Economist Brings The Newsstand To Your House

- - Magazines

“The Economist has launched a single copy subscription service in the U.K. that allows readers to order just one copy of the magazine for home delivery the next day. Readers can place an order online or via text message for a copy of the latest issue of the weekly publication. The cost of the delivered magazine is the same as the newsstand price.”

via MediaPost.

Seriously, American magazines (Anne Moore!?), wake the-f up. If that’s not enough, subscribers can listen to the latest issue on their ipod (the Economist read out aloud word for word by four or five posh sounding British newscasters). What the hell? I just subscribed to a magazine and was told it would take 4 – 6 weeks for the first issue to arrive.

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. It does sound like a great service, as long as they’re not losing their shirts by undercharging. I agree that the 4-6 week thing sometimes kills the momentum, especially with a whimsical subscription. Where else in our lives do we accept that lag in receiving an order? And I would even pay more to receive the first issue sooner.

    Perhaps Amazon needs to get involved in mag. distribution?

  2. Okay, maybe I’m missing the point on this one. Wouldn’t it be easier to just go to the newsstand and buy a copy? Then you could read it that day. Unless they’re aiming at increasing their shut-in and prison inmate readership, this seems like a service of limited value. I don’t think people have turned away from magazines because of a lack of newsstands and supermarkets. It’s the proliferation of online content (to which the shut-ins and inmates probably already have access).

    I give the Economist points for innovation in thinking up new programs to increase readership. But beyond that, I’m not sure this particular program is going to be a winner. The iPod content is a much better idea.

    As for the 1950s-era subscription processing, I agree completely. That is just embarrassing. My personal best is I subscribed to a magazine (a Conde Nast publication to point fingers) and received an “It’s time to renew” invoice in the mail before I actually received my first issue.

    • @Tom,
      The price of gas has an effect on newsstand sales. That’s a fact. But the bigger idea is that single copy sales needs to evolve from the newsstand. I was just listening to a podcast that mentioned a phenomenal story in RS on Goldman Sachs. If I could hit a button and get that issue mailed to me I’d buy it. If a single copy sales button were available every time someone referenced a magazine there would be a big increase in single copy sales which is still the metric advertisers use to determine how healthy a magazine is these days.

      • @A Photo Editor,

        I see the logic. It just sounds like a plan to perpetuate the wrong business model.

        If I could press a button and get an online copy of the magazine instantly delivered to my iPhone, iPod, laptop, Kindle, etc., that would make sense. The idea of going online to order a hardcopy of a magazine for delivery tomorrow seems so buggy whipish.

        And it doesn’t address one of the biggest problems facing print publications — the huge production costs (compared to Web publishing). In fact, doesn’t it make things worse? How do you gauge a print run when you don’t really know how many people might press the single-issue purchase button in any given week? If you run out of issues, and people have to wait two weeks to receive what you promised for tomorrow delivery, they won’t be amused.

  3. a friend just ordered Nat Geo and it took 7 weeks to get the first issue WTF come on, how can magazines keep going when every thing is ‘now now now’ in our world today.

    is it any surprise the Economist has the only growing readership for the news mags? not really

  4. Online solves all of these problems, distribution, including landfills + recycling. The future is hiding in plain view… All it will take is someone with enough money to develop it under the right business model. Not to mention the cost/profit difference. Wake up editorial publications!

    Case in point, I had viewed the major pictorials from this month’s Vanity Fair (Michael Jackson on the cover) almost two weeks ago, and our print copy arrived yesterday. Boring. Two minutes later it went straight into the recycling bin.

  5. Thats a good idea by Economist magazine, sending SMS or placing online order for home delivery of magazine the next day. When I ordered a magazine subscription (not this magzine) they said it would 6-8 weeks for the first issue to arrive, why so long? Considering the fact that one can get whatever reading material needed simply from the web and the only attractiveness of paper is that you can take it around and read it, fold it, etc. I guess the magazines would do better than that when it comes to fulfilling new mag subscription orders.