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Going The Distance

Mail order entrepreneurs take a licking . . .but keep on ticking.

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This story appears in the February 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Welcome to the winter of mail order's discontent. With paper prices and postal rates increasing simultaneously, most industry insiders are bracing themselves for the worst blow the mail order industry has weathered in recent memory.

"There have been periodic postal increases and cycles of paper price increases, but the convergence of both has created somewhat of a disaster," says Arnold Fishman, owner and president of Marketing Logistics, a Highland Park, Illinois-based direct-mail and mail order consulting and publishing firm. Specifically, mail order companies are dealing with a rise in paper costs totaling nearly 30 percent in two years. There's also a postage increase of approximately 9 percent expected in 1997-adding to the burden of the 10.3 percent hike last January.

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