November '19

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116 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2019 Read 'Em & Weep? devices offer instant, unprecedented action. I know that when I post on the various sites I contribute to it's always the videos that get the responses. We can't deny that change is inevitable; otherwise we'd still be riding horses to work. But, is there still hope for print media? My 19-year-old told me most of her con- temporaries prefer print to reading and studying online. They like the process of buying a book or magazine, the fact that you don't need a ton of equipment along with connectivity to access the informa- tion, and the fact that you can flick back and forth easily. So, there is still hope for the printed word. So, why are the U.S. and UK markets so different? I think it's a matter of size, popu- lation density and technology. The U.S. is a vast country of 309 million people where it is becoming more and more convenient to shop via the internet, whereas the UK is a crowded little island of 63 million where people still shop on the High Street. How- ever, that is changing, and the High Street is declining, as is the U.S. shopping mall. To get a more informed answer, we spoke to Bill Palmer, founder and owner of Magazine Heaven (MH), billed as the UK's premier magazine destination store. Palmer, a veteran of the magazine industry, launched his business in 2017 with a beautiful store in the high-end Rushden Lakes development that enjoys more than 4 million visitors per year. The 3,500-square-foot, two-story store contains more than 2,000 titles on the ground floor and hosts an artisan café upstairs. Interestingly, MH is not afraid of tech- nology and employs in-store touchscreen kiosks for customers to search. It also has a very active website that you can search by title and genre and they will order and ship almost any magazine from anywhere in the world direct to your door. It's the best of both worlds, with a place to go browse, grab a cup of coffee and a strong internet presence. It also works closely with the magazine industry to survey and promote titles. What's also interesting about MH is that the staff is knowledgeable about various subjects—they don't just work there—and they host a full calendar of events. Typically, The store is located in the high-end Rushden Lakes development that attracts more than 4 million visitors per year.

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