Newsstand Crimes

A real phone call from about 2004.

Editor: “This is Chris.”

Caller: “Hi, uh, this is going to sound kind of weird. But I was digging in the dumpster at Barnes & Noble in my town, and I found about 20 copies of your magazine there – all with the covers ripped off.”

Editor: “Uh-huh.”

Caller: “I like your magazine, and I thought I’d let you know in case something fishy was going on. Like they were cheating you or something.”

Editor: “Nope. That’s perfectly normal.”

Caller: “That’s crazy.”

Editor: “Yup. When we send copies of our magazine to a bookstore or a newsstand, they sell what they can. Then they rip off the covers, mail those back to us and we credit their account for the unsold copies.”

Caller: “And then they throw away the rest?”

Editor: “Well, we wish they would recycle them, but yes.”

Caller: “And so if they threw away 20 copies, how many did they sell?”

Editor: “Well that’s the real crime. They sold maybe five or six copies. That’s typical for the industry. About 25 percent get sold, and the rest get thrown away or pulped.”

Caller: “That seems so wasteful.”

Editor: “Ha! That’s nothing. You should hear how we get new subscribers.”

A real phone call from about 2004. Editor: “This is Chris.” Caller: “Hi, uh, this is going to sound kind of weird. But I was digging in the dumpster at Barnes & Noble in my town, and I found about 20 copies of your magazine there – all with the covers ripped off.” Editor: “Uh-huh.”…Read MoreYellow Pine JournalismLost Art PressRead More

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