Presses to fall silent at UK's Independent as paper goes online-only

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LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Britain's Independent newspaper is to disappear from news stands next month after its Russian owner said the 29-year-old title would only publish online, in the starkest sign yet of the pressures weighing on the newspaper industry.

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The paper launched by a group of journalists in 1986 with the slogan "it is - are you?" has become Britain's highest-profile casualty of the change in news reading habits brought about by the Internet.

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Presses to fall silent at UK's Independent as paper goes online-only
A copy of The Independent newspaper is taken from a news-stand outside a shop in London, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. The owners of Britainâs Independent newspaper ESI say it will publish its last print edition on March 26, and its sister paper the Independent on Sunday will end with the March 20 issue, according to owner Evgeny Lebedev who says the Independent brand will continue online. Itâs not clear how many people will lose their jobs. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: In this photo illustration is a selection of the The Independent newspapers on February 12, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. The British newspaper 'The Independent' which has been in circulation since 1986, will move to a 'digital only' platform from March 26, 2016, the owners ESI Media said in a statement today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: In this photo illustration a selection of UK national newspapers are displayed together on October 30, 2013 in London, England. The publishers of UK newspapers and magazines are at the High Court in London today seeking an injunction to prevent a royal charter being passed on the government's plan for a new press regulation. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Printer Russel Spelany inspects a copy of The Independent newspaper at Trinity Mirror's factory in Watford, U.K., on Tuesday, April 13, 2010. Trinity Mirror Plc, publisher of the U.K.'s Daily Mirror newspaper, said full-year revenue dropped to 763.3 million pounds from 871.7 million pounds in the previous 12 months. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Copies of the British national daily newspaper The Independent are pictured in London, on March 25, 2010. Former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev has bought Britain's struggling Independent and Independent on Sunday for a token one pound, the newspapers' publisher said Thursday. AFP PHOTO/Ben Stansall (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: A detail view of the logo of The Independent newspaper on March 25, 2010 in London, England. The Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers have been bought by Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev for 1 GBP from the Independent News & Media. Mr Lebedev also owns the London Evening Standard newspaper which he bought for 1 GBP last year and is now given away for free, raising speculation the same may happen to the Independent. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Illustrative image of The Independent newspaper. (Photo by: Newscast/UIG via Getty Images)
A member of the public selects a newspaper from a news stand in London, Friday, May 7, 2010. Britain's two main parties seem locked in a power struggle Friday as they wait for final results to be declared, after an inconclusive General Election, and leaving small independent parties with the potential of negotiating a position of power. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)
Paris, FRANCE: A man reads the British 'The Independent' newspaper 28 July 2006 in a Parisian cafe. Some 42 notable figures signed a letter published on the front page of The Independent newspaper today calling for Blair to ally Britain to the United Nations and demand an immediate ceasefire. British Prime Minister Tony Blair left for talks with US President George W. Bush in Washington as pressure rose at home and abroad for an immediate ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel. AFP PHOTO - FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, United Kingdom: A man reads a copy of Tuesday 16 May 2006 edition of the Independent newspaper in London. Irish rock star Bono added journalism to his CV on Tuesday with a turn as guest editor of the British newspaper The Independent dedicated to combating AIDS and the poverty it inflicts in Africa. 'No News Today, just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease,' read the poster-style front page -- designed by artist Damien Hirst -- of the liberal-minded daily. AFP PHOTO/CARL DE SOUZA (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
The new smaller version of the The Independent newspaper, which was published for the first time Tuesday Sept.30, 2003, alongside the regular broadsheet which was launched in 1986 . The Independent said it was the only newpaper in the world to offer a choice of size, both editions carry the same material at the same length. (AP Photo/John D McHugh)
Tony Benn at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth 2003, reading a copy of the Independent newspaper.. (Photo by Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images)
English Labour politician and writer, Michael Foot, sitting in the conference hall and holding a copy of the Independent newspaper during the Labour Party Conference, 1992. The pensioner's leader and former leader of the Transport Workers Union, Jack Jones, is sitting behind him (second from left). (Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

From a peak of around 400,000 copies a day, circulation has fallen to just over 40,000.

"This decision preserves the Independent brand and allows us to continue to invest in the high quality editorial content that is attracting more and more readers to our online platforms," said owner Evgeny Lebedev in a statement on Friday.

"The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers," he added. "They're showing us that the future is digital."

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