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Paper Magazine Chief Dishes on the Huge Impact of Kim Kardashian Cover

You won't be able to get the racy cover on newsstands

The provocative diva raised the small magazine's profile immensely.

Kim Kardashian's Paper magazine cover may not have technically broken the Internet, but it was certainly a breakthrough moment for the 30-year-old title. With a circulation of just 155,000—roughly the same as Cat Fancy, for comparison—Paper is a relatively small title, with about 70 percent of its readers in New York and Los Angeles. This week, however, Paper became a familiar name for pretty much anyone with Internet access.

"It is definitely the largest moment we've ever had, both digitally and from a media perspective," Drew Elliott, Paper's chief creative officer, told Adweek. "It's definitely touched every market across the globe."

So far, the cover story has driven nearly 16 million page views and 11.4 million unique visitors on PaperMag.com. (The website usually receives about half a million UVs per month.) Its social media footprint has also exploded: On Instagram alone, Paper's followers rose from 128,000 pre-Kardashian to a current 152,000. And that’s not to mention the seemingly endless number of #BreakTheInternet memes inspired by Kardashian's bare backside. (For the record, Elliott's personal favorite is the Homer Simpson version.)

The magazine is also printing an additional 35,000 copies of the new issue to accommodate massive newsstand demand. Quantities of the nude cover, however, will be limited to just 10,000 copies. Retailers and subscribers will only be receiving the champagne cover, so anyone looking to get their hands on the racier version will have to purchase it on PaperMag.com.

According to Elliott, the now-infamous nude cover (or, as he called it, "the butt shot") wasn't actually part of the original concept. Paper had asked Jean-Paul Goude, the legendary French photographer and one-time art director at Esquire, to recreate his 1976 photo of a model resting a champagne glass on her ample derrière with Kardashian as the star. But during the shoot, Kardashian began to do a striptease, and thus the revealing photo spread was born.

"From the get-go, [Kardashian] said, 'I'm ready to do this,'" said Elliott. "She was very familiar with Jean-Paul and very excited to work with him."

As for what's next for Paper, Elliott said that the magazine will be producing more "event" covers, and there's also a website redesign in the works. (The print magazine underwent a major design overhaul in September.)

"We wanted to use this [cover] to help establish ourselves digitally," said Elliott. "We never could have imagined that it would be this successful."

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