The Wall Street Journal, boosted by a 22 percent increase in sales of its electronic edition, has held on to its crown as the top-selling U.S. newspaper. The WSJ’s total average circulation rose 1.2 percent, to 2.1 million, which included 504,734 digital non-replica copies.
The figures came out today as part of the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Fas-Fax circulation report covering the six months ended March 31.
Without those digital copies, the WSJ’s print circulation was 1,613,062, second to USA Today, which moved 1.8 million copies, including 24,579 digital replica copies. USA Today’s total average daily circulation rose slightly compared to the same period last year, to 1.83 million, the paper’s first gain in two years. The increase of less than 1 percent reflects an increased sale of digital editions to schools and a rise in business travel, which USA Today depends on more than most newspapers for single-copy sales.
Coming up behind those two papers was The New York Times, whose average circulation declined 3.6 percent, to 916,911. That includes 47,078 digital replica copies and 53,442 digital non-replica copies. (Those figures include school-distributed copies and copies distributed on e-readers like the Nook and Kindle and don't account for the paper's digital metered model, which took effect after the March 31 reporting period ended.) The paper’s total print-only circulation stood at 816,391.
This marks the first year that ABC’s new circulation categories took effect, making year-over-year comparisons imperfect. The old top-line number commonly used, “total paid circulation,” was replaced with “total average circulation” to better reflect a publication’s audience across channels. This year’s top-line number adds verified circulation, a category that encompasses the third-party paid circulation and copies distributed in schools and to employees, plus less-commonly used branded editions.