Millions of newspapers remain unsold

Every year at total of 34 million newspapers are printed in Flanders, but never sold. The news websites Apache.be and Charlie.be report that every day well over 100,000 newspapers printed in our region end up being thrown away without ever having been sold, let alone read.

Apache.be writes of a “massive waste of newspapers and magazines. According to the CIM (an organisation that records sales statistics for newspapers and magazines sold in Belgium) almost 225,000 newspapers and magazines are on sale every day in newsagents, petrol stations and supermarkets. Almost half (48.9%) of these are never sold. Over the course of a year a total of 34 million newspapers are printed, but never sold.”

The titles that throw the most copies away each day are Flanders’ two most popular papers ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ (37,679) and ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ (22,276).

Meanwhile, 54,648 copies of the popular weekly magazine ‘Dag Allemaal’ remain unsold every week. Apache.be says that the fact that it often doesn’t cost any more to have a large print run than a more modest one, is a likely explanation for the publishers’ decision to print too many copies of their newspapers and magazines.

"Most publishers overprint in order to obtain a more prominent position at the point of sale”, the Commercial Director of the publishing house Koen Debuck told the news site."Big piles of papers get noticed and that pleases advertisers.”

However, Patrick Lacroix of the Flemish Newspaper Publishers’ Association told VRT News "The publishers are doing all they can to reduce the number of unsold papers. This has halved over the past ten last ten years. Furthermore, we ensure that the unsold newspapers are recycled in a very environmentally friendly way. Every newspaper can be recycled up to seven times.”