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HQ W967939

April 21, 2006



TARIFF NO.: 4901.99.0093

Robert Doyle, Consultant
Affirmex Customs and Trade Services, (ACTS), Inc. 450 Sainte-Helene
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H2Y 2L2

RE: Classification of Printed Books; NY L86607 affirmed

Dear Mr. Doyle:

This is in reply to your request submitted on August 30, 2005, on behalf of Transcontinental Printing GP (Transcontinental Gangne) Stores, Inc., seeking reconsideration of the statistical suffixes applied to certain printed books described in two rulings previously issued by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), HQ 089388, dated July 12, 1991, and NY L86607, dated August 12, 2005. The merchandise at issue is a printed book measuring 5 x 8 inches.

Your letter was forwarded to this office for our response. Our office did not receive a sample of the merchandise.


The book at issue is entitled, “Hide This Italian Book” and is a 94 page paperback measuring 5” x 8.” The publishing company is Berlitz.


Is the subject merchandise classifiable in subheading 4901.99.0075, HTSUSA, which provides for “Printed books, brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter, whether or not in single sheets: Other: Other: Other: Other: Rack size paperbound books” or under subheading 4901.99.0093, HTSUSA, as " Printed books, brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter, whether or not in single sheets: Other: Other: Other: Other: Other: Containing 49 or more pages each (excluding covers)”?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.

When interpreting and implementing the HTSUS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, while neither legally binding nor dispositive, provide a guiding commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Neither the HTS nor the ENs offer any definition of “rack size paperbound books.” Trade sources indicate that the Amercan mass market paperback, referred to as “rack size,” is approximately 6¾ inches --7 inches by 4 or 4¼ inches. See www.bookdist.com; www.alwdb.com; www.pw.org; www.sff.net/peope/dlylemacdonald/publishing.htm; and www.sizes.com/tools/books.htm. In addition, trade sources indicate that the mass market paperbacks are intended for non-bookstore outlets such as news stand, grocery stores, etc. They are often distributed in the same way as magazines and newspapers.

Trade sources state, further, that there are two basic kinds of paperbacks, one of which is market, the small “rack size book”- approximately 7 by 4 ½ inches, that which “easily fits in the back pocket of a pair of jeans” and the other which is the trade paperback which is usually a larger or oversized softcover book. The subject merchandise, which measures 5 by 8 inches is clearly larger than the industry definition of a rack size or mass market book. It would be very difficult to imagine that the book at issue would fit into the back pocket of a pair of jeans as would a “rack size book” as contemplated by the trade source. The distribution outlet in this case is not determinative as it may be sold at either a bookstore or possibly in a newstand at an airport.

Accordingly NY L86607 is affirmed; the 5x 8 inch paperback book entitled “Hide this Italian Book” is properly classified in subheading 4901.99.0093,HTSUSA. This determination is consistent with NY 895843, April 12, 1994, in which a 56 page booklet measuring 5 ½ x 8 ½ inch booklet is classified under 4901.99.0093, HTSUSA.

It has come to our attention that in HQ 089388, dated July 12, 1991, a paperbound book which measures approximately 5 ½ by 8 ½ inches was improperly classified under subheading 4901.99.0075, HTSUSA, the provision for rack size paperbound books. Accordingly, we are taking apropriate steps to modify HQ 089388 as set forth under section 625 (c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930, (19 U.S.C. § 1625 (c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of title VI ( Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act ( Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057).


NY L86607, dated August 12, 2005, is hereby affirmed. The 94 page paperback book entitled, “Hide This Italian Book,” measuring 5” x 8,” is properly classified under subheading 4901.99.0093, HTSUSA which provides for “Printed books, brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter, whether or not in single sheets: Other: Other: Other: Other: containing 49 or more pages each (excluding covers).” The general column one rate of duty is free.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.


Gail A. Hamill, Chief
Tariff Classification and Marking Branch

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