Thursday, November 6, 2008

Newspapers Net Gain, At Least for a Day

This from
TV Spy.

Newspapers a Hot Commodity After Obama's Win

Post-Election Newspapers Fly Out of Stores

From Richard Perez-Pena at the New York Times:

For a day, at least, newspapers were cool again.

Cool enough for people to try a dozen places in hopes of finding one, and then line up around the block for it. Cool enough for the seekers to call friends for help in finding copies, and for the finders to put them up for sale online.

The election of Barack Obama produced a clamor for newspapers that publishers said they had never seen. From The Cincinnati Enquirer to The Charlotte Observer to The Dallas Morning News, papers accustomed to years of declining sales pumped out extra copies by the thousands, and could not keep pace with demand.

But these were not papers to be consumed and crumpled as usual.

"Oh no, no fingerprints on this one," said James Allen, a delivery man from the Bronx, who stood in line for half an hour outside the Manhattan headquarters of The New York Times to get a copy. "This goes straight into a plastic bag. This is a black man becoming president. This is history, to show my grandkids some day."

Many buyers posed for pictures holding up the front page. Copies of Wednesday's major papers sold on eBay and Craigslist for more than $200.

Newspapers anticipated some extra demand, but they underestimated. The New York Times had printed 35 percent more than the usual number of copies for individual sale on Wednesday, an increase of about 150,000. Later, it printed 75,000 more.

On an average weekday, The Washington Post has single-copy sales — newsstand and store sales, as opposed to subscriptions — of about 100,000. It printed 30,000 extra on Tuesday night.

"It sold out almost instantly," said Steve Hills, president and general manager of Washington Post Media.

On Wednesday morning, The Post ordered up 150,000 copies of a special edition of the day's paper, charging $1.50, not the usual 50 cents. As the day wore on, it raised that to 250,000, then 350,000. "I've been here for 21 years and I've never seen anything like this," Mr. Hills said. (more)

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