Reader Service, formerly TV Reader Service, is based in Lenoir City, TN and caters to thousands of independent retailers by supplying magazines and paperback books. Retailers looking to do business with Readers Service join a program on the company website, and begin by choosing what type of display they prefer. “The choice of magazines is up to the retailer, and they can draw from our assortment of more than 130 titles,” says Jeff Noland, general manager. “There is no need to pay for the copies unless they sell, nor is there an upfront cost for retailers simply trying out the program.”
Retailers can choose to carry one magazine or one hundred magazines. Each month, the retailer receives a newsletter detailing the latest additions to the pool of titles, but to simplify the process for customers, Readers Service can also create a customized collection of titles to fill any display. Tim Burkholder, operations manager of North Carolinian convenience store chain, Citi Stop, has personal experience with this facet of the program. “Jeff Noland helped us customize programs that benefit each individual store and its clientele, and it’s been an extremely positive experience thus far,” says Burkholder.
Magazine prices are pre-set by publishers, and the average cover price is around $3. The profit margin for retailers is close to 20 percent of the cover price, plus a quarterly sales rebate of 4 to 5 percent, and customers receive complimentary shipping and credit for any copies that don’t sell. “There’s no risk and it’s very simple,” Noland points out. Readers Service has a minimum purchase quantity of three copies per magazine title, because it is ineffective to ship fewer than three copies. For the paperback book program, the process is similar but the numbers differ slightly. Each month, retailers receive 20 copies of the national top 10 best selling books. Retailers only pay for what they sell.
Due to the fact that 82 percent of magazine purchases are impulse buys, both Noland and Burkholder prefer placing the racks near a store’s registers. “We’re a tourist destination and have a lot of people passing through,” Burkholder points out. “Our customers look for something to read while they travel, and register placement is what made this program take off in such a short amount of time. It’s very reassuring for us to see.”