Rolling Stone magazine goes down a size

Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:42pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rolling Stone magazine unveiled plans on Monday for a major design overhaul, scaling down its signature large-format pages to a standard magazine size in a bid to bolster advertising and sagging newsstand sales.

The U.S. pop culture magazine will end the oversized look that for more than 30 years has distinguished it from rival publications starting with an issue set to hit newsstands on October 17.

"It feels to me just like a natural step for us to take," said Will Dana, managing editor at Rolling Stone. "It's always exciting to shake things up a bit and to grow and to do things differently."

Officials with Wenner Media, the magazine's publisher, said Rolling Stone's circulation has grown to an all-time high of nearly 1.5 million.

But single-copy sales on news racks slumped to 115,644 for the first six months of 2008, down from 119,735 for the same period in 2007, the company said.

"We've been challenged at the newsstand recently, which is an industry-wide trend, and the decline pretty much mirrors where we are vis-a-vis our competitors," Dana said.

The company expects the new format will boost single-copy sales because in the past the magazine's size has proved somewhat unwieldy for retailers to prominently display.

With the new format, the magazine's pages will be glued together instead of stapled, making it easier to include advertising supplements, said Beth Jacobson, a spokeswoman for Rolling Stone.   Continued...

<p>The cover of Rolling Stone issue 1059 in an image courtesy of the magazine. REUTERS/Rolling Stone/Handout</p>