Magazines: They’re Just Like Us. Tabloids And Other Publications Risk Failing Postal Service’s “Droop Test”

droop_test_3.23.10.jpgPublishers have until June 7th to make sure their products don’t fail the United States Postal Service’s “deflection standards,” known more colorfully as “the droop test.” Publications that are wider, taller or made with flimsier paper than the average glossy magazine run the risk of failing these new standards.

Concerned over the prospect of droopy tabloids and weepy publishers, American Business Media chairperson and Vance Publishing president and COO Peggy Walker sent out a memo to publishers to work in conjunction with printers in order to avoid facing penalties:

[T]he hope is that printers may be able to obtain specialized equipment, such as in-line quarter folders, that will help publications destined for failure to meet the droop test at a reasonable cost. Because it is never sorted on machines in any event, the penalties will not apply to ‘saturation’ or ‘high-density’ mail or to mail entered into the postal system at the destination delivery unit where the carriers work.

For those concerned about whether their product passes the dreaded “droop test,” Arandell Corporation’s blog has a handy guide:

Place any catalog that is mailed as a flat on the end of a flat surface. Align the longest edge of the catalog perpendicular to the surface edge. If the catalog is square, align the spine perpendicular to the surface edge.

If the catalog is 10″ or longer:

Extend the catalog 5″ inches from the edge.
If the catalog droops less than 3″ the catalog is mailable as a flat.

If the catalog is less than 10:”

Extend the catalog half its length off the edge of the surface.

The catalog must not droop more than 2″ less than the extended length from both ends.

And don’t worry. It happens to a lot magazines.