Kalmbach Publishing Co., which owns 14 hobbyist and leisure interest titles, last December executed an endcap display program in Barnes & Noble that boosted not only retail sales but ad pages in those issues. The publisher tied the effort into its January issues, which tend to be among its best sellers. "The winter months are our peak season and the January issues are particularly strong sellers," says corporate circulation director Michael Barbee.
Each year Kalmbach has a face-to-face meeting with Barnes & Noble representatives to review sales and discuss new opportunities, and last year decided to try a gondola endcap that emphasized a hobby magazine theme. The endcaps offer 10 pockets available at $3,700 per pocket. To defer some of the cost, Kalmbach sought out other special interest publishers and got Air Age Publishing to fill two of the pockets. "Preferably, we would have had five facings and had other publishers take the remaining five but it didn’t work out that way," says Barbee.
Participating Kalmbach titles included Art Jewelry, Astronomy, Bead Style, Classic Toy Trains, Fine Scale Modeler, Model Railroader, Trains and a special classic trains issue dubbed Diesel Victories. The endcaps went up in December featuring January issues to take advantage of high seasonal store traffic in 431 Barnes & Noble stores. Sales performance varied with increases between two percent and 38 percent over the previous period for most of the participating magazines. One title fell two percent while the special issue was up 60 percent over the previous year.
The program also boosted ad sales, particularly in Classic Toy Trains, which sold an additional three or four pages of ads from a dozen different advertisers. "This had the most impact on our smaller magazines like Classic Toy Trains," says Barbee. "Our salesperson was thrilled when he got wind of this because it gave him something new to take back to advertisers. Classic Toy Trains is not a mass market title but getting ad exposure in this special display in Barnes & Noble is about as close to mass market as it can get."