working on a book about the USS Abraham Lincoln.
 

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