Once again, Printing Industries of America is featuring another great title from Printing Industries Press as our Book of the Month for April/May 2012. Direct Mail Pal 2012: A Direct Mail Production Handbook covers all of the changes in postal rules, rates, options, and practices in order to help you navigate through a changing environment and effectively plan and operate while maximizing your profitability.

If you are a direct mail production professional or printer expanding into direct mail, novice or experienced, this handbook is for you. Direct mail personalization, according to recent data, rose 46 percent from 2010 to 2011. With the proper knowledge and planning this book provides,  you can take advantage of this growing trend.

This publication is highly recommended by our staff here at Printing Industries of America for its current information and comprehensive scope. Amy Woodall, director of Technical Information, Printing Industries Press, shared some insights about Direct Mail Pal 2012. Ms. Woodall served as editor and project manager on this publication and worked closely with the book’s authors, T.  J. Tedesco and Charley Howard. Here, she shares her insights with us about the Book of the Month:

Why did you choose Direct Mail Pal 2012 as the Book of the Month for April/May 2012?

This is one of our newest titles from Printing Industries Press and a long-time best seller. The first edition was released ten years ago and has been on the top ten list of our publications since its release. An updated version was long overdue. This book was chosen as the book of the month because I wanted to be sure people knew about the wealth of information about direct mail available in this update.

The authors mentioned in your interview with them that this book helps printers with new rates and regulations set by the USPS. In what ways does the book address these new concerns?

The actual rate charts are included and broken down by per piece rates, per pound rates, automation, compatibility, and more. The USPS’s new rules and specs can be difficult to navigate, and the book is an easy reference tool. It also goes into a lot of detail about why changes went into effect and what you as a mailing professional can do to take advantage of them—and what to expect in the future.

What are some other important topics explored in the book?

A lot of attention is given to design and data concerns and other issues you should think about before preparing a mailing. There is also a new barcode called the Intelligent Mail barcode that encodes automation, tracking, and other mailstream information about the piece, such as routing codes, serial numbers, and more within the barcode itself. The book also provides invaluable insight about how to take advantage of discounts available for mailers through work sharing, postal-friendly layouts, and other methods.

What can you tell us about the overall layout of this book regarding how it addresses the issues and provides solutions?

It is divided into four sections plus appendix materials so that you can easily locate exactly what you are interested in: preproduction, production, postproduction, or planning. You can simply go directly to that section for the information you need. The chapters are concise and focused on specific topics so you get just the knowledge you need. Forms and checklists in the appendices give practical tools to use in the workplace.

How does the book compare to similar titles?

This book is really one-of-a-kind as far as being geared toward printers looking to expand their mailing services; it is truly geared toward our industry specifically. Also, all of the case studies in the book are from actual printers’ experiences, so you can learn from the successes and failures of others like you.


This handbook will make it easier to navigate the complex waters of direct mail. It provides a comprehensive look at the current mailing environment, including much-needed information on the new regulations set by the USPS, in a well-organized format. Full of direct mail tips and procedures, Direct Mail Pal 2012 is an essential if you are even considering venturing into the direct mail business.

Ordering is available online , by phone at 800-910-4283 Ext. 770 (U.S.) or 412-259-1770 (outside U.S.), by fax at 412-741-2311, or by mail to Printing Industries of America, Attn: Member Central, 200 Deer Run Road, Sewickley, PA 15143. Direct Mail Pal 2012 sells for only $20.00 ($30.00 non-member). Find all of our great publications from Printing Industries Press Online Store.

If you would like more information on mailing, check out this Mailing Study information from Printing Industries of America’s Center for Technology and Research, which will soon be published in a report and TAGA paper. Also, find out about the Proposed 2% Discount from the USPS for Summer 2012.