Magazines’ newsstand sales plummeted in the last six months of 2009, and subscriptions dropped as well.
Newsstand sales for the 472 consumer titles in the United States measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulations declined 9.1 percent, to 39.3 million, in the last half of 2009 versus the same period a year earlier, the organization reported this morning. That follows an 11.12 percent decline from July through December 2007 compared to July through December 2008.
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Some of the well-known titles with dramatic single-copy declines included W, down 41.7 percent to about 25,000 for an average issue; Newsweek, down 41.3 percent to about 62,000 (Newsweek had decreased the number of copies on sale, noted a spokesman); SmartMoney, down 37 percent to about 26,000; Time, down 34.9 percent to about 90,000; Good Housekeeping, down 30.7 percent to 395,000; and Redbook, down 30.1 percent to 126,000.
Newsstand sales tend to be driven by the economy and are a more timely indicator of a magazine’s vitality than subscriptions, which tend to lag and which can be driven by heavy discounting. While newsstand sales are a small percentage of most magazines’ circulation, they are a profitable part of it — publishers typically charge only a fraction of the newsstand price for a subscription copy.
Read More: By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD, New York Times