It’s no wonder that the puzzle sector on the newsstand is often viewed as being difficult to manage. At any time there are more than 200 products on the market and independents often find that they bear the brunt of over-enthusiastic box-outs from wholesalers.

If there’s one thing worth remembering, it’s that the top 20 titles are worth 53% of total market RSV and the top 30 account for a two-third share of all sales by value. Secondly, Puzzler Media and its rival H Bauer completely dominate the bestsellers list.

That’s not to say that it’s never worth stocking any product outside of the top 30 or produced by any other publisher.

Puzzle-pieceBut in a crowded market and at a time when newsstands are under pressure for space, it’s important for retailers to make sure that there’s a demand for a product before it takes up valuable inches on the fixture.

In the same way that wholesalers regularly send drinks and sweets to shops with little prospect of selling, their distribution of every newsstand product should not be taken as an endorsement of quality.

Only retailers can make that decision and they have a much better understanding of what their customers want.

H Bauer has made efforts to make the lives of independents easier by providing better display solutions and will exclusively covermount pens for the channel this summer. Puzzler, meanwhile, hopes to provide indies with a range that will help them compete with supermarkets.