American magazines – especially women’s magazines – are too cheap according to wholesalers who are threatening to cut back the number of magazines they handle unless they get a bigger cut.
Their main target are such publications as Family Circle, Quick and Simple, In Touch and Women’s World, all of which are priced at under $2.
Some distributors have cut the number of copies they distribute as much as 17 per cent. If it sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face, the distributors claim it is already having results.
Some publishers have already agreed to up the percentage they pay to distributors from 34 per cent to 48 per cent.
The number of low-cost magazines in the US has increased a lot in recent years. Today the number of magazines selling for less than $2 has increased from l5 to almost 20 per cent. Attributed largely to the arrival on the scene for example of Bauer Publishing’s In Touch and the celebrity weekly Life & Style who between them sell more than 2 million copies a week.
It’s even said that one reason Bauer abandoned, for the time being anyway, its plan to launch another woman’s magazine called Cocktail Weekly, which would have sold for less than $2.50 a copy, is that it couldn’t agree to a deal with the distributors.
All of this is having an effect on magazine cover prices. The US edition of OK for example has upped its cover price from $l.99 to $2.99.
No-one can make a profit on magazines that sell for less than $2.49 said John Harrington, publisher of a newsletter devoted to the wholesale trade.
What then is the viable price of a cheap magazine? At least $3 he suggests.