Newsstand sales of consumer magazines slump

With the presidential primaries, the Occupy movement, continued unrest in the Middle East and the Kim Kardashian wedding disaster, it's not as if there was a shortage of news in the second half of 2011. But you wouldn't know it looking at newsstand sales for the nation's magazines.

Single-copy sales of consumer magazines took a major hit in the second half of last year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Publishers sold 28.9 million newsstand copies, 10% less than the number sold over the same period in 2010.

Women's and celebrity rags especially suffered. All three of the highest-volume publications slipped, with Cosmopolitan down 6.7%, Woman's World 8.3% and People 12%.

Other major titles, including InStyle, National Enquirer and Vanity Fair, endured double-digit plunges as stores pushed magazine racks into less-trafficked aisles and consumers resisted impulse buys. Newsstand sales for O, the Oprah Magazine, dived 32%.

Blame it on the Internet? A survey from Pew Research Center shows that 47% of American adults now get at least some of their news on a smartphone or tablet computer.

Meanwhile, paid and verified circulation for magazine subscriptions slumped 1%.

AARP, which produces 22 million copies each of its two monthly publications — AARP the Magazine and AARP Bulletin — saw paid circulation slump nearly 6%.

There were some bright spots. Video game publication Game Informer saw a 48% jump in circulation to 7.5 million.

And some magazines that did not do so well at newsstands had an increase in circulation when subscriptions were included. Among them: Cosmopolitan and Glamour.

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