NEW YORK - If you've ever tried to kill time in your doctor's waiting room by reading magazines that seemed to be several months old, chances are those magazines were, in fact, brand new.
Pyramid Publishing Company of Cincinnati is the world's largest publisher of seemingly outdated, brand-name magazines exclusively for doctors' waiting rooms. "It surprises people when we tell them that our magazines are new but that we purposely make them appear to be four to six months old," said Pyramid's CEO Benjamin Cardozo. "We intentionally fill them with old news, and we make the covers appear to be worn, sometimes even missing."
Pyramid has seen its business of selling new "old" magazines quadruple in the past five years. "I can't print new 'old' magazines fast enough," said Cardozo. The obvious question is, why do physicians buy magazines that appear to be outdated? Cardozo explained that there are two reasons. "First, is theft. Up-to-date magazines wouldn't last more than a day or two before someone 'borrowed' them. Second, patients have come to expect old magazines in waiting rooms. The fact is, any doctor with magazines that appear to be new is viewed as suspect, maybe even incompetent. So it's a trust issue."
Cardozo says that some physicians pay a little more to have Pyramid simulate an address label that appears to have been removed to obscure the address. "This gives the illusion that the doctor cares enough about his or her patients to actually bring magazines from home," says Cardozo.