How to Send a Letter Without Going to the Post Office Using NotesToFriends

Every day I dread waking up to check my inbox, which is usually littered with spam, to-do lists, and other dreaded emails. Part of my routine while working from home is checking our PO box late in the morning, which is where I can usually find paychecks, product samples, and other, much more joyful items. Checking the “snail mail” box has actually been an exciting part of my day ever since I was graduating from high school and eagerly anticipating acceptance letters to colleges. Email has never carried the same amount of excitement since.

I am not alone, though the Internet has drastically made an impact on how many people are using the US Postal Service. In late 2011, the postal vice president David Williams said the postal service must respond to the reality that people are turning more to the Internet for email communications and bill payment. As a result, the Postal Service must find ways to cut $3 billion in services in 2012.

How to Send a Letter Without Going to the Post Office Using NotesToFriendsHowever, services such as NotesToFriends offer those who still love to send a “real” letter a way to bring joy to their friends and families’ real inboxes, while helping keep the Postal Service afloat. NotesToFriends, which launched on January 12, 2012 after a similar service, Snailmailr, went offline, allows email users the ability to send snail mail without having to use their lunch hour to go to the post office to purchase postage and securely send the mail. Users simply type in the address where the letter will be sent, along with the return address, and then type (or copy and paste in) a letter. Users can even attach a PDF, DOC, PPT, RTF, TXT, PNG, or JPEG file. SendToFriends will automatically add its logo to the letter, but for an extra 10 cents, you can have it removed.

The total cost of sending a letter with SendToFriends is $1.49, which includes the cost of printing and mailing a two-page letter. (Each page is an additional $0.20, and if you have more than 10 pages, it will cost just an additional $1 plus $0.20 per extra page.) Considering the cost of postage, paper, and ink, as well as the the time it would take you to drive to the post office, this is actually a very appealing price tag. NotesToFriends says that “There is a nostalgia associated with receiving a good ol’ fashioned letter in the mail; not a bill, not a solicitation, but a bona fide piece of communication from a family member, friend, client, or colleague. The excitement is undeniable,” but because of social networks and email, communications have become “dehumanized.” The service understands that “it just feels so good to revive, open up, and read a personalized message from someone you truly care about,” and with SendToFriends, email users can easily create this type of experience for their loved ones — without ever waiting for a letter to print, find an envelope, and then leave their home or office to go the to the post office to purchase postage and send the letter.

If you know your friends and family love receiving snail mail — and dread their inbox as much as I do — would you use a service like NotesToFriends to send them a real letter? Is the cost for the convenience worth it? Share your thoughts about this new service in the comments.

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  • TechMali

    Nope, I prefer writing out my own letters. What if they like your handwriting? What if you draw pictures for your friend that scanning would ruin the quality of? It takes more effort to write out a letter yourself, but it’s honestly worth it. I drew a rose on the last letter I wrote to my boyfriend (handwritten, not typed out), and spritzed it with my perfume and sent it to him in the mail. You can’t spritz your perfume on a letter with this service. : D I prefer the effort it takes, and honestly, it’s a relaxing process to write and send a letter.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like Snailmailr is still in business.

  • http://twitter.com/berickt Berick

    Yes, changes in communication technology are changing the Post Service budget. But nearly all of the budget troubles are due to accounting, not tech. Congress decided that the Service had to pre-fund pensions and benefits many, many years ahead of the previous schedule (and far ahead of the schedule most private businesses use). So suddenly the PO had to come up with billions in a hurry.

  • Anonymous

    I love the cartoon that accompanies this article.

  • Karl Entner

    Sometimes I prefer typing or writing them out and sending them to the post office. And it also depends on the person as well if they can receive emails or or and has a computer at home. two people that I know personally like getting my snail mails from over here cause they don’t have computers at their place. and its enjoyable for both them and me. 

  • Alan

    Great article.  I’ve used Notes To Friends in the past to send resumes via the mail.  I don’t have a printer or time to go to the post office, so it was great to be able to send resumes and cover letters easily.  You just never know how many emails HR people get, so this was a cool service to help differentiate me.

  • Beachdawg2004

    By 2016 England is schedule to end the use of checks. All transactions will be electronic. Once this happens the US will follow suit in short order. Thus about 80% of the post office business will be gone. So unless they find new revenue streams the PO will be gone.
    In an earlier post Someone placed the PO problems on the funding of the pention program again if they don’t find new sources of revenue the anchor that is the bloted pension plan will kill the PO.
    My bet is the Post Office will be gone by 2020.

  • Scott McMahan

    I agree with your sentiment here, the art of handwriting is rapidly vanishing in the world today.  But I don’t see anything $19.99, a good scanner and a high quality laser printer  can’t make happen.  You could scan your own work or choose text-to-script if you had bad handwriting.  You could even have a professional calligrapher put down your words for and additional charge.  You would have to choose one of the “popular scents available today,” and don’t forget a ruby red SWAK on the back of the envelope.  

  • Scott McMahan

    This would be a good service for the PO to be in.  They could print out utility bills, receipts for direct deposits, even checks and official documents in the recipient’s local Post Office, cutting out the whole pick up and sorting and cross country travel that a regular letter goes through.