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Note to magazine publishers: delayed billing will NOT reduce early returns

Mark Fletcher
December 16th, 2013 · 15 Comments

Newsagents are being swamped with titles where billing is delayed. It feels like title range and volume has increased as a result. This is nuts. I early return a title based on its sales performance and not based on when it will be billed. Retail space has a cost. Delayed billing will not and should not remove a title from consideration for early return. Anyone saying otherwise to magazine publishers is not accurately representing newsagents – the people paying for the retail space, labour and shrinkage in newsagencies.

Publishers: Stop using us as your warehouse. If your title has an on-sale of more than ¬†four weeks, hold the stock and send additional stock bales on our sales data. While your distributor may say that they don’t have accurate sales data, challenge them as they are probably wrong.

If the increase in delayed billing titles does not stop more newsagents will strike out by cutting magazine space and sending more titles back early.

For Christmas, newsagents want magazine distributors and some magazine publishers to treat them with more respect.

There was a time delayed billing was used by a few publishers with care. The free for all we are seeing now has ruined it for everyone.


Category: magazine distribution · magazines

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jenny // Dec 16, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Couldn’t agree more. Reading this has made my headache return!
    Delayed billing of magazines has been ramped up lately, it’s so frustrating that they are using us to dump their extra stock.
    We are paying staff to top these magazines because most of the delayed billing titles I get do not sell well and that includes Lovatts puzzle books. Always get more than double what we sell.
    The only result from delayed billing is more crap in our shops. I dread the day GG catch on.


  • 2 Jarryd Moore // Dec 16, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    We don’t care if a title is delayed billed or not. It shouldn’t change how a title is treated in store. If it sells it stays, if not it goes. Physical space, not the billing period, is our greatest challenge and the most influential factor in deciding if we keep a title.


  • 3 Brett // Dec 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Every magazine is treated on its merits, its sales history and the season. If I am likely to sell 100, I want 110. If I am likely to sell 2, I want 3 or 4, I do NOT want 20


  • 4 Wally // Dec 17, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Agreee agree. I had 3 different bride magazines yesterday or was it 4. They are thick as epic books with something FREE and oversupplied. Unfortunately i get frustrated and angry and return the lot sometimes. And 2 lots of architect books too. arghh


  • 5 Mark Fletcher // Dec 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    I’d like to see magazine publishers respond here.


  • 6 terry Thelwell // Dec 17, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Hi Jenny
    Lovatts introduced delayed billing to help newsagents with cashflow. Not as a vehicle to increase supply. Please send me your details and we’ll work with you to ensure supply meets demand. This message applies
    to all newsagents. I can be contacted at


  • 7 jenny // Dec 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Thanks Terry, have done.


  • 8 rick // Dec 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    terry, why cant you use sales data to set supply? do you have access to this information?


  • 9 Mark Fletcher // Dec 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Terry with so many other titles now delay-billed you could get caught up in a backlash.


  • 10 terry Thelwell // Dec 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Rick, we do use sales data and get it right most of the time. Not always, that’s why I welcome contact from agents who feel they are being oversupplied.
    Mark, I feel the problem is not so much delayed billing. It’s more all of the extra titles on the market. Puzzler have recently introduced 10 new titles. Lovatts range hasn’t increased in years


  • 11 Mark Fletcher // Dec 17, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Terry, as someone seeing it first-hand I think it is the volume of delay-billed titles. Newsagents are and will strike back. The issue is way beyond what Puzzler and Network (your distributor) hit newsagents with.


  • 12 Wally // Dec 17, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    I have never had a problem with Lovatts and applauded them with their first up delayed billing. my own sales since have increased. on the other hand the opposition have increased their titles with their “Simply” range and also continue to deliver and charge at the end of the month and oversupply. I suspect they operate on a “Use the newsagents cashflo” system. Early return them if they arrive in the last week of the month. My puzzle book sales are up with lovatts and some of the smaller guys. I am puzzled at the other mobs tactics..!!!!


  • 13 Brett // Dec 17, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Lovatts are extremely good. Their allocations are almost always fair. I actually see them in my store from time to time (no I do not work next door). They actually care about the newsagents. Not had a need to early return their stock.


  • 14 h // Dec 18, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    Merry Christmas to Terry and all at Lovetts.
    Thanks for your diligence in controlling stock levels, we preference you because of this.


  • 15 terry Thelwell // Dec 18, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    Thanks for all of those kind comment’s
    And Merry Christmas to all.


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