Thursday, January 17, 2019

USPS Postage Rate Increase January 2019

Each year the post office raises rates.   TrepStar raises rates accordingly.  The biggest change this year is in the small domestic first class package category.  If you're a TrepStar publisher that ships single quantity products to individual customers, this change affects you most.   Any package (parcel) under 16oz (which is just about all packages we ship) are affected.  Packages over 12oz but under 16 get an even higher price raise.

First Class Package Service:
  • Overall rates for First Class Package Service will increase by 11.9%.
  • Zone-based pricing is being added to First Class Package Service in 2019.
  • Any package going across the country (Zone 8) is seeing a significant rate increase going up from $0.43 (Zone 8 – 1 ounce = $3.09) to $1.43 (Zone 8 – 13 ounces = $5.53)
  • 13 ounce packages in particular are rising across all zones, increasing $0.84 (Zone 1/2 = $4.94) to $1.43 (Zone 8 = $5.53)
  • Heavier items weighing 15 ounces to 15.999 ounces are seeing a smaller increase, going from no increase at all (Zone 1/2 = $4.94) to $0.59 (Zone 8 = $5.53)

What this means:

Zone pricing is new.  In the past, the price was the same whether you shipped a package to your next door neighbor, or from New York to LA.   This year, the zone is based on the distance between where the package is sent and the destination.  We're located in south eastern Minnesota (the Twin Cities).  This is centrally located between almost all points in the USA and Canada.   The good news is we will rarely have packages in the most costly zone 8 which keeps your costs as low as possible.

Over the years, the 1 pound media rate (which we can use for CD/DVD/USB media) was always the lowest cost (by far) for anything over one pound.  In those past years, first class parcels always cost less than the 1 pound media rate.  However, this year, anything over 8oz costs about the same or less than the 1 pound media rate (as you reach 12oz and up).  Thus, if you choose our 'Standard' shipping method and your package is over 8oz, it will ship at the lower cost, but slower media rate.  If you always choose our 'Standard + Tracking' shipping method, this means it will not ship at the media rate but will always be first class parcel service which is faster than media mail.   In both cases, tracking is provided.  Always choose 'Standard' if you want the lowest cost rates.  This is new for 2019. 

Summary:

Ultimately, it will cost you about 20c more to ship a single quantity CD/DVD/USB in a CD or DVD style case.  These ship at the 4oz weight.    The average increase for a 4oz first class parcel is about 25c to 30c.   We are not charging as much as our costs have risen, but once we see how the average rates look, perhaps we can lower rates or at least not increase them to 30c.

Monday, December 3, 2018

TrepStar Tracking Link Email Order Confirmation

Customer Email Notifications:

When you order from TrepStar, two 'Customer Email Notifications' are sent IF you have the setting turned on within your TrepStar Dashboard Account Settings. 

The first email is sent when the product is ordered. This email can be configured.  Login to the TrepStar dashboard and click the link that looks like: Customer will receive Order Notification Email - Click here to configure.   

There is a 2nd Customer Order Notification:  It is sent later, when postage is printed.  It has tracking information.  Postage is printed after the order is submitted depending on several factors*.  TrepStar does not have tracking information until that time. This is the reason there are two notifications.

The 2nd notification is important if you want TrepStar to automatically give your customer tracking information.   Otherwise, you'll have to login to TrepStar, click Recent Orders, and find the tracking information for each order if your customer requests it.

The 2nd notification is NOT customizable at this time.  We use 3rd party software that we can not configure on a per order basis.  The following examples show what this 2nd notification looks like.  You may test this yourself by ordering your product using your email on the order form.

There is no way to configure TrepStar settings such that just the first email is sent, but not the second, or just the second, but not the first... Both are either ON, or OFF.

* Tracking information only becomes available when postage prints which occurs after the order is placed.  Postage prints after the product is ordered based on delays you may set within your Dashboard 'Account' settings.  You, "the publisher", and your customer may modify the address before it's printed (a great feature).  Finally, there are cases when your order is on hold.   We don't send the notification until after the order is paid, and postage printed (at some time later).  

International Example:


Heike  Dradel:

'4 Magic Words Special Edition' (and any other products ordered) will be in the mail on or before 12/05/2018 via U.S. Postal Service First-Class International, Flats.

It will be shipped to the following address:

Heike  Droste
Refflingser Strasse 187, D-58340 Iserlohn GERMANY

The package's First-Class Mail International Customs ID is UM636906111US

To check the delivery status of your package at any time please visit:
or the U.S. Postal Service's web-site:

Domestic Example:

John Doe:


'ABC Software Suite' (and any other products ordered) will be in the mail on or before 12/05/2018 via U.S. Postal Service First-Class, Package.

It will be shipped to the following address:

John Doe Jr
34310 Lanfranco St.
Los Angeles, CA 90063-2952

The package's USPS Tracking ID is 42090063940011020088190718

To check the delivery status of your package at any time please visit:
or the U.S. Postal Service's web-site:


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Createspace DVD/CD Production is Shutting Down. Moving Accounts to Amazon Media on Demand

It looks as if Createspace is closing down.  Amazon seems to be moving all parts of that business to Amazon Media on Demand.

However, if you used Createspace to order non retail lower cost "wholesale" copies of your CD or DVDs to your address or drop ship them to your other suppliers, it looks like you will not be able to do that with Amazon Media on Demand.

Amazon Media on Demand will let you sell your titles at retail prices, but if you need to order one or many copies to any other address at cost, you can't do that anymore.  This feature of Createspace was useful when you needed extra copies of your product at fairly low prices.  

TrepStar.com CD/DVD/USB on-demand fulfillment service has received several inquiries about this.  Several Createspace customers are moving their CD/DVD titles to TrepStar since our prices are quite low compared to Createspace and TrepStar does not limit how you order your product.   You can still sell your titles on Amazon Media on Demand, but if you need extra copies, or want to sell your titles outside of Amazon, create duplicate projects on TrepStar.com so you can order them when you like (at much lower cost).

TrepStar.com also offers USB on demand since many computers no longer even have CD/DVD drives.  If your CD or DVD is often used on your customers' computer, consider offering a USB title.

KEY: createspace alternative, createspace substitute

Friday, August 31, 2018

Why are my cd track names not showing up in windows media player or iTunes


When you master your audio cd, some track title and other CDTEXT (cd text) data can be burned to the physical audio cd.   IF you mail us this CD for duplication, we copy that CD Text.

However, not all software or hardware will read or display that CD Text.  For example, the CD Text may get displayed in car CD players or home CD player (if they have a display).  You don't have full control over what is shown (sometimes titles are truncated, or in lower case etc.)

Most computer software that reads your audio CD will compare it to an online database.  It compares parts of a few tracks to identify that CD.  There may be a lot more  information about that audio CD than can be stored in CD Text, and many times, the actual CD Text burned onto the disc is ignored and not displayed even if it's encoded on the physical disc. 

Windows Media player, and iTunes normally use lookup databases and often will not even display the CD Text even for discs that it can not find in the database.   It does appear that VLC media player will read and display the CD Text.

There is a very good article that describes all of this here  https://ballmedia.com/why-are-my-cd-track-names-not-showing-up-in-window-media-player-or-itunes/

You should consider submitting your Audio CD to the online databases. Many different media players use different databases – Itunes uses Gracenote. Windows Media Player uses AllMusic.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Create free artwork on Canva.com

Canva.com is a great resource for creating the artwork packaging for TrepStar.com CD/DVD or USB product packages.   CD cases, DVD cases, or USB logo and EcoMailer packaging.

Click HERE to watch the video: Create FREE artwork for TrepSTAR.com using Canva.com

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

TrepStar API

The TrepStar HTTP gateway accepts data from your software as a get or post request (a webhook).   We have always had a way to submit orders via our HTTP gateway API.

We now have a way to check order status for an order that you've submitted.

Click here: https://www.trepstar.com/http-gateway-api.asp then scroll down to the getOrderStatusByInvoice section

Summary:

 
Retrieve order status from a previously submitted order. 

Your software will initiate an http get or post request (a webhook) to a TrepStar HTTP Gateway URL (https://www.trepstar.com/custdataXML.asp). The response will be in XML format. 

The getOrderStatusByInvoice function will retrieve the status of a previously placed order. The status will contain delivery status, and a shipping tracking id if applicable. Each http call to the service results in a single XML response. 

Input: Invoice used when creating the order (the invoice you specified when ordering). 

output: XML Response 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

VLC Media player

If any of your customers are having trouble playing your DVDs or videos, we suggest you have them download and try  VLC Media player.

Sometimes, if you authored your DVD incorrectly, it's possible people will have trouble playing it.  It's best to try VLC media player in these cases to verify the contents of the disc.

Go HERE: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/

Download and install.  Only download from videolan.org

When using VLC, Choose the playback - Title- Title 1.  This should play the video.



Keywords: video, playback, dvd not working, testing, compatibility.




TrepStar.com cdDVDfulfillment FAQ Help and Search

FAQ Help & Search
We produce your CD/DVD/USB Flash drive at order time.
These "On Demand", "Just in Time", "one off", "short run", CDs or DVDs or USB thumb drive products will be mailed directly to your customers (normally the next business day), in any quantity, and shipped to anywhere in the world with a USPS address.