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Glenn Halbrooks

Magazine Industry Threatened by Newsstand Sales Drop and Post Office Cutbacks

By February 8, 2013

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Magazine publishers are getting a double dip of bad news. First is a report that newsstand sales at some major magazines dropped dramatically in the last half of 2012. That was followed by the announcement that the U.S. Postal Service plans to stop Saturday mail delivery later this year.

A photo of people reading magazines
A new report shows a notable drop in magazine sales on newsstands.
Photo © Indeed / Getty Images
The drop in newsstand sales included well-known magazines Time and People. They helped knock Time, Inc. newsstand magazine sales down 11%.

Newsstand sales are considered a good barometer of the magazine industry, because they eliminate the free copies that may be delivered to businesses and the cut-rate subscription deals that have become the norm. Time, Inc. isn't alone in seeing this drop.

One of the 5 key ways to keep the magazine industry alive is to cut costs at your print publication. Time is doing just that by eliminating nearly 500 jobs.

Changes at the U.S. Postal Service that will eliminate Saturday delivery as early as August will also bring headaches to magazine publishers. They will have to recalculate when their latest editions will arrive in mailboxes.

That's especially true for weekly publications. A reader may lose interest in a news magazine that doesn't arrive until Monday of the following week.

The long struggles at Newsweek led to the end of its print editions on December 31, 2012 to become an Internet-only publication. One of the media trends to watch in 2013 is whether other publications will follow, especially given these latest industry developments.

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