Whenever you read about book awards you hear they help boost sales. But what you might not know is just how much those sales need boosting. Two prestigious awards announced nominees this week; in the U.K. the Man Booker unveiled its short list and in the U.S. the National Book Awards announced its long lists. The awards news came on the heels of a survey from the Authors Guild about the sorry state of author incomes. So what happens to writers who never get anywhere near an awards ceremony? Washington Post critic Ron Charles reviews the kinds of books that get nominated for literary awards. These are not the blockbusters, the books written by the likes of Stephen King and Nora Roberts that make millions.
The U.S. Postal Service reported total revenue of $17.1 billion for the third quarter of 2018 (April 1, 2018 – June 30, 2018), an increase of $402 million, or 2.4 percent, compared to the same quarter last year.
First-Class Mail revenue declined by $134 million, or 2.2 percent, and Marketing Mail revenue increased by $63 million, or 1.6 percent. Total mail volume declined by a combined 397 million pieces, or 1.2 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. Shipping and Packages revenue increased by $475 million, or 10.2 percent, on volume growth of 102 million pieces, or 7.5 percent.
The net loss for the quarter totaled $1.5 billion, a decline in net loss of $651 million compared to the same period last year, the result of nonrecurring adjustments to retirement and retiree health benefit plans to account for revised actuarial assumptions. Excluding the effects of these adjustments, the net loss for the quarter increased by $507 million.
“The root cause of our financial instability is a flawed business model that is imposed by law. We encourage the Congress to engage in a broad public policy discussion and pass postal reform legislation,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “We support legislation under consideration in the current Congress which would provide immediate flexibility to the organization, allow the Postal Service to invest in our future and continue to provide the prompt, reliable, efficient and universal service the public expects.”
Brennan added that in addition to enactment of postal reform legislation, continued aggressive postal management action and regulatory changes, including a less rigid and more responsive pricing system, are required.
Total operating expenses were $18.5 billion for the quarter, a decline of $240 million, or 1.3 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. Inflationary pressures on salaries and benefits, as well as fuel and transportation costs were offset by the actuarial changes referred to above.
“After adjusting for actuarial changes related to retirement and retiree health benefit plans, the quarter results reflect ongoing trends. The secular declines in mail are somewhat offset by package growth, and labor productivity continues to improve,” said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett. “However, absent changes to our business model, net losses are expected to continue.”
details at: http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2018/pr18_062.htm