U.S. magazine sales fell nearly 10 percent in the first half of 2012, a troubling sign for publishers that suggests Americans are still being careful about discretionary spending, states an Associated Press report.
According to the AP story, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said that overall circulation, including subscriptions, was just about flat from a year earlier. But single-copy sales, which are more closely watched — because publishers make more money from them — continued to fall. Subscriptions are typically sold at a discount so publishers can increase their circulation and attract advertisers.
The industry group said that single-copy sales at newsstands and other retailers totaled 26.4 million in the first six months of 2012. That's down from 29.1 million in the same period last year.
The AP report continued: Cosmopolitan was still the top-selling magazine at newsstands, even though its sales fell nearly 16 percent to 1.4 million. Most of the top 25 best-selling magazines saw their sales decline. Family Circle and Woman's Day were among the exceptions. Weight Watchers magazine saw the biggest sales decline — nearly 28 percent, to 325,950 copies in the first six months of the year.
Total circulation, which includes digital sales such as issues sold on the iPad, was just about flat at 297.1 million. Paid subscriptions grew 1 percent to 260 million from 257.2 million.