On June 19, the world’s first automatic magazine newsstand reached the Swedish consumers. Meganews Magazines is up and running in Stockholm, hoping to change the modern media landscape. The newsstand kiosk allows for on the spot, high quality, color prints of a wide range of magazines and periodicals (200 at present).
In order to survive, print media has to find a way to reach new readers, find new means of distribution, and reduce the cost of production. The Meganews Magazines newsstand addresses each of these problems and more. The machine (which takes up space of less than 4 square meters) allows customers to choose the publication they want to buy via a touchscreen, pay with a credit card, and get a copy, printed on the spot, in two minutes. The newsstand is connected to the internet and can download upon request the latest pdf files from any partner publisher’s server.
According to Stefan Melesko, a lecturer in Media Economics, 10% of the entire cost structure for most publications consists of distribution costs. In addition, publishers produce a surplus of copies, at times being unable to sell up to 30-40% of them and accruing additional expenses for handling the returns. On-demand printing newsstands like Meganews Magazines can save publishers money on printing and distribution. They can also help them reach customers whenever and wherever, while giving them realtime feedback on sales. The service can be incredibly useful to niche publishers who would otherwise not be able to reach new audiences because they can’t afford to distribute to all outlets.
An additional benefit, not a small one at all, is that the service is environmentally friendlier. Meganews Sweden commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment of their product, which concluded that “approximately 60 percent lower emissions of fossil greenhouse gases were generated during the life cycle of a magazine printed and sold in a Meganews Magazine kiosk compared to a magazine printed and distributed in the traditional way, including unsolds.”
Meganews Sweden has already secured partnerships with the leading publishing houses in Sweden and hopes to soon expand its services to include foreign publications. It’s certainly exciting to see how this new way of distributing and selling printed media will develop.