Getting Freedom sold in shops...

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David UK
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Dec 17 2007 14:04
Getting Freedom sold in shops...

What's the deal with this? I know several local newsagets who are happy to sell copies of Socialist Worker and Morning Star (including WH Smiths!) Would it be worth my time getting them to stock Freedom?

have you tried getting it sold in Smiths before?

David.

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Rob Ray
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Dec 17 2007 15:04

It would, if we could get it out on time. It’s not impossible to get places to stock it, but if they don’t receive it until a week after the date on the front says, they don’t keep doing so. We’re looking into trying to sort this out a bit.

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Steven.
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Dec 17 2007 15:09

Smiths only do national distribution. SW do it at a loss, subsidised from members dues. the star gets money from unions. Small shops and newsagents can do freedom. one problem when i was editing it was that we didn't send out any invoices. the shops owed us 1-2 grand, but we didn't have time to chase it.

David UK
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Dec 17 2007 17:19

This is a shame as Freedom Is a brilliant newspaper, in terms of presentation and overall quality.

What If only a few copies were given to locals, (im sure that you always have numerous copies that become "back issues") with the promise of stocking more if they need any. Is this done already?

As for Smiths, I realise I'm an outsider to Freedom so feel free to ignore me, but perhaps it would be a good idea to set; being able to organise that sort of distribution, as a goal? ...The amount of train stations and airports and highstreets that Freedom could be sold on would be epic.

Whats stopping it get out on time? If there is any way I can help please let me know.

MalFunction
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Joined: 31-10-03
Dec 18 2007 12:15

Re Smiths News (the now separate distribution company)

usually won't consider any publication for distribution unless there's a minimum quantity. (had a look on their website but couldn't see any such details - probably looking in the wrong place.)

they supply thousands of outlets and a newspaper would need multiple copies in each outlet supplied.

the cost of printing who be enormous, the cut they and the newsagents take would make it loss-making on
every copy sold.

I expect they'd want all manner of indemnities against possible libel actions, and the unsold copies would probably be ruined.

So one way to distribute Freedom is for people to supply their own local newsagents, assuming they can take independent publications and you can find people to buy copies, and you can provide a proper invoicing system to make sure you get paid.

If distributors could pay in advance for copies they sell that would help, but most shops also require invoices for their own records.

From what i understand Freedom needs more people to put the paper together and send it out. (A proof reader wouldn't go amiss either.)

More subscribers would help - but I suspect that requires a more regular publication and content that people are prepared to pay for. If you want Freedom on a regular basis then subscribe - other than that I suspect it depends on odd sales here and there.

I had a look at INK who distribute alternative publications to shops (including Direct Action):
http://www.ink.uk.com/

there policy includes:
INK does not accept titles which promote violence beyond traditional means of protest.

So if Freedom qualify it might be worth contacting them. Don't know if they can cope with a fortnightly publication. (Apparently they do as there is a publication called "Solidarity" which is a fortnightly.)

(might be worth having words with them to see how they get on with INK.)

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Steven.
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Dec 18 2007 12:20

i started the process of registering with ink, but then we couldn't be bothered...

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Rob Ray
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Dec 18 2007 13:28

Cheers David grin.

Atm it usually gets lost somewhere between the editors signing off and distro getting it back. Best way we can think of to avoid this is to as far as possible keep the paper trackable, so we're looking at changing the size to A4 to make it foldable by our printers rather than getting sent off to a folding company. If that makes the difference, then it's just a case of getting envelopes stuffed for subscribers on time. When you say locals do you mean people, groups or shops?

Mal, yeah I came across INK a while back but they don't seem very active tbh...

David UK
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Dec 19 2007 10:01

Basically the reason I ask is because I think Freedom should definetly be 'out there' as an accesable Anarchist publication, to the wider public.

Obviously subscribers are good but I suspect all they are already fairly political.

The WHS idea does sound pretty unreasonable. Although, surely if organising distribution with them inherantly meant you'd run at a loss, then why does anyone do it? I'm not sure it's true. Is freedom currently not running at a loss?

I'd be more than happy to see if I can get local gas stations/newsagents to stock it, in Reading, or see what terms they want filled, and report back? I'd need a copy to show them, and would need to know if you could theoretically supply them with more if the demand arises.

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Rob Ray
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Dec 19 2007 13:54

Well for mainstream publications they get around it by saving money through large-scale print runs, and if they're big sellers they can usually negotiate a better deal, plus it acts as a loss-leader as it can lead to subscriptions which they make more money on. Also of course advertising is the major source of funding, which we don't tend to do.

At present, Freedom runs at a loss, though increasing sales by a couple of hundred per issue and having someone to actively chase existing outlets would pretty much wipe that out.

Yeah if you could do that in Reading that'd be excellent smile, PM me and we can work something out about sending them down etc.

David UK
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Dec 19 2007 16:55

Ok I'll ask a few newsagents/petrol stations who currently stock socialist worker, and the local solidarity centre (liberal den) and see what happens. But I don't have time to sell copies manually I'm afraid, not often anyway. You guys could also think about running off a load of posters advertising subscriptions to put up in universities and tube stations and things. It's an incredible shame that it runs at a loss, but I'm sure we can sort that out in 08!

I will PM you about this stuff.

IrrationallyAngry
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Dec 19 2007 18:27
David UK wrote:
The WHS idea does sound pretty unreasonable. Although, surely if organising distribution with them inherantly meant you'd run at a loss, then why does anyone do it? I'm not sure it's true.

Being nationally distributed doesn't automatically mean you run at a loss. Far from it. But Freedom, or Socialist Worker, is not in the same position as Heat. WH Smiths will demand a minimum number of copies to distribute. Probably in the region of 10,000. You will have to pay them to do this as well as paying to print that number of copies. That's not an issue if your expected sales are 200,000. It is if your hoped for sales through newsagents are 2,000.

Socialist Worker is, whatever you think of its politics, an accessable looking and reasonably professionally produced publication. It also comes out on time, every week. Yet they only claim to sell 8,000 copies a week. The real figure is probably lower but take it at face value. To get a figure for the number they sell through newsagents you have to deduct the ones they sell to their own members through the organisation itself, the ones they sell to subscribers and the ones they sell through their weekly street stalls and on the paper rounds of members. In other words they would be lucky to sell 2,000 through their newsagent distribution. To sell 2,000 copies they have to print and pay for the distribution of 10,000 copies. Then you have to take into account the fact that the shopkeepers take a cut of the cover price.

The SWP take the view that getting 2,000 or whatever copies into the hands of random people who can buy it in shops is worth paying a lot of money for. And they have the resources to do that. Does Freedom?

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little_brother
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Feb 29 2008 11:38

So currently, how many Freedoms are printed, how many copies go out to subscribers, bookshops, social centres in UK, and also internationally etc.? Would be interesting to see the breakdown if you don't mind making this public.

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Rob Ray
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Feb 29 2008 11:49

Sorry I don't know exact figures, but in terms of what goes out to subscribers probably no more than mid-hundreds at the moment. As I say, regardless of the quality of the paper we suffer from not having a distro network, any marketing (also the reason i don't have a detailed breakdown available), not coming out on time etc.

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RednBlack
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Mar 27 2010 00:20

I take 5 copies to a local Veggie Co-op. They are happy to sell them along with Schnews, Solidarity, Organise etc. They take 30% of each sale. This is probably worth trying in as many places as possible.

JR Cash
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Apr 6 2010 15:37

If I recall correctly, many years ago when involved in Class War we looked into the possibility of getting Class War into WH Smiths (around 1990 I think). We came up against the same issues. They will only stock extremely large quantities for distribution. The issue of legal protection was another major stumbling block. It was a shame because at the time the paper was really getting into its stride. Unlike the amateur drivel that it contains now.