Stephen Brook in this week’s Media Guardian has a piece about Exact Editions and the way our platform is being used by specialist publications. He notes our emphasis on Searching and on building Subscriptions, and it is interesting that he also quotes from the Royal Mail’s head of publishing services. One would think that digital distribution and mail delivery are competing channels — they are, but they are also working in the same direction to help publishers establish direct relationships with their readers. The Royal Mail is also benefitting from the increasing shift to subscription-based circulation (unlike the USA the British magazine market has traditionally seen distribution via retailers rather than direct to subscribers). Brook says that an astonishing 87% of consumer magazine circulation is still via the retail channel.

One thing Brook misses, is the huge benefits to the publisher from using the digital edition to promote a magazine. Elsewhere in the Media Guardian there is an interesting piece about the unstoppable flow of new product launches in the magazine market. About 500 a year says Jim Bilton. Since a new magazine launch can be incredibly expensive (apparently £9 million for Look — launched last week), and since a digital promotion even of a big title should only cost a few thousand pounds, one has to wonder why most new magazine product launches do not include provision of a free trial promotional copy?