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Thursday, December 5, 2013

"The Big Issue"

Anson Wang & Kane Chang

        Have you ever seen a man standing in front of the school gate holding a magazine?  You might wonder who he is and what he is doing.  In fact, he is a salesperson for The Big Issue, a charitable magazine for homeless people.  After talking with him, we decided to find out more about this magazine.
All graphics courtesy The Big Issue Foundation (
        The Big Issue is a magazine from London.  In 1991, the first issue of The Big Issue was released.  Now, after 20 years, we can buy The Big Issue in more than 10 countries, including the UK, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan.  The content of the magazine is different in each country.

      The Big Issue is a kind of entertainment magazine.  The articles in this magazine are mainly about the arts, technology, business, and the global environment. The Big Issue is not only an arts magazine but a charitable magazine.  It is sold by homeless people, who can get 10 free copies from the publisher at first.  These salespersons keep all of the sales revenue from these 10 copies.  If they wish to continue, these The Big Issue salespeople buy another 10 copies at half price. When they sell these magazines, they keep half of the money from their sales.  Each time they sell all their magazines, they buy 10 more magazines with half of the money they earn. For example, when they sell a magazine for NT$100, they earn NT$50 for themselves.

        The Big Issue is the publication of a not-for-profit organization, The Big Issue Company Ltd.  This company earns income through selling The Big Issue and advertisements in the magazine.  The company also attracts the attention of both individuals and corporations holding concerts and sport activities such as “The Bike Day” and “The Big Issue Concert”.  Nowadays, there are 9 corporations and organizations that support The Big Issue in Taiwan; one of their most famous financial supporters is WEOA, the Taiwan consultants for HP, APPLE, SONY, and Ford.

        We really like The Big Issue.  Not only can buying this magazine help homeless people, but it can help readers stay informed about what is happening around the world.  You will see salespersons of The Big Issue at many universities and train stations.  If you have a chance to talk to the salesperson, you will be surprised by them and also by the magazine they sell, The Big Issue.

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