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Fashionable Mini Is a First

The petite version of Harper's Bazaar is small enough for handbag carriers. A big reason behind the magazine innovation: slumping U.S. sales.


Harper's Bazaar has spawned a cute offspring, a mini-Bazaar, which is to be on newsstands this week alongside the regular-size glossy. This is a first for any U.S. magazine, the publishers say. The new version is 30% smaller--handbag-size, if you carry a large handbag. Only a stylish bag will do, of course.

"People who are real fashion aficionados will probably buy both, and newer readers might just be attracted by the novelty," Editor in Chief Katherine Betts said, acknowledging that a big reason for the small format is to counteract slumping newsstand sales. Betts said she got the idea last year from an Australian edition of Harper's Bazaar and "loved it immediately. . . . We wondered why no one is doing it in the U.S."

The 7-by-9 1/4-inch version, with everything the same but shrunk, should be especially handy for airports and shopping expeditions, she said, which is why it's debuting for March, the big spring fashion issue for the 700,000-circulation magazine. An extra 100,000 copies of the mini have been printed. Both versions cost $3.


Meanwhile, March is also a month for innovation at Essence. The 1-million-circulation magazine for black women comes in one size only but contains two issues: Flip over and turn upside-down the $2.75 monthly, and you see a new cover; both feature the singer Sade. One issue, of 104 pages, features fashion and beauty; the upside-down 106 pages cover careers.

And what madness is this? The Vintage paperback of Dave Eggers' bestselling "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" (in stores now) also has a flip-over upside-down cover, with 48 pages of additions and corrections. Moreover, buyers have a choice of three versions of the flip side.

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