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A look at the world of magazine media - Issue #3

Spring is getting on and soon Summer will officially be here. We’re not in quarantine anymore and I wonder, how do you feel about that?
Newspaper unions and guilds have been around for a long time. But unionized magazine writers and editors? That feels like a strictly a 21st century innovation.
Likewise, big type point guns a blazing headlines have been with us for years, so click bait headlines are their next-gen offspring. That doesn’t make them any more palatable.
Please enjoy this week’s selection of articles and commentary. And as always, feel free to drop me a note and let me know your thoughts.

#1. From Retail Dive: Can Dollar stores retain the growth that they saw during the worst of the pandemic?
During the pandemic, single copy sales of magazines in almost every category save one, declined precipitously. Bu in the dollar store category, sales performed well as the stores were considered “essential businesses”. For the most part, magazines are not a big piece of the dollar store category, but the magazine industry does maintain a pretty robust presence the most recognizable of the dollar store chains, “Dollar General.”
As sales grow and the category shifts and attracts more consumers, will the magazine world be able to gain space in other chains? 
As pandemic wanes, dollar stores regain lost ground, grab new sales | Retail Dive
I’d add one additional thing: If any part of your business relies on either bricks and mortar or e-commerce, subscribe to Retail Dive. It’s newsletters are actually worth the time.
#2 Reuters reports: Retailers, newspapers and printing firms oppose postal rate hikes from the USPS
Just my opinion: The worst thing in the world happened to the US Post Office when certain congressional critters realized that they could score talking points and cable news appearances when they went after the US Post Office.
And here we are now, with the agency challenged, struggling and even more politicized than ever. 
I don’t blame retailers and media companies for objecting to this hike, I mean who wouldn’t object to a hike in services they rely on for their businesses? But I do wish that the USPS could get some decent management and could stop being forced to prepay so much of their pension funds.
Retailers, newspapers, printing firms oppose U.S. postal rate hikes | Reuters
#3. In which the staffers at The Atlantic unionize and management says, "Yeah, we're cool with that."
The Atlantic staffers announce intention to unionize - CNN
See, it doesn’t always have to be so adversarial.
#4. Twitter vs. The New Yorker vs. Click Bait vs. ... Oh, good lord, this whole thing just makes me tired...
If you’re a long time viewer of your local evening news and are under the presumption that for the past few decades or so, crime and corruption and all sorts of excess gawk and mopery are under way in your town…well, turn off the evening news and go to bed. Chances are that things aren’t that bad.
Media, even #MagazineMedia of the likes of the highly respectable New Yorker will post articles to the web and use click bait strategies to get people to click, engage, and then spread outrage all over their baby bibs.
The article referenced is a perfectly fine, if overly long and overly overwrought discussion by one law school professor about another law school professors Twitter thread about maybe cutting down on the emphasis of teaching the Dred Scott decision of 1857. 
I mean really, you’re writing about a Twitter thread (Hey, wait a minute!).
The New Yorker, however, decided to post it to that repository of rational discussion, Twitter, with the posting “A debate has erupted over whether the reviled Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford should be excised from law courses.”
Hey New Yorker headline writers! One Twitter thread from one law school professor is not a debate erupting. But thanks for roiling the waters.
Seriously folks, find some other way to get the news.
No link because of rule #1: Don't feed the trolls.
No link because of rule #1: Don't feed the trolls.
#5. This in from FIPP (A global trade group; Federation of the Periodical Press): Direct to Consumer - Some of the Best Brand Extensions from Vogue, The New Yorker, Atlas Obscura & More.
Direct-to-consumer: some of the best brand extensions from Vogue, The New Yorker, Atlas Obscura and more - FIPP
Here’s the thing: If you’re The New Yorker, Real Simple or some major publication from a major, well funded publishing house, you’d better have from D to C product to sell. There’s no excuse. “Brand Extensions” have been around for years and sometimes are something as minor as a page that sells t-shirts, or what the above article from Sadie Hale talks about.
Smaller #indie publishers have a wide variety of D to C pages on their websites and here are a few of my favorites that I’ve been known to linger over:
Check out the wide variety of available items at Milk Street Magazine. I’m seriously interested in thus Pistachio Spread. Aren’t you?
Veteran of the cannabis circulation wars, High Times has a very active and interesting online shop. C’mon, admit it, you know you are thinking about checking out the stash jars!
Stash Jars - Cannabis Storage Essentials | High Times Shop
My oldest client, Musky Hunter Magazine, used to maintain an actual bricks and mortar store before reverting to all online. But they have a wide variety of branded items to sell. Never been Musky Fishing? Well, bundle up, use a strong line, and don’t forget your super fine mesh gloves (to protect your fingers!).
Do you have a favorite magazine shop? Let me know.
See you all next week!
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Joe Berger

Marketing and circulation consultant for magazine publishers specializing in circulation management, retail distribution and audience development.

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