A compact newspaper is a broadsheet-quality newspaper printed in a tabloid format (slightly taller), especially one in the United Kingdom. The term as used for this size (not to be confused with 108 mm × 171 mm or 4.3 in × 6.7 in paper sizes) came into use after The Independent began producing a smaller format edition in 2003 for London's commuters, designed to be easier to read when using mass transit.
Readers from other parts of the country liked the new format, with the result that The Independent introduced it nationally. The Times and The Scotsman copied the format as The Independent increased sales. The Times and The Scotsman are now printed exclusively in compact format following trial periods during which both broadsheet and compact version were produced simultaneously. The Independent published its last paper edition on 20 March 2016 and now appears on-line only.
The term "compact" was coined in the 1970s by the Daily Mail when that newspaper went tabloid, although the Mail now calls itself a tabloid. "Compact" is used to differentiate newspapers with more traditional content from those with a flamboyant or salacious publishing style, even though they may share the same size. The functional opposite of compact is red top, as the nameplates of British sensationalist tabloids tend to be red.
- "'The Independent' launches tabloid version to give readers a choice". The Independent. London. 27 September 2003.