“Declining sales and stale material led the U.S. Postal Service to reconsider their signature publication – The Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps, a 416-page reference guide to stamps. After 41 years, the publication had become tired and uninspired.”
The Print Edition
The Stamp Services division of the Postal Service recognized the need to better serve an already dwindling audience of stamp collectors. The Postal Service solicited recommendations and bids via FedBizOpps for a rebirth of the 42nd edition of the publication. An initial 20+ candidates were whittled down to six, among them Fortune 500 publishing and PR companies.
Powers Media proposed the intelligent reuse of the Guide to U.S. Stamps content across multiple platforms – print, ebook and mobile
Content on multiple platforms
Powers Media proposed the intelligent reuse of the Guide to U.S. Stamps content across multiple platforms – print, ebook and mobile. A complete redesign of the print edition makes the book once again fresh and appealing. Repurposing the content for use on laptops, tablets and phones increases its accessibility to existing audiences. This effort further brings stamps onto a platform where young people are comfortable – a critical new audience for stamp collecting.
Our presentation offered clear evidence of the viability of stamps in a digital arena. We took actual content from the 41st Edition of the Guide and placed it on screens of tablets and phones. We illustrated the important role that U.S. stamp apps and ebooks can play in education. We offered a litany of new product concepts that ebooks and apps bring to the Stamp Services division of the USPS.
Our contract award letter from the Postal Service stated: “Award of the contract was made after responsibility determination, technical and price evaluation, (technical factors being more important than price), to the Offeror who provides the best overall value to the Postal Service”.
As digital records for the Guide content were very few, we extracted the thousands of images and hundreds of thousands of data elements from the PDFs that produced the 41st edition of the Guide.
Poor reproduction quality compelled us to amass all new, high-resolution art for more than 3,000 assets. Extensive research efforts entailed combing through the archives of the Smithsonian and other historical resources to complete our collection.These assets were ingested into the DAM in multiple file formats and at varying resolutions. We then moved into the data validation stage, which unearthed hundreds of errors and inconsistencies across the metadata. We researched and scoured every data set using a proprietary review methodology that ensured an accurate data yield.
This repository preserves and maintains the assets and data for output into the various product formats; print, ebook and app. It further opens the door to new product concepts that will generate new revenue.
The design and layout of the print book was of high importance – it had not changed in 14 years. We interviewed various philatelists for input on what makes a stamp catalog of value. Our solutions incorporated these concerns. Formerly somber black backgrounds are bright, new high-resolution stamp art offers accuracy in color and detail, and an unattractive and flimsy comb spine changed to a strong and attractive concealed wire binding.
Finally, to ensure that the new Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps was successful, we sent advance teams to stamp shows in different regions of the country.
Sales of the book soared. In four months time, three times as many books have sold as did in the entire year prior.