Field trip to bookstores makes students aware of competition and strategy for magazines

“What did your Magazine Management students learn from the trip to the bookstore?” I asked Linda Hallam the week after she and her students toured the magazine stands at Borders and Books-A-Million.

The importance of placement on the newsstand. Sometimes just the location of a magazine on the newsstand can make it hard to find. For example, placing kids’ magazines near women’s magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Glamour makes the magazine harder to find.

The tremendous competition in the magazine business. Linda said that even magazines with a circulation of one million has not be enough to save them because of declining ad revenue. The magazine may not be losing money but isn’t making enough money for the shareholders.

Linda said that students often think that they have a unique idea for a magazine, but a trip to a bookstore and really looking at all the magazines helps them realize that their ideas aren’t unique.

Above newsstand cover placement -- the magazines above the regular magazine display.

The magazines also pay for more visibility in newsstand display. For example, the above newsstand cover placement is when a several of a magazine’s covers are displayed over the magazine rack — providing a billboard effect for the magazine.

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