Purchasing To Shut Down – A Sad Day in Publishing and Procurement

Earlier this morning, Reed Business Information announced it would shut down all of its 23 remaining trade publications within its portfolio. It had recently attempted to sell its trade titles and was able to find buyers for some publications (21 in total), but a number remained, despite material interest in some of them, which I heard about from various sources. Among the procurement and supply chain titles that are folding, I've learned that Purchasing, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Material Handling, and Logistics Management will shut down by the close of business today (Friday, April 16). According to an online source I located, the complete list of affected titles includes: "Building Design+Construction, Chain Leader, Construction Bulletin, Construction Equipment, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Control Engineering, Converting, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, Graphic Arts Blue Book, Graphics Arts Monthly, HOTELS, Logistics Management, Material Handling Product News, Modern Materials Handling, Plant Engineering, Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler, Purchasing, Restaurants & Institutions, Semiconductor International, Spec Check, Supply Chain Management Review and Tradeshow Week."

Earlier this morning I had the chance to catch up with an old friend and industry colleague, Doug Smock. Doug remains one of the most established and respected editorial voices in the procurement, supply chain and engineering arenas. A former editor of Purchasing, he has a long history (three decades) with the publication. Doug told me, "It's a very sad day. Purchasing has a long and storied history, and I was very proud to have been involved with it for many years, including four as a chief editor. Purchasing was very unusual among the trades because of the very strong bond it held with its audience -- great people like Gene Richter, Tom Stallkamp, and Shelley Stewart. I have not personally been involved with Purchasing for more than four years, but I will greatly miss it." As will I.

Here's the big question: what led to this title's demise? One theory suggests the answer has little to do with the evolution of the online publishing sector. Rather, it goes back decades to a fundamental shift in the US manufacturing business. According to Doug, "Purchasing's revenues came from largely manufacturing companies going back into the 1970s. Eventually, much of that business moved to Asia and producers, distributors and manufacturers stopped advertising, which then started a downhill slide." So there you have it. Ironically -- because they covered the topic so well -- we can directly thank global sourcing for Purchasing's downturn.

Stay tuned for further coverage of Purchasing's closure in the coming days.

- Jason Busch

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