The Trend Toward Compact Formats

Speech given at INMA Format Change Workshop

Earl J. Wilkinson

Eight months ago, INMA issued a report that set out to answer what seems like a simple question: Does size matter for newspapers? Can a smaller format for the newspaper break our industry out of a circulation slump, and can we convince advertisers to come along with us?

The answer, as of today, is a resounding: 'Maybe.'

For all the importance that we, as publishers, place on the physical size of newspapers, the reason many of us print in the precise format that we do has less to do with market research and strategic planning and more to do with how the stars aligned over the years:

In the United Kingdom, the broadsheet was introduced in the 18th century as an initiative to avoid paying taxes. As Parliament passed a tax based on the number of pages printed, publishers expanded the physical size of their pages same number of stories, but with as few pages as possible.