re: USPS Media Mail service to be discontinued?
Lordy, ignorant postal clerks are the worst. Don't get me wrong, some are lovely, but there seem to be many that just make stuff up as they go. I have heard all kinds of "theories" from USPS clerks that have later been flatly rejected by people who work for the postal service but actually know what's going on. I've never heard the "don't put on a return address" nonsense; in fact, I've had a clerk take me to task when I didn't put down my name as well as my street address as a return address.
I know that the USPS has had problems with people using media mail for things that aren't media - like ebay auctions for clothes, say - and so have stepped up inspections. I'm sure they are losing a certain amount of money with people who do that, because the cost savings for heavy items is significant.
There definitely seems to be a push to priority mail services and flat-rate choices; on the USPS site when you look up the cost of postage, rates that are lower than priority aren't even visible unless you click some hard-to-find button. And I've never had a clerk suggest media mail to me - they have to go through the usual spiel about priority and faster-than-priority choices as a rule, I would guess.
When you think about it, there's no particular reason why media mail (i.e. book rate) exists for us average folks; there's already a library rate that libraries and schools can use if they want. Why can books be sent so much cheaper than anything else? I wouldn't be surprised if the USPS would like to eliminate media mail, but I haven't heard any specific plans for it. I will say that if they eliminate media mail, I will understand but I will have to stop book swapping - it'd just be too expensive. It'd be like when the USPS got rid of international surface mail and so many of the US Bookmoochers stopped mailing overseas entirely.