Direct Mail Services (Self-Mailer) Postal Reg’s change Jan. 5, 2013

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Direct Mail Services (Self-Mailer) Postal Reg’s change Jan. 5, 2013

What! More regulation changes at the Post Office? The United States Postal Service (USPS) says this change will mean less damage to your mail (and stop their sorting equipment from jamming). If you are going to be paying for direct mail as a method of marketing, you want to make sure the mail piece arrives in good shape! A good direct mail services provider should be able to provide you the information you’ll need. As such — here is what you need to know:

First, what the heck is a “self-mailer”: It’s a folded piece that is letter-sized, isn’t mailed in an envelope, and has no binding. If it has staples in the fold, it is a defined as a booklet, not a self-mailer, and booklets aren’t affected by these changes.

The official USPS document regarding these new regulations is lengthy and boring! Most of you only need to know the following:

  1. Final folds on the top will no longer be allowed.
  2. Self-mailers used to require just one tab on the top — now will need two.
  3. Quarter-fold self-mailers will need to be at least 70# book (or 28# bond) paper weight
  4. No tabs will be allowed on the bottom.


  • The final folded panel creates the non-address side of the mail piece by folding from bottom to top, or lead to trail edge, as shown in the following illustrations.

Check out the following graphic for more information and the difference between what was allowed then, and what are the regulations as of Jan 5, 2013. Be sure to forward this post to your designer and printer.

As you are working with your design – please send it over to us before you print. You can just email the artwork as a PDF and we’ll make sure it complies with all USPS regulations

Self-Mailer Changes: Effective Date January 5, 2013

Top and bottom are defined as when looking at the address panel; leading edge is to the right, trailing edge is to the left.


New: Effective January 5, 2013

1 tab on top allowed when final fold is on the bottom.

2 tabs required on top when final fold is on the bottom (or 1 on leading and 1 on trailing edge) if bi-fold, tri-fold, or quarter-fold under one ounce.

Maximum size: 6-1/8” x 11-1/2”

Maximum size: 6” x 10-1/2” *

Sheets that are bound by one staple not considered a booklet for tabbing purposes.

Sheets that are bound by one staple are considered a booklet for tabbing purposes.

If final fold is at the top, piece can be sealed with two tabs on the bottom.

Final fold no longer allowed at the top.

Remittance envelopes can be inserted anywhere in a quarter-fold self-mailer.

Remittance envelopes must be inserted in the first fold of a quarter-fold self-mailer.

1 sheet folded self-mailer: paper basis weight of at least 70# book (=28# bond)

Multiple sheet folded self-mailers: paper basis weight of at least 60# book (=24# bond), except for newsprint.

1 or more sheets, final fold on bottom:
≤ 1 oz: 70# book and 2-1 in. tabs top or sides
>1 oz: 80# book and 2-1 ¬Ω in tabs top or sides
1 or more sheets, quarter folded:
≤ 1 oz: 70# book and 2-1 in. tabs top or sides
>1 oz: 80# book and 3- 1 ¬Ω in. tabs sides
Newsprint, minimum 55# book:
≤ 1 oz: 2 tabs top or sides
>1 oz: 3 tabs sides

Tabs were allowed on the bottom in certain cases, e.g., final fold on the leading edge or to hold in an enclosure.

No tabs allowed on the bottom. Must use glue dot to hold in an insert if the bottom is open.

*Letter and postcard maximum sizes stay at 6-1/8’ x 11-1/2”

Of course there are always some self-mailer designs that are much too complex to cover in our blog post here…if your mail piece design is different than the ones in the table, Contact Us to discuss it. Or, if you dare, here‚Äôs the Postal Services reference PDF that covers all the changes!

As a leading provider of direct mail services in the Philadelphia area since 1980, we strive to bring marketers as much direct mail know-how as we can. As a gift to you, click the image below and you’ll be directed to a page where you can download our FREE postage rate guide. This is updated with rates current as of Jan 2012. Postage rates are going up at the end of this month, but fear not…if you download the current rate chart, you’ll get a new email in a few weeks with an updated rate chart for the changes in effect as of Jan. 27, 2013!