Good luck getting your hands on Adam Gopnik’s latest treatise next time you visit your local Wal-Mart (WMT). The world’s biggest retailer is pulling Conde Nast’s pub, and more than 1,000 other mags, off its shelves. Some of these are small fry mags you’ve never heard of, but there are some big mass market titles here as well – notably the big three business mags: Forbes, Fortune (TWX), BusinessWeek (MHP).
No official word from Wal-Mart about the reasoning behind the move, but we don’t need one. Wal-Mart is ruthless about maximizing every inch of its floorspace, and it’s clearly decided that it’s only worth keeping a handful of magazine titles on its racks.
A delusional magazine industry type rationalizes to the NY Post’s Keith Kelly that this could be good for the business, since it will reduce clutter and give the remaining magazines it sells more prominence. But make no mistake – this is a disaster for the magazine world, which depends on Wal-Mart for an estimated 20% of retail sales.
It is also a prelude to what’s about to happen to the music business, as Wal-Mart and the other big box retailers start to hack away at the retail space they devote to music. And it may also happen to Hollywood, which depends on the big boxes for DVD sales.
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