167 of the 168 respondents undertake early returns. 100 say they return the day magazines come in and 67 say they early return before the end of the month but not the day they come in.
What is most telling is the reasons newsagents indicate for engaging in early returns. 91.67% of newsagents say they are sent too much stock. This is a damning stat. Every copy of every magazine oversupplied has a cost in space, labour and opportunity to newsagents.
48.81% of respondents say they early return a title because they do not have space to this play it.
The newsagency channel is the only channel selling magazines in Australia where product is sent without regard to the space available for displaying products. Our treatment in this regard disadvantages newsagents and provides our competitors with a competitive advantage.
Magazine publishers ought to study the survey results as should those working for magazine distributors. The results reflect a brokenness that must be fixed if newsagents are to stop retreating from engagement with magazines.
It is in the hands of magazine publishers and magazine distributors to fix this. I am worried that they will realise this too late to save magazines in the newsagency channel.
You can see the survey responses here.
Tomorrow, I’ll look in some detail at the issue of delayed billing covered in the survey and Wednesday I will share newsagent responses to my last question: What can publishers and or distributors to do to stop you early returning?