Innovation That Matters

Send an email to post a letter

Work & Lifestyle

Using Postful, anyone with access to email can send a real, paper letter to anyone with a postal address. How it works? Send an email to, with the mailing address in the subject line, write the letter in the email’s message body, click send, and the email is printed and posted. Postful does not add branding or advertising. Users can set up special email addresses for frequent contacts. Rather than typing out Aunt Kate’s postal address every time, a user can create, specifying her address, and Postful takes care of the rest. Combine that with Jott, the voice to text service we featured last week, and anyone can send a printed letter by ‘jotting’ a voice message. Not limited to text, letters can also include photos—view a sample letter (PDF). Pricing is simple: USD 0.99 for the first page and USD 0.25 for each additional page, which includes full-colour printing, paper, envelope and first-class postage. Currently only available in the United States, but international mailing is one of the most requested features from beta users, so Postful is hard at work to start offering that as soon as possible. The first step will be to offer international airmail service from their printers in the US, which is planned for June 2007, and the next step will be to set up international print stations. The latter would speed up delivery and lower costs; Postful’s target is to reach a single flat fee for a letter sent anywhere in the world. Postful currently sends out any email entering the system within 24 hours, excluding weekends. The start-up aims to decrease turnaround time over the next months, aiming for any email received by 3 PM PST to go out as post the same day. Meanwhile, Australian L-Mail offers a very similar service, including international printing stations which are already up and running. L-Mail users can also send Braille and audio letters (the company turns an email into a recorded talking letter, which is posted by CD or cassette tape), but only prints in black and white. Sounds like something national postal companies should hurry up and partner with. And how about niche services, for small businesses, wedding planners, children’s birthday parties, etc? As it’s becoming harder for email to get through to readers, snail mail could see a revival. Hey, we might even start sending out Springwise newsletters to your postal address 😉 Spotted by: Bill McMahon



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