Friday, 13 March 2015

Print Magazines just need to clear their throats

We think the Print Is(n't) Dead ping pong rhetoric is becoming a little stale. All magazines being grouped together in the same boat, sinking or otherwise, is both unfair and inaccurate. It takes quite a lot to make us at Newsstand pen a blog post - but this topic ticks all the right boxes and we strongly feel the need to assuage our twitching eyelid.

There are magazines and then there are magazines.

We are going to be a little crude here and group them in to two distinctive areas. There are mainstream, high print run, advert driven magazines and then there are independent, low print run, copy sales driven publications.

It would be foolish and occasionally unfair to write that one group was of higher quality than the other, but they certainly work from different business models which influence strongly the final product that you would end up with on your coffee table/dustbin.

The mainstream segment will always look to it's circulation numbers to fuel its advertising revenue, whereas the independent sector will generally look to producing a product that the customer will pay a sustainable price for. With extreme generalisation, we can say that the mainstream magazines are having a tough time - resorting to cheaper and cheaper subscription deals in order to keep those circulation numbers up; similarly we can say that the independents are experiencing a boom with new launches and increasing sales for those producing the "quality with love" products that typify the sector.

Readers can get the "advert driven, flippantly written" stuff all over the internet - it's free and plentiful. What readers still want - and are happy to pay well for - is the quality publication that the editor lives and breathes and that which feels wonderful in your hands. The fact that it is hard to come by and not shoved in front of us on every corner helps, too.

Yes there are huge challenges for the Indie sector, from availability to cost management - at Newsstand we provide them with a better online sales and fulfilment service than even the mainstream titles have access to - but they are still growing in numbers, increasing sales and bringing us back to a time when print was a joy to behold (that was a real time, right?)

We also know there are also many mainstream titles that are of exceptionally high quality and that we have generalised horribly in this post, but it was means to highlight an important differentiation...that is, when discussing the future success of print magazines please do refer to the baby and the bathwater.

The irony we suppose, is that it's the thought of becoming a successful, mainstream magazine that drives the indie sector on to produce such wonderful products - after all, few independent publishers can be found sequinned up and buying tables at the latest industry function. 

So print magazines aren't dying or booming, its just that the paying public is wising up. It's called evolution.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Yes, yes, it is a gift that lasts all year.

It has been ages since we went back to basics on our marketing here at Newsstand (quiet at the back, please). Our concentration has been focused squarely at the development of our service to both customers and publishers over the last year or so. So now, stepping back, it might be worth jotting down the benefits of a good old magazine subscription as a gift.

Firstly, we would all love an antidote to the "opened before lunch and broken by tea" gift situation. It's wasteful and although it provides a rush of excitement, its a tenable situation neither for the recipient nor the giver....

A magazine subscription, on the other hand, is effectively indestructible and will last as long as you want it at Newsstand you can choose subscription lengths from a single copy right up to one or two years' worth. They'll be reminded of your generosity long after pine needles are found in turkey sandwiches, not once, but 2, 5, 8 or 12 times!

Also, the sheer breadth of choice we have (the largest range online), means that you can broaden someone's horizons with a magazine that they hadn't even known existed, on a topic that you know they enjoy. Overseas magazines are especially useful for this, but we also have a large range of high quality independent publications - very often with free post within the UK.

Yes, we do gift cards, but where we really excel is with our Gift Credit offer. This can be viewed as a simple voucher for use at Newsstand. However, when you consider it against a subscription to one magazine for a year, it comes into its own.

The recipient can use the credit against any one of 3,500 magazines from around the world - a copy of this and a short subscription to that - it is totally up to them. They can even receive alerts for every new issue of their favourites and decide which ones to have delivered and which ones to leave.

For you, it is a simple process and we'll send the voucher on, either to you or the lucky person.

Heartfelt sales pitch over, all of us at Newsstand wish customers and everyone else a wonderful Christmas and/or holiday season.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Come back Derek....

A bead of sweat ran halfway down his forehead, pausing slightly at the last, great rift ordaining his twitching frown. Derek had been like this for days, the last days of October; the days he both looked forward to and hated the most. He’d considered another vocation, of course he had. The dehydration, above all else, plagued his thoughts, his home life. He thought of his wife and child, long since left on their annual Autumn get away (from Derek).

That was Derek last year, folks.

He was in charge of Christmas email sending here at Newsstand – it was his decision when it should be sent to potentially hundreds of thousands of Newsstand customers. For many years, he was THE man. Finger hovering over the send button for days on end – never missing that golden moment where weather, half terms, consumer optimism and an intangible whiff of Christmas forethought collided to create that wondrous retailer’s dream, the moment when the reader actually, vaguely appreciates a sales email.

This year, as Derek started displaying symptoms even early in October, we sent him packing…. he’s currently on a trip to see the Northern lights and Santa Claus in Scandinavia with his family. We told him it was far too early, but he wouldn’t listen.

Retailers up and down the country have their own fingers twitching away as we speak – in fact, this post was inspired (yes, OK, we hear you) by a magazine retailer who’s just caved in and sent theirs. We think they’ve bolted too soon, but we can appreciate the stressful times and, quite frankly, if they don’t have a man like Derek in their ranks, well, these things can happen.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Stop Press...

Attitude Magazine uses Newsstand’s unique online single copy sales service to create its largest UK retailer within 6 months, by adding one button to its website.

Attitude, the leading Gay Lifestyle magazine, is using Newsstand to enable its own website visitors to purchase single copies of the magazine for same day despatch, worldwide. Sales through the outlet have increased tenfold as a result, with the ability for customers to make impulse purchases online, cited as a key driver of sales.

Newsstand has been pioneering the single sales online service to its customers for over 4 years. Linking into the Newsstand service directly, Attitude’s website has allowed customers to buy copies online easily, without having to subscribe.

“We are always looking at new ways to get Attitude in the hands of our loyal readers and as easily as possible. The service with Newsstand allows copies to be sent overnight to readers in the UK for the same cover price and with just a couple of clicks from our website” Mike Buckley, Managing Director, Attitude Media Ltd.

Customers need only click through from an image of the current issue on the publisher’s website and the payment, fulfilment and CRM is all taken care of by Newsstand, with a white label microsite (see example here) option also available.

“We don’t believe that online purchases should be restricted to subscriptions and the customer response supports this. The added advantage for Attitude was that it was so easy to introduce”, chortled a Newsstand spokesperson.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

An alternative & flexible way to subscribe

We'd like to let you know about our free Cover Alert service available on over 3,500 magazines. It'll remind you when new issues of your favourite titles hit the shops, as well as inform you of their cover and contents.

You can then decide to buy through us, anywhere else or of course, not at all.

We love this service - by using it wisely, you're saying to the publisher, "impress me with each and every issue you produce and if you do, I'll buy a copy". A great alternative to a subscription, which may unfortunately relieve the editor of some necessary pressure to perform!

Plus, the service allows you to pick and choose issues throughout the year, should you not get around to reading all of them - especially good for foreign language learning. There's nothing worse than a pile of unread magazines in plastic to remind us of our throwaway society.

Keeping up with the latest covers couldn't be simpler. Just visit the page for any title on our site and click on the 'Email me Cover Updates' button underneath the image. We'll not use your email for anything else and you can stop the alerts at any time.

Never miss your favourite magazines - wherever you choose to buy them from.


Monday, 11 November 2013

Chew on this

We are feeling feisty. No flannel today folks - just straight talking, season sorting facts.

You need presents, you don't like crowds. You detest throwaway gifts, you know 3,000 people all with different interests (and some are, quite frankly, a little strange independent).

You like the fact a subscription can last all year, but you don't want to tie anyone in. You want to select a few different magazines, shorter subscriptions or maybe single copies of top quality fashion publications. You love the great value publisher direct offers - but you don't want to have to wait two months for delivery.

You need to choose when your magazines are sent so they arrive on time, maybe you want to send abroad and you definitely need to add a pretty gift card with your own message. You might also want to email it as well, in case you've left it late.

You know exactly what you want to buy, or you have no idea at all - a magazine voucher would be great. You know real print junkies and you would like to send them a huge stack of quality magazines.

They might have a tablet computer and a fancy phone, but like us, you know they'd be secretly pleased to sit down and read something on paper....they just might not tell you out loud. Plus, it'll be good for them.

Welcome to Newsstand and surprise your friends and relatives with the extraordinary range of print magazines and service you could be giving them this Christmas. We'd be happy to have the chance to deliver a wonderfully personal gift.

Friday, 14 June 2013

The value of magazines

So, we've been busy over the last few months, for a change.... We are working hard to drive prices down so that you - Dear reader, - can buy magazines by the copy for cover price or so. We envisage a magazine world where you can get timely info on all issues as they are published, to decide which ones you want and when. We aren't fans of overly cheap produce in return for habit and data that is so prevalent a mantra in this day and age. We think that just drives down quality in the longer term. Print magazines need to work hard at the moment - show the consumer what they have to offer - the very last tonic on the table is the one that calls for the cheap and cheerful. That's just our opinion - we live and die by them, of course.

That sounds simple enough, but I have to confess it's not as easy as it should be. We don't deal in data here at Newsstand. We try and provide an unbeatable service that is worth paying for. No hidden costs, no renewal, just a magazine and a price. We rely, to a certain extent, on the customer deciding what they want and then paying a reasonable price for it. I would have to say that in this train of thought we are not alone, as the tide of quality over quantity gathers momentum in the magazine world. Occasionally, though, it needs reinforcing, if only via a blog that few, in the grand scheme of things, will set eyes upon. Folk, quite understandably, yearn for economy in all areas - its just that economy often leads to quality issues, as sure as night follows day.

Anyway, to get to the point, things are moving and moving fast. There is now a, an army of online magazine retailers selling quality magazines that are being launched in extraordinary numbers across Europe and beyond. Many of them are simply labours of love; as far from the money making machines of the mainstream as you could encounter. The truth is, good (I mean really good) magazines don't make really good profits - it's not unlike good cars, or vegetables or even ideas.

You see, it is not a question of price. It is a question of value. The value of reading, owning or just knowing about a product that someone has put time, effort and love into - far outweighs a quick read amongst the ads. You don't even have to own it...if it wasn't out there somewhere things would look a lot more dismal. What we are trying to say is - support those publishers that are out there dedicating hours to a may not always like what they produce but it has a quality, a quality that would be sorely missed if there was no sign of it.