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  - April 19, 2010 -  

Breaking Supply Chain News: Reed Publishing Shutters its Supply Chain Group, Ending – for now – Some of the Biggest Names in the Industry

Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, Logistics Management, Purchasing All Bite the Dust; Possible Comeback from Management and Editorial Team?

  by SCDigest Editorial Staff  
SCDigest Says:
Many wonder in the publishing industry, however, wonder if there is any real future for hardcopy business-to-business trade publications in any sector, supply chain included, given cost and advertising dynamics.

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At one level, the news to those in the know was not that surprising, but the impact seems seismic nonetheless, as Reed Business Information (RBI), a division of British information giant Reed Elsevier, announced it was closing the last 23 of its remain US trade publications, which included some of the most recognized magazine names in the industry: 

  • Supply Chain Management Review
  • Modern Materials Handling
  • Logistics Management
  • Purchasing
  • Material Handling Product News

RBI had been trying to sell its trade publication group for more than a year, amid a brutally tough advertising environment generally during the recession and the transition of advertising dollars from hardcopy print publications to the web, further crimping the bottom lines of hardcopy publishers. Rising mailing costs are another challenge for hardcopy magazines profits.


Unable to find a buyer for the whole group, RBI later announced it would go ahead and try to sell the publications in the unit in individual pieces or small groups of magazines, and was successful in unloading a number of titles. However, on Friday, RBI announced it was closing all the unsold titles, which included the four magazines in the supply chain group (Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, Logistics Management and Material Handling Product News), plus Purchasing magazine.


Later in the day, all of the affected publication announced the closings on their web sites.


The closing of Purchasing is especially interesting, as it effectively leaves the US market without a purchasing/procurement focused trade publication of any sort, with the exception of the Institute for Supply Management’s Inside Supply Management, sent to members of the professional association and other paid subscribers. Most of the Reed supply chain related publications were what is known as “controlled subscription” magazines, in which hard copy subscriptions are free to subscribers who meet certain criteria, with the magazine depending solely on advertising and even revenues.

Supply Chain Management Review is Among the Well-Known Titles Being Closed



Insiders Hoping to Revive the Titles?


SCDigest has learned that a group of publishers and editorial management members are working to try to restart at least the four magazines in the supply chain group.

(Supply Chain Trends and Issues Article - Continued Below)



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Why the team did not try to make the move before the closings were announced is not clear, as RBI did spin off several of its titles to existing management in the weeks and months before the Friday announcement.


The challenges would be many to doing so, however, not the least of which would be suddenly managing cash flow without the corporate backing of RBI and with the credit environment still very tight. Likely, the new team would try to get “angel” funding to give it some money in the bank to provide some cushion in the early months as an independent and beyond. If such funding becomes available, it again begets the question of why such a move wasn’t made before the closing announcements, which clearly will have some impact on advertising revenues at least in the short term even if the management team is able to restart the publications.


“I know a number of the staff on these publications, and this is a sad event for them and the industry,” said Dan Gilmore, editor of Supply Chain Digest. “Even though we were competitors, I had a high level of respect for those publications, especially Supply Chain Management Review, which was a great vehicle for supply chain thought leadership, especially in its early years when it really helped drive SCM industry knowledge forward.”


Gilmore added: “If the management team can get these publications back going again, we wish them the best of luck.”


Many wonder in the publishing industry, however, wonder if there is any real future for hardcopy business-to-business trade publications in any sector, supply chain included, given cost and advertising dynamics. Logistics Today, for example, was closed by Penton Publishing a few years ago, but then re-launched as a digital only magazine in 2009.


Did these closing of some of the industry’s main trade publications surprise you? Doe the potential for an all on-line supply chain publication world bother you or not? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below.

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