Wholesalers are not dying… take two

July 30, 2007

The responses to my blog on the wholesalers (click here to read) have been overwhelming to say the least. From the comments on the blog site, to the “off the record” and “phone calls” responds and to the comments in the publications of two of my colleagues in this business Bob Sacks and John Harrington. The underlying theme is there is a major need to talk about the problem and to address it in a completely different way as it is been addressed today. First I will share with you what John wrote and what Bob’s readers commented and then I will ask you to respond on the record.

John in this week’s issue of The New Single Copy commented on the Mediaweek article and on mine. Regarding my blog he wrote

“A more impassioned approach appeared on the website of Samir Husni, the University of Mississippi journalism professor, best known for his work on new titles. The title of his article, “Wholesalers are not dying…they are committing suicide,” gives a hint about his position. Husni references some of the information previously reported in The New Single Copy, including a letter from Kable Media Services president Mike Duloc. Among his recommendations is “If wholesalers do not want to commit suicide they need to force other publishers to lower the single copy prices of other magazines to be equal or close to that of [their] subscription prices.” By the end of the week, seven responses, five from wholesalers and two from publishers, were posted on Husni’s website, which is http://www.mrmagazine.wordpress.com. For the record, the Harrington Associates study, The Impact of Low Cover Price Magazines, was based on wholesaler cost data supplied by members of Magazine Information Network (MagNet). It was reported on originally in the 12/11/06 issue of The New Single Copy. It is available in electronic format on request to info@nscopy.com.

As for the Bosacks electronic newsletter he published the following responses last night:
BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Wholesalers…

Re: Wholesalers are not Dying . . . they are Committing Suicide
It is about time that someone finally put in print what some people have been saying for a long time. Thank You!!!!
It is time that the w/s community realize that they are a delivery service for the magazine industry and that they do a semi good job at that, however when they start analyzing the delivery system this is where they are failing.
Good for you Bo keep up the great job and maybe someone at the w/s level will start listening and doing what you are suggesting.
(Submitted by a Senior Wholesaler)

Re: Wholesalers are not Dying . . . they are Committing Suicide
This is by far the GREATEST article I have read over the past 12 years describing the utter futility of the newsstand single copy industry. The nail was hit directly on the head. Unfortunately the people who should be reading this, will probably dismiss it as pure fluff. What a shame, they still have there heads up their be-hinds.
(Submitted by a new and Unknown Reader)

Re: Wholesalers are not Dying . . . they are Committing Suicide
One of these days Wal-Mart is going to get their way and the publishers will deal with them direct and cut out these folks. Last time I heard, “Wally-World”, as we call them here, account for over 25% of newsstand sales, why not deal direct? Save a bunch of money regarding distribution costs and probably knock off 33% of the cover price to the customer, what a concept.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: Wholesalers are not Dying . . . they are Committing Suicide
Bo, thanks for the best, most interesting news delivery system in our business. I never know what you will send out each day, but it is always of interest to me and my career. You have improved my ability to understand this industry ten-fold.
As to the newsstand situation it is part and parcel of the bigger picture of an old and formerly honorable business gone to the dogs. Everyone scrambling to endue another year or two, as the industry changes and the management at best treads water..
(Submitted by an Unknown Reader)

I welcome all responses on this important matter and I invite you to post all your comments “on the record.” I understand the reason some of you only respond “off the record,” but we cannot continue to hide our head in the sand and hope for the problems to go away. We are heading toward what can be the most difficult time in single copy sales in this country, and I do not believe we can solve our problems off the record. The time is now to speak out, not for the sake of any one publisher or wholesaler or retailer, but for the sake of the entire magazine industry. I hope you will consider this as a plea to get involved.

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