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USPS 2016 Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps, 43rd Edition  
 

 
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Valued Member
United States
18 Posts
Posted 01/09/2017   1:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add BwanaBob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
I just ordered this edition since I hadn't bought one in about 5 years. I am sorely disappointed. Here are my complaints:

1) Horrible images. They claim they were all recently digitally scanned. The resolution is much worse than the previous volumes where the colors were rich and the sizes of the images were larger.

1a) Terribly inconsistent image coloring. On pages where say multiple carmine colored stamps are printed, many of them are totally different colors. I can't blame the printers since some of the stamps on the same page are correct. My suspicion is the producers of this book farmed out image scanning to several interns who all did things differently. There's no way any copy editor who reviewed these
images was a stamp collector. No way. There are some stamps I didn't even recognize because the colors were so off.

2) Incomplete images. All Federal Duck images should have been included. In older editions this was so. Lazy.

3) They persist in their habit of sticking the latest years issues up front as if they are somehow special compared to the rest of the stamps. Why? Also, since they have some deal with Amos Publishing, and have access to Scott numbering there is no excuse for not having those numbers for the 2016 issues. If it's a lead time issue, then delay releasing the book for a month.

4) Needless fluff sections on philately basics. Leave that stuff on the website. Each page wasted there could have been used for more detailed listings and images of Duck stamps, postal stationary releases, etc.

I will be slow to replace this book in the coming years unless I hear of some of these issues being addressed.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
3721 Posts
Posted 01/09/2017   1:46 pm  Show Profile Check Petert4522's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
BwanaBob, you really should address this to the US Postal Service!

Peter
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United States
1657 Posts
Posted 01/09/2017   7:54 pm  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Needless fluff sections on philately basics. Leave that stuff on the website.

I don't have a copy of the book to see how much space they devote to such "fluff", but keep in mind what is fluff to you might be new and interesting information to someone else. There are undoubtedly many beginners or casual collectors who buy that book, and for some of them it might be their introduction to collecting. Keep in mind the USPS is writing it for the "intelligent but uninformed reader", so to speak, and not for advanced collectors. Even Scott devotes a fair amount of pages to what could be considered "basics" in the into to their catalogues.
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Edited by TheArtfulHinger - 01/09/2017 7:56 pm
Valued Member
85 Posts
Posted 01/10/2017   10:04 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add soccerfan to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've seen their books at hobby shops and the library. I suspect that USPS has new employees designing their guides. The images and resolutions are probably a cheaper way for them to update and design the book. Beckett creates magazines and books for sports cards; the magazines are image free of cards due to spacing issues. The company always lists their cards from oldest to newest. More companies are switching their resources from printed material to online viewing. Keep in mind that printed materials are only guides for a certain period in time (like a balance sheet). I use annual Scott books for checklists. If I need to distinguish images (size, color, etc.) I visit a source (Amos, eBay) online.
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Valued Member
United States
7 Posts
Posted 01/10/2017   11:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add svensson to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
They are entertaining beginner guides that I have had no qualms about in the past, going back to USPS's "Stamps and Stories" in the 1970s. Sorry to hear that quality seems to be deteriorating...as you say, the advertising jazz implies that the image quality was improved in this edition! They are really not designed for someone looking to keep up on day by day price fluctuations (Becketts analogy...), they have been a quality product. imho
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Valued Member
United States
18 Posts
Posted 01/10/2017   4:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BwanaBob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
svensson - Yes, their advertising hype implied much better imagery. I have many of the older volumes that were beautiful consistent and also glossy. Now the new book is not glossy but that's not why many of the images are terrible. They could not have been consistently sourced. I'm steamed that this book was not first given to someone who was a collector for vetting. I also forgot to mention that in their zeal to protect revenue, they put slashes through every value on every image - including the word forever.
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Valued Member
United States
18 Posts
Posted 01/10/2017   5:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BwanaBob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Oh, and I vented to the USPS in an email. Curious to hear their response. I will share it if it has any merit.
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