Readers are finding outlets for single magazine copies fewer and farther between in North America, according to a story in Advertising Age. Quoting data from the Magazine Information Network, the story says that 18,000 retail outlets for magazines disappeared in North America between December 2007 and now -- a decline of 11.3%.
Although subscriptions comprise the vast majority of most magazines' circulation, newsstand sales are crucial for the impulse purchases that can lead to subscription commitments.
And single-copy sales have been experiencing a long swoon, falling 5.6% in the first half of 2010 from the first half a year earlier, 9.1% in the second half of 2009, 12.4% in the previous six months and 11.1% and 6.3% in the halves before that, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Part of the reason is that many convenience stores no longer sell "men's sophisticates" (trans. "skin mags). As a result, these very profitable titles have had a major impact on wholesalers' profitability.Another reason is that big box stores such as Walmart have been driving smaller outlets and local drug stores out of business, even as some specialty stores such as Home Depot and Linens 'n Things have started stocking a limited range of related titles.
In Canada, larger cities still have a lot of magazine stores like Great Canadian News and Indigo Books & Music. But specialty neighbourhood magazine stores have been dropping away (Duthie's and the Magpie Magazine Gallery in Vancouver, This Ain't the Rosedale Library and Pages in Toronto, Halifax's Frog Hollow Books.)
Often the only place to buy a magazine in many cities and towns are the racks in the Shoppers Drug Mart chain, but a lot of the traditional corner newsstands/cigar stores have disappeared. It's not unusual in a huge shopping mall, there will be only one or two outlets for magazines and perhaps only one that carries many Canadian titles.