It’s not easy trying to be a newspaper monopsonist

At first, Joseph Talbot was charged with DUI.  Then he undertook a plan:

As the Times of Wayne County was distributing its weekly edition on Saturday, Holdraker started receiving calls from newsstands that a man — Talbot, according to Holdraker — was buying up all the copies of the paper. “We got in the car and restocked newsstands as far as we could,” says Holdraker, noting that he prints only 350 extra copies per week.

Some helpful numbers: Talbot’s extra-newspaper purchases, according to Holdraker, were limited to the village of Newark. There, he gobbled up about 900 to 1,000 copies at $1.25 a pop from at least eight places. Surely the outlays suppressed the news to some degree. However: The Times of Wayne County has a circulation of just north of 12,000, a number that consists of newsstand sales and subscription via mail (about 5,000, says Holdraker). So the buy-up plan addressed barely one-twelfth of the newspaper’s print distribution.

And, this being about 20 years after the rise of newspaper websites, there was another means of circulation as well. The Times of Wayne County, says Holdraker, puts its top news stories on its site without restriction. As to whether this particular story qualified for this status, Holdraker says, “It wasn’t gonna be, but obviously he pushed it.”

That is via Jack Shafer and Clive DavisThe article has other humorous points of interest.  Perhaps this is a new business model for media looking to expand their print sales?


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