Magazine Sales See Surprising Boost Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

As other industries suffer, print media has benefited from the whims of panic shoppers

print media
Print is back for one last gasp.
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By Kayla Kibbe / April 8, 2020 2:11 pm

While the economic crisis surrounding the coronavirus epidemic has decimated most industries, the long-struggling world of print media appears to be making a surprising comeback.

Major magazine publishers including Condé Nast, Meredith and Hearst have reported a COVID-19-related boost in print sales for the month of March, according to the New York Post, with publishers seeing the increase across supermarkets, newsstands and other retailers. While publishers noted that sales began to decline during the last week of March as increasing lockdown orders slowed foot traffic and supermarket trips, the earlier boost still resulted in higher-than-average numbers for the month.

To what does the long-dying print industry owe this mysterious comeback? According to the Post, most publishers are chalking it up to good old-fashioned quarantine hoarding. Remember the early days of pre-lockdown panic, when we were all blowing our money on random, mostly unwise purchases just because we might need a basil plant in quarantine and/or because deep down we knew we may never again know the joy of going to the store and spending money on something frivolous? Turns out that same spirit of panic and confusion convinced a few of us to pick up a print magazine or two.

As someone who typically only buys print magazines when I’m either getting on a plane or staying home sick, this trend makes perfect sense. In circumstances where you anticipate having a lot of time on your hands and spending most of it bored and/or miserable, a print magazine feels like something of a novelty — an inexpensive treat to temporarily distract and entertain.

And what is quarantine if not a long, miserable plane ride to nowhere on which lots of passengers also happen to be sick? As this plane hurtles toward certain demise, we, unwilling passengers though we may be, can at least flip through our glossies to pass the time.

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