Monday, 9 May 2011

What Does Your Newsagents Say About Your Neighbourhood?

Have you stopped to look at the magazines on your local newsagent's shelf? And when I say look, I mean really look.

I raise the question, because last week, a friend and I were in a large branch of WHSmiths, in one of my local towns, and we were browsing the shelves, as any writer does. And what we found ourselves doing was moaning, yet again, because for some inexplicable reason the Annoyance Fairy had paid a visit again by re-arranging the entire magazine department. Where the Women's Magazines once stood, was now Gardening, the History section was now Computer Games, whilst Travel had got up an left only to be replaced with Guns and Shooting.

However, it transpires that the Annoyance Fairy had done us a favour. Before, we would simply browse the shelves where our preferred markets could be found, but now, we had to take our time and really look at the magazines. And it was quite revealing.

Take a closer look at the photo in this posting. You'll see that there is a selection of magazines arranged on the shelf here, but look at the label at the bottom of the shelf. What's the subject matter of these magazines? Can you see? Yes, that's it. Take a closer a look. Yes! Your eyes are not deceiving you! It says 'Tattoo'. My local WHSmiths has an entire section devoted entirely to Tattoo magazines! We counted 13 titles with the word Tattoo, or Skin, in the title and there were also a couple of other Tattoo-associated titles there too.

Now this is not a market I had ever considered before ... mainly because my body is tattoo-free, but clearly in this local town there is a huge readership who are interested in this subject. (In fact, as we walked around the rest of the shops we began playing a game - spot the Tattoo magazine reader!)

I came away with several new magazines I hadn't seen before, including one tattoo periodical, purely because on this occasion I had stopped to take my time to actually look at the titles on ALL of the shelves. And when I come across a new magazine, immediately the ideas begin flowing. Especially for the tattoo publication.

Perhaps I need a tattoo first, so that I know what I'm talking about. What do you think I should go for? A huge eagle on my back? A Celtic Knot on my calf? Or a snake wrapping itself around my arm?

In the meantime, nip into your local newsagents and take a good look on the shelves (top and bottom). What do your newsagent's shelves say about your home town? And could you write anything to entertain them?

Good luck!


  1. We'll all end up with tattoos now, Simon!

    I must get down to the newsagents more often too. I'm supposed to be going every week and choosing a new title - your post has spurred me on! To choose new magazines not a tattoo!

    Julie xx

  2. Something on your face, Simon, that's always a good idea! (I speak from some experience as the bearer of an unhideable thumb tattoo.)
    But, seriously, good idea.

  3. That's really interesting. I often find that just by looking at the magazines in a different newsagent eg a small independent rather than WH Smiths, I spot titles that I hadn't noticed before. And, yes, there are some really interesting and thriving niche areas out there!

  4. And those of you who live in the UK or the USA should apreciate the readily available array of magazines you have.
    When I return to England on trips to visit my family no one understands how I can spend the best part of an entire day in WH Smith and come home with enough magazines for my suitcase to cost me plenty in overweight expenses.
    Sometimes I even study the magazines before I leave, make notes and just rip out relevant sections - so that I still have room to do some very important clothes shopping for the kids and grandkids as well.

  5. With all these titles on a relatively obscure subject it makes it hard to believe in a declining magazine market. Just what do they find to fill the pages if it isn't endless celebrity tattoos and designs? No doubt you will be enlightening us in due course.

  6. Great post. Keep it up. Thanks for advice. It is wonderful information for me.

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