U.S. magazine sales at newsstands and other retailers fell at a faster pace in the second half of 2010 than they did in the first half.
So-called single-copy sales fell 7.3 percent to 32.7 million in the July-December period, compared with a year earlier. In the first half of 2010, sales by this measure fell 5.6 percent to about 32.5 million, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The decline had been 9 percent in the last six months of 2009.
Single-copy sales offer an important gauge of the industry's health. Many titles sell heavily discounted subscriptions, so full-price newsstand copies tend to be the better indication of a magazine's vitality.
The number of paid magazine subscriptions slid 1.2 percent, in the second half of 2010, to 263 million. Overall sales declined nearly 1.2 percent to about 308.4 million copies.
Magazine sales dropped during the recession as readers saved extra cash. But the industry is also getting pressured by an increasing amount of free material to read on the Web including online versions of magazines and newspapers, and blogs.
Hearst Corp.'s Cosmopolitan was still the top-selling magazine on newsstands in the last half of 2010, though its single-copy sales fell 10.7 percent to about 1.6 million from a year earlier. No. 2 Woman's World gained 9.1 percent to 1.3 million. Wired magazine's single-copy sales surged 28.2 percent to 105,614, making it the top gainer.
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