Just last month, Time Inc. shuttered newsstand-dependent “All You” and reported that retail sales of its magazines have dropped 12 per cent in just a year.
Sure, publishers’ growing presence on the web and social media helps them increase awareness of their magazines. But those media are made for telling, not showing: Rarely do they lead to people seeing an actual magazine, whether print or digital.
If you look hard enough, though, you can find promising tactics to stifle that giant sucking sound and to find new magazine readers — and buyers:
The direct approach: Anecdotal reports indicate that an increasing number of publishers — especially in the growing regional genre — are bypassing the traditional newsstand system and selling directly to retailers.
Joe Berger, a newsstand consultant and blogger, confirms that he’s seeing more publishers going direct to retail. For example, one of the big dollar-store chains is selling “hundreds of thousands” of magazine and bookazine copies not distributed via the newsstand system, he says.
His blog recently noted that the web sites of startup niche publications like Kinfolk and The Great Discontent have stockist pages featuring some stores like Anthropologie that aren’t even typical magazine retailers. (No, my New York friends, “stockist” is not Charlie the Tuna’s employer; it’s a retailer that stocks a particular product.)
One store owner who carries many direct-to-retail magazines told Dead Tree Edition, “I am grateful they exist as they do really well on our newsstand.”
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