Friday, May 29, 2009

Does size matter? The jury is out!

A free daily in California has reduced the height of its pages from 16 inches to 11.25 inches.

The Palo Alto Daily News made the change May 5, according to the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club. The move was required when the paper changed press rooms. But it raises the question of what size do readers prefer?

We don't have any opinion on that, but we can see the pros and cons. The pros are that a smaller paper might fit under a person's arm better and increase page count. The cons are that there are fewer objects to see on each page and a taller paper won't be mistaken for junk mail.

Palo Alto, a city about 30 miles south of San Francisco, is a fiercely competitive market for free dailies, with the Palo Alto Daily News (recently changing its name to "The Daily News") dominating the market for years. The Daily Journal, based in San Mateo, began distributing in Palo Alto a few years ago. And the founders of the Daily News, who sold the paper in 2005, have started the Palo Alto Daily Post. And each paper has a different page size. It may take years to sort out which page size readers prefer the most.