Magazines distribution history

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From approximately the 50’s through the 70’s, there was only one distributor of magazines,-the New York Times and Wall Street Journal

to all retail establishments that sold this product in drug stores, news stands, book stores etc.

When I owned and operated Smith Pharmacy, 2518 14th Street,N.W.,Washington,D.C. from 1959 to 1968, I purchased magazines from

a company called District News. We placed a standing order for selected magazines which were delivered twice a week with payment

due the second week from delivery date. Sometimes magazines not ordered were also delivered. When the Distributor was informed that

some magazines delivered were not order, the Distributor responded that any magazines not desired or not sold could be returned.

The only problem with this procedure was that all magazines received, included those not ordered had to be paid to District.

I recall that on one occasion, I did not receive my magazines, I phoned the distributor who stated, “You did not pay for the last order,

we sent you”, I responded that my youngest baby son, had just had a serious eye operation and I neglected to remit my payment, the

distributor said, -” the bill is due when rendered”.

In later years when I owned some Newstands and Gift shops, there were always problems when purchasing magazines,when District

News,the only magazine distributor in the DC area, delivered magazines not ordered.

The mark up on magazines was only 20% which was quite low, because often magazines were stolen.

The general population in the DC area, that personally subscribed to magazines from the magazine organizations received a bigger profit

on their purchases than the businesses that acquired their magazines from District News.

At this time, 2015, with the increase of news, articles etc ,shown on the internet,many magazines have gone out of business.

Lately, I’m retired and receive many offers from leading and popular magazine publishers that offer to mail their magazines at a very low

price-much lower than I paid as a merchant. No doubt the magazine distributors can still operate on their sales by selling advertising

to the many different large department stores, real estate firms etc.

Yes Things Change!!

Larry Rosen



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