Print distributor's failure affects some overseas bases

Navy Times | The New York Times | Folio

The June 9 editions of Military Times newspapers didn't make it to Navy and Marine bases overseas because their distributor went out of business, Jeff Schogol reports. Source Interlink Distribution used to get copies of the Gannett-owned papers (which include Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times) overseas, but the company went out of business last month after Time Inc. stopped using it.

Unpaid fees led Time Inc. to end its relationship with Source Interlink, Leslie Kaufman writes in The New York Times. Their battle "reflects the tremendous financial pressure that both magazine publishers and their distributors have been facing as the Internet has decimated newsstand sales and as retailers hand over prime shelf space to other products like candy and gum."

Source Interlink offered retailers, who typically paid for full shipments of magazines and then returned the rest, the opportunity to "pay only for magazines that were actually bought," Kaufman writes.

So the new system was appealing to retailers, but was costly for publishers, who would not be compensated for lost and stolen magazines, which can be up to 7 percent of shipments.

Source Interlink had been demanding higher fees from the publishers to help make up for revenue it was losing from retailers.

Time has a new distributor but some markets may see magazine shortages "for up to 12 weeks," Kaufman writes.

"We did our best to keep it afloat but, in the end, the model is just broken and it has to be fixed," an unnamed Source Interlink executive told Folio's Linda Ruth. "One can just hope that in the midst of disruption that something positive can evolve."

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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