How does the USPS view your digital editions in the context of your publication’s statement of ownership?

Many publishers noticed when they filled out their statements of ownership that the form asked for a count of their digital subscriptions.  For those of you who didn’t dig into the Domestic Mail Manual to learn the details of digital copies, I thought it would be good for me to deliver the USPS regulations on that topic.  (You’re welcome!)

 6.5 Electronic Copies

Copies of Periodicals publications distributed through email or by accessing a password protected website may be counted toward an approved or pending general or requester publication’s eligibility for Periodicals prices. The following conditions additionally apply:

a. Electronic copies that may be counted toward a publication’s eligibility for Periodicals prices:

1.Must be paid at a price above nominal rate for publications approved in the General category; or

2.Must be requested in writing or by electronic correspondence for publications approved in the Requester category.

b. Electronic copies of a Periodicals publication for which access is offered free in conjunction with printed copies of the same issues may not be counted when determining total circulation for the publication.

c. At least 40% of the total circulation of each issue must consist of printed copies distributed to paying subscribers or requesters, as applicable. Up to 10% of the distributed copies used to qualify or remain eligible for Periodicals prices may be copies that are paid or requested to be sent electronically.

d. .If less than 60% of a Periodicals publication’s total circulation consists of printed copies distributed to paying subscribers or requesters, as applicable, annual Postal eligibility audits must be conducted by a certified audit bureau.

Please note that if you are bundling digital with print copies and not charging at least 30% of the publishing basic price for digital, they cannot count in your total.