End Of An Era: Boston's Out Of Town News To Shutter

Out of Town News, an iconic newsstand in Boston's Harvard Square selling newspapers and magazines from all around the world, is <a href="http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/news/business/x776451081/Iconic-Harvard-Square-newstand-to-close">shutting down</a>, citing competitive pressure from people reading online.

Mitch Wagner, California Bureau Chief, Light Reading

November 19, 2008

2 Min Read

Out of Town News, an iconic newsstand in Boston's Harvard Square selling newspapers and magazines from all around the world, is shutting down, citing competitive pressure from people reading online.
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Fittingly, I didn't learn about Out Of Town News shutting down from a newspaper or news magazine. I learned about it from Harry McCracken on Twitter, who posted the news moments after he tweeted about the end of another icon of print journalism, PC Magazine.

McCracken is himself an icon of print journalism making a transition: He's former editor of PC World, where he worked for 14 years (according to his Wikipedia entry). He left that magazine this year to found Technologizer, a technology Web site.

Kallol Barua, general manager of Out of Town News, said this year has been the hardest on his business. He would not confirm the closing of the newsstand, which has been around since 1955, but said it is an option on the table.

"Nobody buys newspapers anymore," he said. "People are reading everything online mostly."

Barua said the kiosk suffered most when Harvard Square was undergoing major renovations, closing off lanes, and making it hard for drivers to pull over and park without getting a ticket.

"The construction killed everybody," he said. "We lost a lot of customers."

Barua said they tried everything to save the business, including extending their hours. Other obstacles included thieves stealing bundles of magazines, and competition across the street at NiNi's Corner newsstand.

One city councilor said the space should be used for a bike-sharing program, which I think is fittingly futuristic.

I have a personal connection to Out of Town News; I lived in Cambridge about a mile away, and used to ride the light rail -- called the "T" in Boston -- into Harvard Square, often stopping at Out of Town News. When our friend Joe Haldeman had a short story published in Playboy, I bought two copies -- one for me, one for my girlfriend (who is now my wife). The guy who sold the magazines gave me the fish-eye. I could see him wondering: What degenerate activity required two copies of Playboy?

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

California Bureau Chief, Light Reading

Mitch Wagner is California bureau chief for Light Reading.

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