A Modest Proposal to Sell More Magazines

magazines1“It is a truth widely acknowledged,” writes John Harrington in his e-newsletter, “that the magazine retail distribution channel is bordering on dysfunctional, yet, at the same time, it is commonly accepted that the dysfunction is not the primary or even secondary cause of seven-plus years of double digit unit sales declines.”

Most publishers, Harrington continues, “still maintains that retail/newsstand remains important to their business model, particularly for introducing new titles and in establishing and maintaining their brands in the public’s consciousness.”

If that’s the case, why aren’t more publishers working to influence consumers to go to the newsstand and buy more magazines?

“I have in the past suggested to a few publishers that they send an e-mail to the subscriber list of one of their publications informing them that the new issue of one of their other titles in now available at the nearest newsstand display, be it a supermarket, drugstore, bookstore, convenience store, etc.  My suggestion has not, regrettably, at least to me, been met with receptive ears,” he laments.

“What if one of the industry trade associations, be it MPA the Association of Magazine Media, the International Periodical Distributors Association (IPDA), the Periodical and Book Association of America (PBAA) or all them working together were to develop an e-mail message that said something like this?” he asks.

“We know you like magazines because you subscribe to one or more of them.  Did you know that there are literally thousands of magazines, from general interest ones to enthusiast titles covering every subject you can imagine, including your favorite topics.  A great way to sample them and discover the one or ones you’ll become a fan of is to go by the nearest store where they’re sold, be it the local supermarket, drugstore, bookstore, etc.  We’re sure you will find something that appeals to you.  Give it a try.”

I have to admit, when I read this I thought …”you mean they aren’t already doing this?” It  seems like a basic Marketing 101 move. You have a customer; tell them what else you’ve got and ask them to go check it out.

Sure seems like an inexpensive and relatively risk-free move from here. Thanks for today’s moment of clarity, John!