Retailers Do Not Want To Sell Magazines, Porn, Porn Mags

Add this to the woes facing the magazine industry: retailers are cutting back on the space they allocate to print products, and many are outright banning titles that show a little skin. Over the last three years, 18,000 North American retailers stopped carrying magazines, an 11.3% decline.

AdAge reports that single-copy magazine sales, which act as teasers to attract new subscribers, have been on a steady decline falling 5.6% in just the first half of 2010. And MagNet, a firm that tracks magazine sales, reports that the combination of the decline in stores that are willing to carry “men’s sophisticate” titles has hurt the rest of the industry, as wholesalers have fewer incentives to sell less profitable mainstream magazines.

“A lot of convenience stores no longer sell the ‘men’s sophisticates,'” said [Gil Brechtel, president-CEO of MagNet.]. “It’s really when they were popular or when they were selling men’s sophisticates, their volume was enough that wholesalers could go to them and make a profit. When you eliminate men’s sophisticates, probably 70% to 80% of their volume was removed and made everything less profitable for wholesalers.”

MagNet also reports that WalMart has been giving magazines less space and has been moving them to the back of the store. And Brechtel doesn’t see much reason for optimism: “When the economy improves we will see a steadying of single-copy sales,” he told AdAge. “I would think that there will probably be a continual decline, but perhaps not as quick as previously.”

Magazine Retailers Continue to Dwindle [AdAge]

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  1. agent 47 says:

    While we’re on the subject, it kind of bothers me how some retailers, like Target, refuse to sell gun magazines. I mean, really? Ok, maybe you don’t like guns, but still, sell the damn magazines! You sell toy guns and action figures with guns, but I can’t get Guns & Ammo magazine? Tres lame, man, tres lame.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      I was going to post how I agree with this, even though I don’t own a firearm, but I can’t get over the correlation between the subject and your display name…

      • agent 47 says:

        If that were the case, wouldn’t you feel compelled to agree with everything I say?? :: Lightning crashes::

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I think it makes more sense to sell gun magazines at businesses that sell guns and ammunition. Selling them at Target doesn’t really seem to be appealing to their customer base.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      I mean really! A store named ‘Target’ won’t sell gun mags? I’m getting a mixed message here.

    • NotEd says:

      Most Target’s have fairly small Magazine sections, so I’m really not surprised. I’m sure there ar emany other subjects they don’t stock magazines for either.
      Now if their magazine section was the size of the one in Borders or Barnes and Noble I would see your point, but right now I just have to assume that they wouldn’t get many people buying gun magazines, so why sell them?

    • HighontheHill says:

      Buy more guns and ammunition and less gun magazines, read these online, and prepare for the revolution.

    • ElBobulo says:

      And how about cigar magazines? same thing. Heaven forbid a magazine named “cigarettes and tobacco” – that’d be worse than any p o r n o!!!!

  2. Robofish says:

    There is thankfully a newscenter that is still nearby where I live. They have every conceivable magazine in existence there

  3. marc6065 says:

    Damn I did’t know I was “sophisticated” for “reading” playboy and maxim. Hell I am gonna up the quality of women that I hit on now that I am sophisticated!!!

  4. mbz32190 says:

    Well….we now have the Internet.

    But seriously, I didn’t think people still bought magazines. I work in a retail store and people love to read them while waiting in line or roaming around the store, but nobody actually seems to buy them.

    • jimmyhl says:

      Bingo! The internet is WAY cheaper and content-specific, etc. Mags are captive audiences:airplane passengers, medical patients, auto repair waiting rooms, etc.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I subscribe to a few magazines, but I don’t buy the individual issue. I still subscribe to magazines that are graphically intensive (Wired does great design, and I like Nat Geo’s work too), and since subscriptions are really cheap now, I can get each issue for $1 or less.

    • kennedar says:

      I like them for long drives. I get really car sick if I try to read, but the short articles in a typical Glamor or other trashy magazine don’t bother me, plus if I start to get sick I can easily put it down. Other than driving or sitting around an airport, I have not bought a magazine in years, but it still makes me mad that the new gas station by our house no longer carries a magazine section!

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I LOVE print magazines. I had a real jones for them and had to actually cut back on my subscriptions. Now I only get Glamour and Cosmopolitan. They go into the bathroom and every couple of months, I rip out articles I want to save and discard the rest.

    • Griking says:

      I’ll always read magazines while on the can

  5. The cake is a lie! says:

    Sure… They won’t sell “porn” magazines, but they’ll still sell Cosmo. That makes sense. How does a Playboy in a bag covering most of what is on the cover compare to a Cosmo with a woman in a bikini and “How to have the best screaming orgasam of your life” and “15 things to do in bed that keep him hard” emblazoned on the cover for everybody to see? They need to do something about the ‘soft core porn’ magazines that are out there if they are going to look serious about it. If not, then why pull any of them at all?

    • mbz32190 says:

      Some crazy christian group around here pretty much “forced” the local grocery stores to put blinders over the cosmo magazines. Although they may be doing this chain–wide at this point.

    • MarvinMar says:

      I think you just summed up ever cover of cosmo ever.
      Maybe they just change the picture on the front but the wording stays the same.

    • Michaela says:

      I think calling Cosmo “soft core porn” is an exaggeration. You get a short story, some horrible sex tips, and some cosmetic/fashion advice. Maybe I grew up in a less conservative family, but that isn’t really any sort of porn.

      My town does cover (and sometimes package) the issues though.

  6. dragonfire81 says:

    My major problem is that single issue magazines are so expensive now. I refuse to pay $7-10 for one issue of a magazine that’s 50% ads. Every time I see a magazine rack there are a few that catch my eye, but the price always drives me away.

    I remember when single issue mags were routinely less than $5. I bought a lot more of them back then. And I’m talking about mid to late 1990s here.

    • Mike says:

      +1

    • Bativac says:

      No kidding! The last magazine I bought was a Norman Rockwell commemorative issue of Saturday Evening Post. It was over ten bucks! For a magazine!

      Not to mention comic books – the last time I saw any comic books, their cover prices were approaching four and five bucks. Back when I read them (not that long ago!) they were a buck or two…

    • Michaela says:

      That’s why you get a subscription if you really like the magazine. Store prices are a little too high, but issue prices aren’t that bad if you like the mag enough to commit to a year of it.

    • Taed says:

      Due to inflation, $5 in 1996 is about $7 today.

  7. Buckus says:

    This isn’t surprising. The printed magazine is merely a conveyence device for the content. With most content – and readers – moving to the Internets, the need for the printed magazine declines.

  8. Mike says:

    I hate magazine places that carry Maxim and FHM but not porn. I haven’t bought either, but I have more respect for porn magazines. Maxim and FHM exploit women, but act like it’s cool for the mainstream to do it. At least porn acknowledges what it is, and makes an attempt to prevent kids from buying it. Any 15 year old boy can pick up a Maxim and learn how to be a little misogynist who will never know how to meet the emotional needs of a woman in 15 minutes.

    (Now give me a second to get down from this soap box. )

    • kcvaliant says:

      Yet women centric mags like redbook and cosmo which show more skin and sex are fine?

      About ten years ago my supervisor tried to write me up for a maxim. Told her to call hr if she wanted me to sign the writeup. So we flew in hr from two states away. All three of us went to her office to talk about the issue. Thankfully, she had about a half dozen of her lady mags on the table talking about sex and pleasing your men.

      Hr was pissed he got brought out for this issue. I am assuming she got written up herself, because she quit two weeks later. HR apologized to me and left.

      Sorry about douplepost if happens. The site hates my sprint phone.

      • Jfielder says:

        Well duh, don’t you know if sex is discussed in a woman’s magazine then it’s tasteful, but if it’s discussed in a men’s magazine then it’s pure smut?! Silly to think they’d be treated equally!

    • kcvaliant says:

      Yet women centric mags like redbook and cosmo which show more skin and sex are fine?

      About ten years ago my supervisor tried to write me up for a maxim. Told her to call hr if she wanted me to sign the writeup. So we flew in hr from two states away. All three of us went to her office to talk about the issue. Thankfully, she had about a half dozen of her lady mags on the table talking about sex and pleasing your men.

      Hr was pissed he got brought out for this issue. I am assuming she got written up herself, because she quit two weeks later. HR apologized to me and left.

      Sorry about douplepost if happens. The site hates my sprint phone.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Maxim is rather infantile, but the Hef lifestyle is a lot closer to misogyny. And I feel sorry for a 15-year-old who gets Maxim hoping to see anything interesting.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      Those poor brainless women being exploited by men…deluded into thinking it was their own idea to pose for lots of money. They could be waitressing and on their feet 10 hours a day and make way less money! Don’t they care about themselves enough to do that? And to think they get pleasure out of being admired! How sick is that? They could be doing dishes instead! Then they wouldn’t be exploited. /s

    • Firevine says:

      I didn’t need to read Maxim to learn how to be a misogynist. I just needed to get to know more women.

  9. katyggls says:

    This doesn’t surprise me. Especially since the cost of subscriptions to magazines has actually dropped. It’s pretty silly to pay $5 or $6 for a single copy of a magazine when for thrice that you can get an entire year delivered to your door. Of course the magazine, like all other print media is dying a slow death.

  10. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    In this neck of the woods, the Walmart covers up anything that might easily offend the easily offended.

    And as for the “men’s sophisticate” titles, they can’t be found anywhere here. Of course, thats probably because the internet has better stuff, and not because the men are so pure they would never read such things. We are no. 1 in the nation for online porn subscriptions: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705288350/Utah-No-1-in-online-porn-subscriptions-report-says.html
    And damned proud of it!

    • Mike says:

      TIL Mormons are kinky with their porn subscriptions.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        I shall resist.. must . not. do.it

      • The cake is a lie! says:

        nah… mormons don’t pay for their porn. They just surf redtube and fleshbot so the wife and family doesn’t find out about it. Apparently you can’t walk on water if you pay for porn. Besides, paying for porn is so 1997. I can’t believe people still do that.

  11. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’ll flip through a magazine at the newsstand then go home to find the full article online. I won’t buy a +$6 magazine.

  12. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    …And why can’t I ever find a copy of “Grape Soda Monthly” at the store?

  13. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I don’t get it. People won’t shell out $6 for a magazine but will put their credit card into some sleazy website? Don’t a lot of these websites overcharge and refuse to cancel subscriptions?

    • corkdork says:

      That’s assuming they’re paying for it, but neglects that there’s plenty to be found for free.

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        Well, there goes my plan for starting a porn mag. Luckily, I’ve only invested a few hundred dollars so far. I know you can get plenty of random, mostly low quality stuff from all over, but are there any decent, dedicated, FREE, porn sites? I haven’t seen any.

        • nybiker says:

          “decent, dedicated, … porn sites”
          Not exactly a phrase one thinks of when thinking of porn sites.
          But I guess it depends on what one considers are the requirements for a site (any type of site) to be decent or dedicated. Free is easy to figure out.
          And I suspect it’s along the lines of ‘I do not know the exact definition of decent or dedicated, but I will know it when I see it.’

          • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

            People find pr0n on Flickr but I wouldn’t say Flickr is dedicated to porn. Fly-by-night scam outfits are common and often lure in victims with ‘free’ content. I do not know of any Playboy type sites that are free. Those too young to buy it but have hormones driving them will even go so far as to watch scrambled satellite channels for hours for the occasional garbled glimpse. That’s not the market I’m targeting. The men of age and with the money to buy, pay. Porn was a major part of the development of the internet just as PC games drove computer development. The widespread use of video conferencing is probably the major competition to print mags.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Paying for porn is so last decade.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Well-known porn production companies aren’t going to be any more sleezy than your credit card company itself.

  14. Sajanas says:

    So many of these magazines are just middle men between the real authorities and the public.

    For example, there are a lot of more technical science journals out there (Science, Nature, Cell being the big ones) that I enjoy reading that you’d never find at the store, yet are pretty useful to have subscriptions to, and I’d imagine other professions have similar magazines. The science and nature sections of magazine counters are all watered down versions of these guys. Why should I bother with Scientific American or Discover when they’re just reading Science or Nature and rewriting those articles? Now that the internet makes it easier to get the undiluted product (and the technical journals often offer summaries that are easier to read than a physics article), I can’t imagine they’ll be able to stick around much longer. I can imagine the same thing happening with economics, politics, and other such subjects.

  15. Home_Economist says:

    Funny… retailers want to make it harder and harder to find “adult materials” yet getting a gun seems to be pretty easy and gun magazines even easier. I am making the case that guns and gun materials are way more pornographic than “adult materials.”

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Not Guns, Nor gun magazines. How about “slasher” and gory “horror” films?

      My ex would cover my 3 year old’s eyes when a steamy scene was on a video… but watched all the way through gore and guts movies WITH THE KID IN THE ROOM and not even think about it??? WTF?

    • evnmorlo says:

      If a machine and technical magazines are porn, everything is. In which case “clean” or “politically correct” magazines become the worst sort of porn, since they perversely and obsessively deny sex and life.

    • ccooney says:

      I don’t know about you, but I have both guns and porn, and only the porn gives me an erection.

  16. yessongs says:

    What is this thing called a magazine? Don’t we all get our porn from the internet along with news and entertainment?

  17. rndmnmbr says:

    1) Magazines are low-margin items at the best of times. They consume considerable shelf space that could be dedicated to a higher-margin item – even the candy display makes more money.

    2) Men’s and adult magazine are high-loss items. Adults tend to have a subscription. Kids tend to steal them. 2a) they’re relatively easy to steal.

    3) What do you do about the people who read the magazine and then put it back on the shelf? I work at a newspaper, and this is a huge problem in this industry as well. If the newspaper is easily available to the purchaser, then about a third of the potential customers read the paper in the store and put it back. If the store tries to institute some kind of control over the situation, readership drops because legitimate customers are being inconvenienced. Outdoor racks are going away, because they’re expensive, easy to vandalize, and stores don’t like them since they don’t get a cut of the profits. I’m sure the same is true for magazines as well.

    4) Content is no longer considered valuable. Why pay for what you can get off the internet for free? There are a few magazines that aren’t so readily replaceable, but they tend to serve niche audiences anyway, when the magazine rack needs a broader appeal to make money.

  18. Wolfbird says:

    Screw print. I have the internet, which is full of FREE bad sex tips and softcore porn. Sooo not paying for that ina magazine anymore.

  19. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Pish, let them. The ones I buy I have a subscription to. It’s usually cheaper than newsstand prices. And my Cosmo cover won’t offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities. Except perhaps my mailman.

  20. gman863 says:

    Subscribing to a magazine on line is more enviornmentally friendly and often less expensive.

    There’s this one magazine I subscribe to online that keeps bugging me to double my annual cost by also subscribing to their print edition – even though the same articles and content are actually better online since the product ratings are constantly updated.

    Yeah, I said it. Product Ratings. I judge this Consumer Reports marketing tactic Unacceptable.

  21. jedifarfy says:

    I wish my bookstore would. Nothing good comes from newsstand. Most of what receive ends up being read and shoved all over the store. Mothers take one of each gossip rag to the kids department, men sit in the chairs and read about cars they’ll never own. And then they throw then on the floor like they’re trash. I hate magazines.

  22. FenrirIII says:

    Why would a man subject himself to public ridicule buying a magazine in person when he can get it all free online? It’s a dying medium and it hasn’t kept up with the march of time and progress.