Working with Publishers and Distributors

Independent publisher surveys have ranked Smiths News as number one in the industry, thanks to our specialist expertise and careful attention to customer service.

In addition to distributing newspapers and magazines throughout England and Wales, we provide account and sales management and information support through Thanks to our innovative approach to business, we are always finding new ways to serve the market, and meet the shifting needs of publishers and distributors.

Publisher and Distributor services

Delivering the very best levels of service throughout the supply chain on behalf of our publishers and distributors.

Publisher and Distributor support

We are ready to help you into the market, whatever type of publication you are selling.

How do I get my product to market?

Find out how our range of services and unrivalled delivery network can help bring your product to the market.

The magazine and newspaper wholesale network

All newstrade retail outlets in the UK are supplied with copies of newspapers, paid for magazines and collectables through a national network of wholesalers including Smiths News. 

No single wholesaler has contractual agreements from suppliers to achieve full national coverage, due to EU and UK market competition legislative barriers, however each wholesaler has exclusive postcode distribution contracts. The other multiple wholesaler in the UK is Menzies Distribution. 

The wholesalers receive copies of newspapers and magazines either direct from the publisher (in the case of newspapers and often the case for UK regional publications) or more commonly for magazines and small newspapers from an intermediary distribution company for national titles or imports.

Potential distributors

A list of potential distributors that distribute UK and import titles can be found on the Professional Publishers Association website at Moving copies from the print centre to each wholesalers regional distribution centre is either arranged by the publisher (if trading directly with the wholesaler) or by the distributor on your behalf.


All copies of magazines and newspapers in the UK newstrade carry a cover price and are usually supplied to wholesalers and retailers on a full sale or return basis (full SOR). All unsold copies are scanned back at the wholesaler and the credit claimed back from the publisher via a paper or electronic affidavit system. All magazine and newspaper copies in the UK must carry an issue specific 15 digit barcode on the front cover. Barcodes can be sourced from the British Library. This Certified Audit Returns System is audited by publishers and distributors in the UK market.

The wholesaler and retailer each take a percentage of the cover price of copies sold.

Wholesale distribution

Wholesalers supply copies of newspapers and magazines to all the retailers that trade with them (within the wholesalers' designated postcode distribution areas) and subject to them agreeing to stock the title into their range.

The national multiple retail groups like WH Smith, the major supermarkets and CTN's all make individual central buying decisions on whether to accept a title into their stores ranges, quite often involving promotional agreements with them for shelf space. Most of the retail groups' mechanics require a payment to secure a range listing, therefore most launches into the market need a trade marketing budget to secure any space at multiple retail group. Either the publisher or the distributor must secure agreement with each multiple retail group to allow each title to be stocked.

Trading directly with Smiths News

Should you wish to trade direct with us rather than appointing a distributor, you should be aware that in addition to the discount off the cover price on copies sold we also operate a self-billing invoicing system with all publishers that supply us direct as well as an initial acceptance fee.

All products are subject to our product selection process, where we will evaluate the commercial viability, based on factors such as price, product quality, frequency of publication and anticipated sales levels per issue.

All product samples should be sent for approval for the attention of Neil Palmer (magazines) at the following address:

Smiths News
Rowan House
Kembrey Park