People want to buy back issues of newspapers for many reasons. Perhaps they themselves featured in the newspaper or they wrote a letter that was published but they weren't able to collect a paper that day.
Most articles that have more than around 100 words are usually published on the news source's website. But some people still like a hard copy for scrapbooking or framing or keeping a record of their own work if they're a journalist or press officer. If this is the case then there are several routes to try before actually spending cash to buy a copy.
- Ask friends, family, work colleagues or neighbours if they have the issue you're after.
- Post an advert on local forums to see if anybody living in the same area has a spare copy.
- Ring the newspaper and politely ask the receptionist or a reporter if they would mind digging out an old copy. There's always plenty to hand in newsrooms and somebody may offer to give the old paper for free of sell it to you at the retail price if you collect it.
- Visit the local library to see if they will let you have the newspaper from the day you're looking for.
- Try pubs, cafes, restaurants, take-aways and similar places where they buy papers for customers to read.
Having exhausted those five options it may be time to buy a back copy. Local newspapers are more reader friendly and community based and they will be able to dig out old copies from for a few quid. But national newspapers are busier and more organised when it comes to making money. Whichever newspaper you're looking for, try the following options.
- Ring the switchboard or receptionist and explain that you'd like to buy a back issue. They may transfer you call to a department that deals with sales or give you an email address. These details are also listed on newspapers' websites. For example, The Sun and Daily Telegraph keep their old papers in storage and can supply back copies, either themselves or through the storage company. Links to the sections of their websites that detail this service can be found here.
One of the biggest back issue companies that stock several titles is OCS worldwide. They're quite good value and stock a good range of titles. For the full titles see the website. But as an example, a copy of the Daily Mail from June 15 2004 costs Â£11. Not bad.
The Daily Express and Daily Star (same owner) use UK Press Online to supply their back copies. The issues are available to view online for a small registration cost.
- Buy direct from the internet. A number of independent websites offer back issues online. These have stock stretching back decades. However, the older the newspaper is and if you're looking for an exact date then the more they charge. This can go up to Â£100 for an issue but go as far back as the Victorian times. Some of these ''novelty'' back issues that are very historic can go quite cheaply for as little as Â£5.
So there we have several different options to picking up a hard copy of an old newspaper. Good luck finding what you're looking for.