Newsstand has been more than a magazine website, being a glue for the publisher market and paving the way for the future: it’s a magazine community
The origins of a family business
A Hundred and twenty years ago, a. Kent family started hand-delivering newspapers in the Canterbury area. After their initial success, they decided to expand the business into London by buying the Victorian Era’s newspapers and bringing them back to Kent for sale. Since then, publishing and distribution has always been part of the company’s DNA.
Newsstand, as it is known today, was renamed in the late 90s and added online retail. Their mission was to offer and deliver a variety of printed titles and the company disrupted the market by introducing single magazine sales. Since then, they have been offering flexible and short subscriptions as well as a variety of fulfillment services and advice.
The offers of Newsstand
In the last decade, the sector witnessed a contraction in sales of printed magazines. With the advent of online sources, people started creating digital versions of magazines. The majority of publishers decided to go for the easiest route and created PDF copies of the printed versions. This was done without really taking into account the needs of digital readers and the opportunities in the medium, therefore digital versions of magazines, weren’t interactive nor considered the addition of rich media like video, extended photo libraries, and other features.
As a result, print did not die a death and while it is still dropping – even if at a low rate – there still is a large circulation of paper magazines. The counter to that is Indie publishing, free of advertising, content rich and away from mainstream magazines, which seems to be growing very fast.
Newsstand is closely watching this niche, and today they offer fulfillment to Indie publishers, counting over two hundred and fifty partners in this sector.
The Newsstand community family
Newsstand is working on the rebranding of their website. That is a not easy achievement as some of the Newsstand customer base ranges from grandparents the company doesn’t want to alienate to teenagers looking more to buy magazines related to celebrities from music, sport, film, and fashion, and love the quality and style of Indie magazines.
All those people need to have their needs nailed. However, that has always been in the company’s DNA as their goal.
All things considered, Newsstand’s variety of topics makes it hard to squeeze all customers inside a target persona. Actually, there is a micro-community for every subject.
Newsstand’s mission is to understand and curate people’s hobbies and interests and create related original content. By doing that, they are giving their customers the possibility of discovery through contagion and overlap between these niches for people to find new inspiration.
A beacon for the publisher
On the other side, there is the publisher’s community. Newsstand is a hub for publishers coming from all around the world. Mr. Doleman states that «Different publishers can share a particular problem they’re facing. So, Newsstand can connect them and act like glue. Even for indirect competitors, problems are similar. We are trying to be a strong voice in the publisher community».
Newsstand is about creating and developing a new brand that, with a fresher look, one that will group magazines into content, transforming the sectors into communities and feeding the curious. All of this will be displayed in 2023.
Newsstand has become a beacon for the publisher sector due to its services. They offer publisher fulfillment ranging from website hostage, import-export advice, VAT assistance, warehouse storage, back issue sale, and on demand printing. In light of recent events, they are trying to adjust and represent the Indie sector more and become a destination for its specific needs.
The Newsstand team
Newsstand, from the beginning, has been a family business with more than thirty employees. Still, they have a network of key partners that focus on the marketing and technology. Overall, their inside focus is still concentrated on bringing new magazines onto the site, fulfilling, and delivering.
Newsstand’s mission is to list every magazine that exists. This is possible through a social listing that advertises them when a launch is about to happen. Mr. Doleman says: «We know that if a magazine goes through three or four issues it will be successful and need fulfillment and growth services we aim to provide».
International magazines are also available on their website but are subject to high taxes. To get around this, and be more responsible toward the planet, Newsstand also provides on demand print. They want to promote the magazine to the consumers with the same cover price.
Introducing a more environmentally friendly printing
Thanks to technological advances, Newsstand can now print on demand with the same quality as traditional printing. Introducing this service allows the publisher to benefit from reduced logistics costs and the customer with the cover point.
According to Mr. Doleman, the future will be dominated by on-demand printing and personalization since it allows the publisher to reduce waste, meet customer needs and have product available for longer. Alongside Newsstand it will give more space to create bundles, moreover with the advent of digital magazines, the creation of personalized content for each customer drawing from different magazines is within reach.
The publishing market after Brexit
After Brexit, Newsstand decided with its team to study 6 strategic planning tactics to keep exports flowing without huge cost increases. Those plans were presented by Mr. Glaiser-Creed to other publishers, who supported them in finding a way to deal with the market changes.
Newsstand supplies out-of-the-box solutions for publishers. They can have a personal meeting to sign a contract and their pricing models, which go from the website to fulfillment and distribution. Newsstand will implement it for customers for browsing ease, discover magazine content, and buy their copy.
Newsstand’s website and delivery services will take over this latter process without the publisher’s need to consider it. This also goes with different packaging and envelopes, which can also be done according to the publisher’s taste.
As Mr. Glaiser-Creed stated: «there is no independent publisher too big or too small for Newsstand. We cater for all sizes, set ups and categories, whilst giving the same service and price to all publishers». Being a family business means that everything they do is always made for people working with others, and that’s their crucial role in the industry.
Envisioning the future
According to Newsstand’s CEO vision, the near future will see continued growth of Indie publications. People will be more conscious and pay more attention to the environmental impact of their actions. Eventually, more digital products will be made available by Indie publishers.
Five years from now, Mr. Doleman believes that Newsstand could host an entirely realistic 3D experience of an Indie store in the metaverse. He imagines buying access to a magazine and a cool virtual location to enjoy it – a real world like virtual experience in which customers can discover new magazines or get fresh content from the community.
Subsequently, the all-encompassing metaverse will be unstoppable. Runways of different fashion brands have already made an appearance in the metaverse, but by the world of Mr. Doleman, other crossovers in this genre will be possible in the future. It will become contagious and pass inspiration into the physical realm, from the virtual world.
Newsstand is a UK based online magazine portal and fulfillment house where customers can find magazines from around the world. Founded in 1894, the company disrupted the market by selling both individual magazines and subscriptions. Today they keep offering services to other publishers, creating a worldwide community.