The US Postal Service used to mail books internationally for $1 a pound, making it possible for small groups, such as a classroom of students, to donate and ship books around the world. Last spring rates rose to $43.45 for the first 11 pounds, and $3.95 for each additional pound. These new rates will make it hard to help projects such as small school libraries in places where books are inaccessible.

The postal service explains that the M-bags, as they were known, had to be stopped because they simply weren’t paying for themselves. They explain that while people wishing to ship abroad were paying these lower prices, often routing schedules would push these packeges on to airplanes, instead of boats, where the prices would have been higher. Sadly, lots of small initiatives to send books and other educational material abroad have been shut down entierly, or are being drastically reduced.

Domestic rates for mailing books have also gone up.

You can read a couple articles about these rate increases, including stories of individuals who have been affected by it; from The Oregonian, and The Chicago Tribune.