Which magazine categories are holding up at the newsstand
A handful continue to see single-copy gains, including recreation
March 6, 2017
Magazines suffered another steep decline at the newsstand in 2016, a trend that’s been seen for a decade now.
Total single-copy sales dropped 12.4 percent last year in the United States and Canada, according to the latest numbers from MagNet, a group of wholesalers that tracks sales.
Some 373.2 million copies were sold, generating $2.1 billion revenue, off 6.9 percent.
That was actually a bit better than in 2015, when sales fell 15.8 percent and revenue slid 13 percent, but the long-term trends remain troubling.
Still, not every magazine category is suffering equally. In fact, two actually saw gains over 2015.
Recreation titles recorded a 36.3 percent sales gain compared to the previous year, though from a small base — they have just a 3.6 percent market share.
The general interest category posted the second-biggest gain, up 16.6 percent.
MagNet notes that the gains were largely driven, in both categories, by book-a-zines and special publications.
That could mean an adult coloring book-a-zine, a genre that’s hot on newsstands right now. Or it could be a special issue devoted to the presidential election.
Another category that’s held up better than most, though it was still down slightly in single-copy sales, is science. That includes publications such as Discover and Popular Science.
Titles suffering the most at the newsstand
Of course, there are a slew of magazines not holding up as well, and topping the list are the two categories arguably most impacted by web competition, women’s titles and celebrities, off 15.5 percent and 15.9 percent, respectively.
Celebrity gossip has become an online phenomenon with sites such as TMZ and Radar updating every minute. The articles in the weekly gossip magazines feel dated by the time they’re published, by contrast.
And most of the content in women’s magazines — recipes, weight loss tips, work-life balance — is covered online through blogs and social media.
Automotive (down 15.4 percent) and home and garden (down 15.2 percent) also suffered large declines in 2016.
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