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Salient. An organ of student opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 5 April 19, 1939

On all Sides

On all Sides.

To see how bad the position is in Wellington in the literary field, we have only to look around us. In the city and suburbs there are at least 150 shops, possibly 200, selling popular magazines (the minimum figure is vouched for from a reliable source the writer cannot divulge, but it probably does not include all shops). One such shop (of the popular news stand type) for which subscription figures were obtained, sold in one month two copies of a group of four-teen serious and responsible periodicals like "The New Statesman." and "The Spectator," 150 of a group of ten magazines of the more "entertaining type" like "Punch," "John o' London's," "Man." "Strand." etc., and at least 700 of the True Story Western Story group. There were probably many more of the quality of this last group sold, because the screen magazines were unfortunately omitted from the list submitted to the proprietors.

Now, it is doubtful If (In the wholes of Wellington) more than half-a-dozen shops out of the total of 150-200 have a sale worth mentioning of periodicals with any purpose besides that of making profit for their owners. To arrive, therefore, at a fairly accurate idea of the extent to which the public buy and read these quite irresponsible magazines we must multiply the sales of the shop for which I have given figures by something like 20. In a sensational article published about a year ago. "Truth" declared that 3,000,000 of those "filthy" magazines were imported annually into this country. How these figures were arrived at, I don't know, but, if they are accurate, the position is rather deplorable.

The characteristic brand of phantasy in these magazines may be described as masturbatory.