Though I still subscribe to two newspapers, the Journal Sentinel and The New York Times, I know that the media business is changing. I didn't worry too much about our newspaper sales, one of the few areas where we were substantially down from the Downer Avenue Schwartz. On top of everything else, it's one of the worst margin things we sell. Well, I guess if we are considered to sell our mailing services, they would be worse (but that's for another post).
That said, we've noticed that we are selling out of a lot of papers quickly since we've opened. We were able to get our Sunday New York Times draw up, but now that traffic is a bit higher, we are frequently out of the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee***, the Wall Street Journal*, and the Financial Times. Saturday is a particular issue for FT, because it's obituary day. Yes, we have two customers who hold the Saturday issue. That was leaving us sold out of the paper even before we opened.
It turns out it's not hard to fix the draw of the Journal Sentinel, but for the other distributed papers, it's tougher as there circulation only gets a fixed number as well. I've heard that the New York Times can be particularly tight--that's why in the last two weeks, our draw was cut to zero, even though we do consistently sell the paper.
So here's the thing, we finally got the right person. And kind Eric in the circulation department increased our draw for just about everything we get. In the last two weeks, our newspaper sales have increased 50%. And I'm hoping that as long as we keep selling them, they'll keep sending them.**
And when everyone has a reader but has to pay for all content, will that help us or hurt us? I guess that depends on whether they are still printing papers. At that point, are they still printing books? Oops, time to go.
*I can never remember which "the" is part of the title, and which is not. My coworker Allegra at Warner book was adament that I remember that it's "The New York Times," but the "Los Angeles Times."
**So this is a subtle request to you to buy them from us, particularly if you tried in the past and we were sold out.
***Sales on this are tricky. We periodically sell all our copies to someone who is featured in the paper.
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