The USPS said something about a permit needed for Mass Mailing (I assume). I called their 1-800-ASK-USPS number and always got someone who doesn't know anything at all. All they know is how much a first-class stamp is now -- 37 cents.
Does anyone know the going rate for Mass Mailing? Is there a permit needed? Is there a requirement about the size of material (envelope or brochure?) sent?
the rates you would pay all depends on how you send it. i used to work in direct mail (junk mail :p ) and companies used us to print the names and addresses on the pieces that were mailed. we also massaged the address list to get the best postal discount possible. at the time (5 years ago or so), the cheapest you could get was 13 cents a piece.
the whole deal is to put it in the "carrier route" for them, so they have less work to do. basically, what that means is, it'll be in the order that the mail man walks/drives when delivering mail. this process is all automated (the software can cost up to $100,000 or more) so as it's printed, it's packaged as it would be delivered. this works best for localized lists. a nationwide list wouldn't get as much of a discount i think.
there are direct mailing companies that you can go to that will do this for you. you just give them your list and the "stock" that they'll be printing on. whether or not you need a permit for that, i don't know, but these sales people probably would know better.
the only companies i can think of right now are:
Team Services and Banta. both are located in the chicagoland area in case you're interested.