How does my alt-weekly get to my cafe?
October 24, 2009 11:08 AM   Subscribe

How do free alt-weeklies and zines get access to their distribution points? Is it as simple as asking or do they pay rent/barter some ad space in return for a place to put their magazine?
posted by the christopher hundreds to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, in case it matters, I'm more interested in how they get their racks into cafes and restaurants than next to the big publishers' vending machines...
posted by the christopher hundreds at 11:09 AM on October 24, 2009

I assume discount advertising rates for businesses who agree to place them in their locations, but I am not an expert.
posted by rabbitsnake at 11:36 AM on October 24, 2009

When I worked at our University alt-weekly, it was mostly just asking the owner or manager, "Can we put a rack in your store?"

It might be different in larger cities / with for-profit papers.
posted by thecaddy at 12:09 PM on October 24, 2009

Many restaurants and cafes will agree to have the racks or stands there, since they can attract some clientele.
posted by megatherium at 12:17 PM on October 24, 2009

I own one of these companies. The answer: You ask. Nicely.

As an aside, the question of getting distribution spots is an interesting view into the changing American landscape. Ten or fifteen years ago, it was easy to get spots, because there were so many cafes, mom and pop restaurants, etc., and you could count on being able to talk with an owner or manager, and they were usually pretty decent about it.

These days, it's much harder. The mom and pops are mostly gone and the landscape has been taken over by corporate franchise restaurants and coffee shops. Suddenly, the manager doesn't have the power to let you distribute there, or isn't allowed to by corporate because the places all have to look exactly the same. The experience of reading your local free weekly while eating lunch is replaced by a controlled environment designed by some marketing specialists far away. This is how neighborhoods lose their color.
posted by dacoit at 12:31 PM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

Yeah, it is just a matter of asking. And like dacoit says, it is tough with the corporate places. Generally most mom & pops will be cool with it if they have an appropriate place for you to put them.

Once you start distributing, you'll notice that alot of the rack areas are totally messy and fucked up when you go to put your paper there. If you take a minute to straighten things up a bit, that will earn you a lot of brownie points with the shop owner.
posted by spilon at 2:42 PM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

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