Fact Sheet Examines How USPS Differs From a Traditional Private Enterprise

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This week, the American Booksellers Association published a fact sheet that provides booksellers with important details pertaining to how the United States Postal Service (USPS) differs from a traditional private enterprise.

The sharing of this material follows the announcement last week that Amazon.com had struck an exclusive deal with USPS, which will enable the online retailer to offer Amazon Prime customers Sunday delivery this holiday season.

In response to the announcement, ABA created a template letter that booksellers can use to urge their elected officials to look into the arrangement between a corporation and a quasi-government agency.

Many who praised the deal between USPS and Amazon incorrectly stated that the postal service is a private company, and, as such, is allowed to make an agreement with a corporate entity. David Grogan, senior public policy analyst for ABA, noted that it is very possible that booksellers will hear similar responses from their own legislators.

However, there are many notable differences between a private company and USPS. “The postal service is not run like a private business and, therefore, it should not be able to provide one retailer with exclusive services that it does not provide to its competitors,” Grogan said.  “The fact sheet gives booksellers talking points to engage their lawmakers to further explain how Amazon’s deal with the postal service is a clear conflict of interest.”

The Sunday service is already open to Amazon Prime customers in New York City and Los Angeles, as reported by Wired.com. USPS has noted that under the program it will for the first time deliver packages at regular rates on a Sunday, whereas previously, consumers had to pay an extra fee for delivery on that day, as reported by the Washington Post. Sunday delivery is expected to branch out to the rest of the country next year, USPS told the Post.

The fact sheet can be found in ABA’s E-Fairness Action Kit, and booksellers with questions can e-mail Grogan.