The message from this year’s PPA Publishing Futures survey of industry bosses took me by surprise.

“The high expense of doing business with certain retailers is prohibitive,” one respondent said. “There is still potential at retail, but it simply comes at too high a cost. It can never pay back.”

I have been saying for years the industry can’t keep pumping money into supermarkets. The surprise is that publishers finally agree. They see independents as the future, the report said, and recognise the need to be tactical.

It is time to return to the entrepreneurial zeal of independent retailers who love selling magazines – and RN readers can help. Retailers like Cardiff newsagent Mark Dudden, who grew FHM sales by 800% one month and tripled Private Eye sales by understanding his customers, spotting a sales opportunity and acting on it. Or High Wycombe newsagent Alan Waterson, who read in RN that Grazia was running a price promotion, ordered extra copies and tripled his sales in a week.

[pull_quote_right]It is time to return to the entrepreneurial zeal of independent retailers who love selling magazines[/pull_quote_right]

They are hungry to grow and they want to hear from publishers. The algorithms produced by the likes of Lucid and Fore and the mediated wholesaler promotional clubs cannot replicate this.

Say just 10% of RN readers – 1,300 retailers – acted on a publisher’s advert in RN, sold just two extra copies of the magazine for £6 that month and held onto one of these new readers for the rest of the year. This would be worth £50,000 of new sales. How does this compare to the return on investment from buying space in supermarkets?

Whether publisher or retailer, I would love to hear your thoughts on whether the current system is broken and how we can fix it.