Book shipment

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Envelope for a book shipment within Germany, with visible holes for sample clips , 2013

The book delivery is a service of various postal service providers at reduced postage . By offering a discount compared to postal parcels and small parcels , the aim of sending books as a cultural asset is to promote education for the population. The mailing of books is not or was not synonymous with a printed matter that no longer exists in the earlier forms. From July 1, 1952, in adaptation to the provisions of the Universal Postal Union for the international postal service, book shipments were initially approved as printed matter at a reduced fee in domestic German postal traffic.


The dispatch of printed matter is closely related to the dispatch of bound and unbound books.

Since October 25, 1871, it has been possible to send book slips for printed matter in the internal German postal service. They were used to order or offer books, magazines, pictures and music.

On January 1, 1882, mail orders for book deliveries were admitted as a new type of mail and canceled again on June 1, 1896.

In adaptation to the provisions of the international postal service, from July 1, 1952 onwards, the following will be admitted as "printed matter at a reduced fee" in domestic German postal traffic:

  • Newspapers and magazines that are published in Germany and sent directly by publishers or newspaper sales outlets (newspaper dealers, etc.).
  • Books, booklets, sheet music and maps which, apart from what is printed on the cover and protective sheets, contain no announcements or promotions.

The maximum weight of the shipment was 1 kg. The mailings are to be marked with the note “Printed matter at reduced fee”. ...

Printed matter at a reduced fee 50 g 100 g 250 g 500 g 1000 g
July 1, 1952 7 Pfg. 10 Pfg. 15 Pfg. 25 Pfg. 50 Pfg.
March 1, 1963 10 Pfg. 15 Pfg. 20 Pfg. 25 Pfg. 50 Pfg.
  • March 1, 1963: The “book shipment” corresponds to the previous “printed matter at reduced fee”. Book slips can also be sent as a book shipment.
Book shipment 50 g 100 g 250 g 500 g 1000 g 2000 g
August 1, 1964 10 Pfg. 15 Pfg. 20 Pfg. 25 Pfg. 50 Pfg. -
April 1, 1966 10 Pfg. 20 Pfg. 30 Pfg. 40 Pfg. 70 Pfg. -
1st September 1971 20 Pfg. 30 Pfg. 40 Pfg. 50 Pfg. 70 Pfg. -
July 1, 1972 20 Pfg. 30 Pfg. 40 Pfg. 60 Pfg. 100 Pfg. -
July 1, 1974 30 Pfg. 30 Pfg. 40 Pfg. 60 Pfg. 110 Pfg. -
1st January 1979 40 Pfg. 40 Pfg. 50 Pfg. 80 Pfg. 140 Pfg. -
July 1, 1982 50 Pfg. 50 Pfg. 70 Pfg. 100 Pfg. 180 Pfg. -
April 1, 1989 60 Pfg. 60 Pfg. 80 Pfg. 120 Pfg. 200 Pfg. 300 Pfg.

All prices were set by the postal fee regulations (PostGebO) and were exempt from sales tax according to the UStG.

  • March 1, 1978: The inner packaging of a book shipment may be closed, provided it is a manufacturer's packaging.
  • April 1, 1989: extended to book shipments up to 2,000 g
Book shipment Standard (≤20g) Compact (≤50g) Large (≤500g) Maxi (≤1000g)
April 1, 1993 80 Pfg. 110 Pfg. 150 Pfg. 250 Pfg.
January 1, 2001 41 ct 56 ct 77 ct 128 ct
January 1, 2005 45 ct 60 ct 85 ct 140 ct
January 1, 2013 - - 100 ct 165 ct
1st July 2018 - - 120 ct 170 ct
January 1, 2020 - - 190 ct 220 ct
  • April 1, 1993: The mailing type book consignments and merchandise consignments are also offered as standard, compact, large and maxi in alignment with the new letter formats - a standard book consignment with a maximum of 20 g is unlikely to occur because the corresponding books are not in regular trade gives. As of April 1, 1993, however, only the Standard product group will initially apply. Transition periods until March 31, 1994 apply to formats and dimensions outside the standard items. Book items, items for the blind, consignments of goods, mail and small parcels must be designated as such above the address
  • January 1, 2013: According to Deutsche Post, the products “ Standard” and “ Compact” books are discontinued. Alternatively, the respective (basic) letter products, e.g. B. the standard letter can be used. The book consignments Large (up to 500 g) and Maxi (up to 1,000 g) will remain, albeit at higher prices.
  • July 1, 2018: The prices have been increased.
  • January 1, 2020: With the price increase, the maximum height of the shipment was reduced from 15 to 5 cm.

All prices are final prices and are exempt from sales tax.

In dealings with other countries

Printed matter at a reduced fee in international traffic
Printed matter in international traffic in special bags

Universal Postal Treaty

At the Universal Postal Congress in Paris in 1947 , the maximum weight for printed matter was increased from 2 to 3 kg. The weight level up to 2 kg should continue to apply to printed matter, and up to 3 kg to books. This should give the postal administrations the opportunity to reduce the general foreign printed matter fees for books by up to 50%, the “printed matter at a reduced fee”. At the same time, the postal administrations should allow “printed matter in special bags” to be sent.

These possibilities were implemented in accordance with Article 48 § 3 of the Universal Postal Treaty of Brussels (1952) . The Deutsche Bundespost made use of this option for the first time in 1954, since the Fees Ordinance of 10 June 1954. The 1957 Universal Postal Congress in Ottawa increased the maximum weight of printed matter and books from 3 to 5 kg. The maximum weight for the - now mandatory - "printed matter in special bags" has been increased to 30 kg.

Federal Republic of Germany

From May 1, 1949, printed matter is admitted abroad. The fee reduction only extends to newspapers and magazines published in Germany that are sent directly by the publishers or their agents.

"Printed matter in special bags to the same recipient in the same destination" has been admitted in the Federal Republic, incoming and outgoing, since April 1, 1959. This form of dispatch spread rapidly, so that in 1969 around 2,500 tons of printed matter were dispatched in special bags.

The agreements of the Universal Postal Union passed by the Universal Postal Congress in Vienna (1964) result in the following important changes and innovations for the DBP's international postal service from January 1, 1966:

  • Printed matter at a reduced fee only applies to pure printed matter.
  • Printed matter in special bags to the same recipient in the same destination.

The entry into force of the new postal newspaper regulations (PostZtgO, on January 1, 1964) and the new postal regulations (valid since June 1, 1964) made it necessary to revise the provisions for printed matter abroad at a reduced fee.

  • Newspapers and magazines. Publishers and newspaper sales outlets are allowed to send newspapers and magazines abroad as printed matter at a reduced fee.
  • Books, brochures, sheet music and maps. Anyone can send these printed matter abroad as printed matter at a reduced fee.
  • Common provisions. Price lists, brochures, catalogs or other business printed matter may not be attached to the printed matter abroad for a reduced fee.

The printed matter at a reduced fee abroad must be labeled with the French name "Imprimé à taxe réduit" or the English name "Printed paper at special reduced rate" in conjunction with the German name "Drucksache zu reduced fee" or "Streifbandzeitung" or " Book shipment ”. Otherwise, printed matter at a reduced fee is subject to the general provisions for printed matter.

August 25, 1988. The eleventh ordinance amending the postal regulations changes the foreign fees for printed matter at reduced fees in the weight range between 500 and 2,000 g.

From July 1, 1991, it will no longer be possible to send printed matter to the new federal states at a reduced fee. The ordinances currently still applicable for this type of mail on the fees for post and telecommunications with the Deutsche Post of the GDR of June 4, 1976, last amended by the ordinance of March 22, 1991, will cease to apply at this point in time.

Shipping conditions in Germany

Approved printing units

The dispatch includes the following printing units:

  • Books
  • Booklets
  • brochures
  • Musical notes
  • Maps

The following printed works must be published in Germany and sent directly by the publishers or newspaper sales outlets (newspaper dealers, etc.):

Allowed side dishes

Only the following are allowed as side dishes:

  • Invoice (of the service)
  • Payment form
  • Reply envelope
  • Loan and / or book ticket

Advertising is only permitted on the cover and on two consecutive pages at the beginning and end of the work. These printed matter must have a cover or envelope and be held tightly together on one side.

Labeling and packaging

  • The consignment must be marked with the note book consignment or printed matter at a reduced fee above the address and be prepaid .
  • A non-destructive opening and reclosing of the envelope - e.g. B. by means of sample clips - must be possible, since printing works are not subject to the confidentiality of letters and can therefore be checked on a random basis.
  • Book items can be locked if at least 100 items of the same type, i.e. H. Items of the same format, the same weight class and the same sender are posted at the same time and the sender agrees to their opening for content checking. Sealed items must be marked above the address with the comment "Book consignment / fee checked".
  • The maximum weight of the shipment is 1 kg. Since April 1, 1993, book mailings have been offered in alignment with the new letter formats as standard, compact, large and maxi. Since January 1, 2013, there are only the large and maxi formats.

Shipping abroad

Up to December 31, 2018, books etc. were also allowed as goods for shipments abroad, they could be posted locked. By virtue of the terms and conditions, the customer automatically agreed to the possible opening. The label read: Press and Book International . In addition to shipping at the individual rate, shipping at the kilo rate was also possible.

Consequences of violations

If these conditions are not met, they will be returned or additional postage will be charged. Compliance with these requirements is checked on a random basis.

Comparable products in other countries

The United States Postal Service offers the Media Mail tariff, which can be used to send books and other media at a cheaper rate.

Related topics

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