Updated: September 1, 2016, 3:31 p.m.
Gainesville Regional Airport will no longer provide local magazines for visitors—unless the publishers agree to pay for distribution.
A recent change in policy requires publishers to contract with Departure Media to have their magazines freely distributed throughout the airport. The decision came after the airport had problems controlling which publications were made available, according to Gainesville airport spokeswoman, Laura Aguiar.
Aguiar said before the policy change, the airport had struggled with tracking which publishers were following through with the trade agreement. The collection and recycling of business cards and catalogs being left throughout the airport also added up to become costly.
Other publishers had problems with deliveries arriving before the airport opened and packages being left unattended which created security issues, Aguiar said.
GRA was previously the only airport in the area that allowed local magazines, as neither Ocala nor Jacksonville allow free publications.
Departure Media, which handles advertising and sales at the airport, will rent magazine rack space and handle drop-off and distribution of the periodicals, a service that was left unattended in the previous trade agreement.
Aguiar said they used to allow publishers to put their periodicals in the airport, as long as they provided their own rack and placed an ad for the airport inside the copies. But after materials started showing up that had not been approved, the airport asked publishers to pay for placement.
“No publishers have taken up the…offer,” she wrote. “So, no more free publications at this time.”
Some readers are upset and confused by the loss, said Michael Peterson, director of communications for Advantage Publishing, which prints Living in Greater Gainesville, Business in Greater Gainesville and Guide to Greater Gainesville.
“The airport made the changes and decided to take our magazines away, and we were getting phone calls left and right asking why our magazines were gone,” Peterson said.
Peterson said that out of their hundreds of racks in the area, this is the first time they have been asked to pay to use one. Peterson said that they thought the arrangement was mutually beneficial, and provided travelers with useful information.
Peterson said he understands that it could be a problem “if they’re inundated with publications, especially if they aren’t that reputable. But our publications are known as some of the best in town, so for us it’s nothing but a hit.”
Peterson could not divulge information about what their previous agreement with the airport had entailed.
Scott Costello, CEO of Advantage Publishing, said that he believed their relationship with the airport had lasted for over 10 years. He said that while the decision is disappointing, they will still maintain a positive working relationship with GRA.
“From an airport perspective, I understand why they did it,” Costello said.
Some magazines had been available in the airport for years. Scott Schroeder, publisher of The Business Report of North Central Florida, said that the magazine had been there since before he bought the publication three years ago.
As people continue to come through Gainesville Regional Airport on business, Schroeder said he thought it made sense for visitors to have access to their magazine.
“We’ve never had a request to pay, so it just seemed out of the ordinary,” Schroeder said. “It doesn’t seem like something that there should be a fee for.”
Although Aguiar wrote that national magazines will still be stocked at the airport store, and there will be free brochures at the Visit Gainesville desk, Schroeder and Peterson both seemed concerned that travelers are missing out.
“I would just assume that no one is going to pay to be there. I would also make the assumption that their passengers are going to miss the resources that have been there,” Schroeder said. “It was a nice service that all of the local magazines provided to the travelers out of the airport.”
Schroeder said that he had never been aware of the placement requiring trade in return, that he had viewed it as a free location for his magazines to be displayed.
The empty racks are still in the airport, but have been removed from the floor and placed into temporary storage. Aguiar said the racks are expensive and owned by the individual publishers and therefore should be collected by them.
Editors note: This story has been corrected to accurately attribute quotes and sourcing to Laura Aguiar, spokeswoman for Gainesville Regional Aiport. The previous version mistaken attributed her quotes and information to Naomi Langley. It also corrects the previous headline which stated local magazines are banned from the airport.