John Morthanos

John Morthanos

John Morthanos is a circulation consultant specializing in niche and
special interest publications. He was Vice President Specialty Sales at
Curtis Circulation Company, Vice President Single Copy Sales at Primedia
Special Interest Publications and Cowles Magazines, Circulation Director
at Viare Publishing, and Circulation Marketing Director at Ziff Davis
Computer Publications.

The Newsstand Needs a Business Model That Welcomes Innovation

A small publisher called me a few weeks ago because he wanted his magazine to be distributed across the country. His editorial focus has an appeal that would attract buyers; the sample copies he sent me indicated that the package had potential for sale and could sell anywhere in North America and possibly the international…

Missing From the MBR Conference: Newsstand Strategies for Small, Niche Publishers

I recently returned from the MBR 2017 Conference (Magazines & Books at Retail, formerly Periodical & Book Association of America, PBAA), and the mood of the meeting was upbeat. There was a strong attendance of approximately 200 individuals, and the focus was to grow the print category within the brick and mortar marketplace. There were…

A Rant About Ratebase: How Publishers Large & Small Are Killing Newsstand Revenue

Recently I was going through the F.S.I.’s (Free Standing Inserts) in my Sunday (print) newspapers, when I came across an astounding offer from Hearst magazines. “Enjoy One Year of O, The Oprah Magazine (12 issues) for $8 and Save Even More, Add a year of Good Housekeeping for Just $2 More!” Let’s break down the…

For Newsstand Success, Magazines Must Stay True to Editorial Mission

I have conducted an exercise with many of my clients lately, where we identify their editorial mission and then actually deliver that mission to consumers on the newsstand. Realistically, for the newsstand, it is not easy to promote the editorial mission. Unlike media kits for advertisers or subscription offers, it is up to the cover…

A Modest Proposal: How to Grow Magazine Sales at Specialty Retail

In the first week of January 2017 major retailers announced that they would close hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores, eliminating major outlets for magazine distribution. Now, more than ever, it is important to generate new avenues for magazine sales; it is time for magazine wholesalers and national distributors to open and re-launch independent accounts at specialty…

Newsstand Promotions: A Cornerstone to Publishing Success

Normally one would ask a question in the blog title: “Newsstand Promotions, Are They Necessary?” or “Do We Have to Promote on the Newsstand?”. I really don’t think this is a question at all; promotions are a crucial investment in your magazine. In the past I’ve written about the importance of cover design and the…

How to Attract The Newsstand Subscriber

Way back when I first began working in magazine publishing, I sat in a presentation by Jim Gregory, head of circulation for Charter Publishing, now Meredith magazines. Jim spoke about the newsstand subscriber, the individual that does not buy an annual subscription to a magazine because he does not want every issue. Chances are the…

No, There’s Not a Glut of Magazine Titles at Newsstand

Last week I attended the Periodical and Book Association of America conference (now MBR, Magazines and Books at Retail Association). This event brings together all facets of the single copy business, publishers, national distributors, retailers, and wholesalers for education, planning and developing best practices. Attendees come from all over the world. Post-conference I was fortunate…

There’s a Place for Trending, Niche Magazines at Checkout

Last week I posed the question, “Does the Supermarket Checkout Belong to 7 Publishing Companies?” I used as an example an independent retail chain in Michigan, serviced by an independent wholesaler, which places a mix of non-traditional titles on the checkout fixtures, with the result of each title having sales. I also suggested that these…

Does the Supermarket Checkout Belong to 7 Publishing Companies?

Consumers pushing their cart through Giant Foods, Loblaw's, Raley's, or any other supermarket chain in North America must think there are only 35 magazines published. People, US, Woman's World, Better Homes & Garden, Cosmopolitan to name a few that have pockets on every checkout in America and Canada. The checkout line…

4 Tips for Creating Attention-Grabbing Covers for the Newsstand

I like to think of the newsstand as one of the best direct marketing tools. It's all consumer response. Now more than ever there is a need for niche publishers to realize mainline magazine displays are crowded. A full title retailer like a major U.S. bookstore chain typically has an active file of 5,000 titles.…

MagNet Report Shows Strength in Mid-Tier Magazine Titles

Unfortunately, once again the MagNet report indicates that the single copy is facing another crisis. Unit sales are down 10.2% and dollars are down 7.6%. Yet, as MagNet reports, the top 100 titles contributed significantly to that decline. The story isn't that bad for titles that rank 100 to 1,000. According to the report: “In…