Remember when quality, daily newspapers were broadsheets; difficult for two people to read side by side without fighting for space!  The Times changed to its current, smaller, more manageable size in 2010 and other broadsheets soon followed suit.

Similarly with womens’ magazines such as Woman & Home which downsized from A4 to a compact handbag size to keep up with the “read on the move” reader’s needs.

Interestingly, local magazines have remained largely the same although a few titles I know in south Hampshire thought that bigger was better and increased from A5 to B5 in size although it hasn’t proved from the outside to make them more popular.

So, focussing on local magazines, what difference does size make? After all, local magazines are either monthly or bi-monthly and will be thrown away and replaced anyway.

There are a number of pluses and minuses for each size but generally, the smaller size, usually A5 is most likely to be kept.  Some say, the bigger the publication the more likely it is to be thrown away; smaller magazines easier to keep in the drawer or by the phone. On the other hand, a bigger magazine gives off a sense of value so it’s important they live up to that; useful, valuable but also relevant to the reader. A4, larger magazines tend to be regionals and less relevant to the reader. Whatever the case, if the magazine is in the bin, so is your advertising!

Features and benefits of magazine sizes

A4

  • Perceived value by reader.. bigger is better
  • Tend to be regionals so less relevant to the reader locally
  • Advert sizes are more expensive than in smaller magazines; more space of course but do you need more space?
  • Not designed for advertisers with a small advertising budget; no choice but to pay higher to have the appropriate size

A5

  • Half the size of A4
  • A full page is the same price (ish) as the half page of an A4
  • Fewer adverts per page – you stand out more easily in A5
  • A5 is more likely to be kept, read and used – it’s the “handy mag” size
  • A5 can be delivered by Royal Mail (A4 can be but it’s prohibitively expensive) so it’s the only publication size to go for if you want to target affluent rural homeowners
  • The small size means a publisher needs to give 1.5 or 2 pages to a piece of editorial to give it white space and be readable. There are few successful publishers who do this. Discover is one of them in south Hampshire.

B5

  • Slightly bigger than A5 smaller than A4
  • Slightyly bigger adverts, more cost but in between so gain is hard to be quantified
  • The bigger size, unless it has lots of useful editorial will make it as dispensable as an A4
  • Publishers of B5, struggle to justify the higher rates so they compromise on editorial pages which of course, are zero revenue. A B5 with lots of good, local editorial would be great but they often can’t afford to do this.

Here’s a list of some south Hampshire magazines their size

Hampshire Living: A4

Hampshire Life: A4

MLG Gazettes – B5

Discover Magazine – A5

Forget Me Not – A5

Winchester Magazine – B5

Winchester Lifestyle – A5

Winchester Resident – B5

Forum – A4

Big Voice- B5

The Scene – B5