US Motorcycle Magazines Circulation

Below are the 1st semester 2008 data of ABC (Audit Bureau Of Circulation) comparing the main US motorcycle magazines. Please note that 1- Not all magazines subscribe to ABC, and for those mentioned as unaudited the numbers come from the publisher’s own emails to advertisers or from the publisher’s own printed statements. 2-That some magazines are stronger with subscribers and others in newsstand sales. 3- That if you take in account all Cycle Industry Print Magazines, numbers are down by an average of only 5%. (and not 50% as mentioned in a former email) thanks to the very large and very stable audience of Cycle World Magazine (319,337).  4- That for the ABC audited magazines mentioned here, total paid circulation is down from 1.4% (Cycle world) to 24.9% (V-Twin). Not being ABC audited, I have no ABC information regarding IronWorks Magazine, Cycle Source, American Rider, The Horse and other magazines. They are free to publish their numbers in the comments section.











Added Sept. 15, 10.30 AM EST. 1- The subscription to ABC is very expensive, reason why some magazines don’t subscribe. 2- Evidently, a reader decides his magazine taking in account its content, not its circulation. 3- Rules of distribution imposed recently by some big chains make it more difficult for newer magazines to find a place on the newsstand.  


37 Responses to “US Motorcycle Magazines Circulation”

  1. 1 jspfc Sep 14th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Is it a really a big shock that circulation is down? For starters there is a lot more competition with all the new magazines and once you have read one magazine, you have basically read them all. They all have the same format and boring articles over and over and over.

  2. 2 George Prince Sep 14th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Read this blog and you get news 2 months in advance. Different news too. Maybe Cyril has his own share of responsiblity in mags readership decline. Like with manufacturers, builders, etc we gonna see closings or consolidation in the print media industry. What’s the difference between them anyway? Same stuff based on same press releases.

  3. 3 Brodnick Sep 14th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I don’t care about circulation. I read Cycle Source Mag & Cyril. Nothing else worth it.

  4. 4 Speedo Sep 14th, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    “for those mentioned as unaudited the numbers come from the publisher’s own emails to advertisers or from the publisher’s own printed statements”

    So, if I understand, these unaudited magazines can state the number of readers they want, without verification??? Unbelievable! I am curious. How do they decide their “non official numbers”? Total copies printed but not sold? Never believe in truth in advertising.

  5. 5 Knucklehead Sep 15th, 2008 at 7:47 am

    I still like to read a magazine and the newspaper. I can sit in the recliner and enjoy. I can only sit here so long and I cramp up. As far as being the same? Well you put the front page of 100 blogs and you have a magazine. But with a magazine it’s all in your hands now at one time. And yes the news here may come faster but there is still the relaxing feeling of reading it on paper.

  6. 6 Hammer Sep 15th, 2008 at 8:54 am

    ABC data is highly inflated and not a reliable source of circulation. If you compare other sources of circulation to that of ABC data you’re not presenting a fair comparison. Plus, if you pull data from the statement of ownership it’s not going to reflect the liberal numbers from and ABC report, so this report is not accurate in the least, as presented.

  7. 7 Brandon Sep 15th, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Hammer. So, what is the reliable source of info if it’s not ABC?

  8. 8 Jay Dee Sep 15th, 2008 at 9:21 am

    After reading some of the replys here its obvious we are dealing with a lot of experts who don’t have a clue what they are talking about. I guess they like to hear their own opinions and don’t bother with the facts.

    The Harley market is in the toilet – just look at the sales of new and used Harleys, Big Dog and American Iron Horse. No surpeise the mag sales are down too. Of the Harley mags, the only one that seems to be holding up at all is American Iron – down just 5.9% in sales. The others seem be be getting creamed. Hot Bike down 13.9% Easyriders down 18.2% and V-Twin down 24.9%!

    So whats the deal with the other magazines like The Horse, IronWorks, Hot Bike Baggers, American Rider, American Bagger and the others? Why would they not have their sales audited? My guess is they have something to hide.

    Over and out.

  9. 9 rebel Sep 15th, 2008 at 9:22 am

    In my humble opinion THE HORSE is the only magazine on that list that has an ounce of character or personal relationship with it’s readership, that’s been a dying part of all the others that they can’t fake with glossy super thin pages full of ads. Do yourself a favor, pick up a copy of THE HORSE today.

  10. 10 Hammer Sep 15th, 2008 at 9:35 am

    The Horse is not ABC audited, so to place it on the spreadsheet as if the numbers came from ABC is misleading and irresponsible. It would take more space than I have here to explain the way numbers are manipulated on ABC or why ABC numbers are, in my opinion, bogus. The numbers Cyril used, for example, are a percentage of the total as reported on the statement of ownership. He didn’t even read the report correctly. A more accurate way of showing circulation strength is to pull down a report from each bookstore, for example, and see how each mag rates. If you look at Barnes and Noble, The Horse is the 4rd largest motorcycle magazine sold, behind Easyriders (10th), Bike (14), Superbike (15) and The Horse (16). This is out of 475 titles in Transportation. Cycle World is 32, Hot Bike is 141, while American Iron is 41. Those that he can not find data on are Iron Works, 183, American Rider 180 and Cycle Source 270, ahead of Iron Horse at 305.

    All outlets have similar numbers in ranking order. The Horse is at the top in each store, with ER being the only competition on the rack. ABC doesn’t show this because of dollar subs to home offices are counted as “ciruclation,” and dollar subs to warehouses are also counted.

    This report, as depicted, is very wrong and misleading.

  11. 11 customfighterer Sep 15th, 2008 at 11:27 am

    The reason that circulation with those magazines is down is because most of them are ‘chopper, cruiser, metric, harley’ mags….a motorcycle scene which has plateaued and is now on the decline. everyone is sick of the same old thing…what do you think their magazines look like ?? THE SAME THING EVERY MONTH!!

    make way for the new magazine and scene in motorcycling in North America – Street Fighters!

  12. 12 Jay Dee Sep 15th, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Hammer. We are always trying to figure out where to spend our limited ad dollars and it gets pretty confusing with all the claims made by all the magazines.

    How many copies does The Horse sell in total in all stores, and how many of your copies are sold in Barnes & Noble?

  13. 13 Hammer Sep 15th, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Our subscription base is about 10%, which is where I like it to be. Those are bona fide subs, not bogus dollar subs to a warehouse. We print about 200,000. Our efficiency is about 55%. If you discount the 10% for subs, we’re selling about 99,000 at the news stands. Total readership is higher, of course, because we send a lot of comp copies all over, which I do not count in these numbers. Walmart is about 30% of our rack sales. We are very strong at Walmart, holding well over 50% in sales.

    I could claim 250,000 in circulation, with only 100,000 actually being circulated. I could hide the 150,000 and pump up the numbers. If I had the money, I could buy back my mags at $1.00 each, store them in a warehouse, and consider it an investment by inflating ABC numbers. I could also offer $1.00 subs to places that would never even look at the mag, just to pump up the numbers. ABC doesn’t mean squat. The reason I don’t buy into ABC is because it’s an expensive way of misrepresenting the numbers. I’m not saying that all the mags listed misrepresent the circulation, but I resent Cyril placing me on this spreadsheet without asking me what the numbers are and by placing a fraction of the statement of ownership on his spreadsheet.

  14. 14 Bill EE Sep 15th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    With respect to all these mags on this forum, you’re all missing the true numbers…Cyril too…while i might look at this blog occasionally….i don’t make it a point to see it every day nor do i subscribe or buy these newstands mags…I pickup the free mags at my dealership and get more info on runs and rallies right around me…i see pics of people i know and my pic even showed up in one! . The Rider News is probably the best one but I pick them all up…whenever i’m in wal mart all i see is teenage kids looking at the bike mags…if i were an advertiser, I’d be in the mags that go where the riders are…in the dealerships,at bike nights and at rallies…..just my humble opinion…but with the economy being the way it is, I’m glad I’m not in this business to make a living.

  15. 15 HRCC Sep 15th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    All in all, after it is all said and done,what this article is really about is Cyril attempting to draw advertising to his blog. Over the last few blog posts, he has been attempting to show us why we should advertise with him. Showing the ABC numbers, whether they be right or wrong, is part of the strategy.

  16. 16 Cyril Huze Sep 15th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    HRCC. It is my opinion that a blog and a print magazine are complementary. Regarding your statement where do you see Cyril Huze Blog being compared to any print magazines? Nowhere. Maybe I will one day, but didn’t. The former post you refer to is about getting links to my Blog. Why not? Several print magazines already placed a long time ago a link to my Blog. Several magazines also write in my Blog. Did you notice that I post very often about magazines, their bike shows, etc and that in each article I place 1 or several links to their websites? There are many more links going to their sites placed by me than the opposite. Regarding advertising, yes I have somebody prospecting it. Why not? You get free reading. Guess how? Are you paid when you work? In conclusion and by definition the ABC numbers can refer only to print magazines, not to a digital magazine. So your assumption is flawed.

  17. 17 Hammer Sep 15th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    But I don’t think Cyril would publish information he knows to be in error just for the sake of publicity. I think his strategy is to present an accurate, informative, unbiased report on the motorcycle industry. If there’s an error, I’m sure it’s not intentional.

  18. 18 Colleen Sep 15th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Hammer, since you are sighting your statement of ownership (which was printed in the September issue of the Horse) in your posts I was wondering how you can say that you print 200,000 when your statement says you print 142,000? Also, you state in your post that you sell 99,000 on the news stands yet your statment of ownership states that you distribute a little over 48,000 with an additional 1,026 free subscriptions? All of that added up still only comes to 59,643?

    Would you please explain for us the descrepancy in these numbers?

  19. 19 Hammer Sep 15th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    I did…

  20. 20 Speedo Sep 15th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    No, Hammer, you didn’t explain anything about the discrepency, and you know it.

  21. 21 Gerber Sep 15th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    For a non industry person it sounds like all motorcycle magazines need to be audited by the same independent company. Why is it not done? I guess, to confuse advertisers about who is big and who is not. More interesting would be demographic and economic profiles

  22. 22 In Media Sep 15th, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Belonging to the industry I can say that the data published by Cyril are the ones already circulated by several magazines for their advertising prospection. Cyril is just reporting. Nohing wrong doing it.

  23. 23 GAMBLER Sep 16th, 2008 at 2:42 am

    subscribe to…

    CYCLE WORLD (had a sub before I had a lic)
    BIKE uk

    like someone already said, the stuff is out on the web months before it hits the mags… for FREE

  24. 24 steveb Sep 16th, 2008 at 9:15 am

    ha – good luck unraveling the voodoo that is magazine circulation: ya got ABC audits, ya got subs, ya got newsstand, ya got the shredder at the distributors, ya got “efficiency’s”, ya got give-aways, ya got print numbers vs. other numbers, so who the hell knows…. really what you (the business man trying to figure this mess out so he knows where to put his ad dollars) is an archaic, medieval system, designed to keep you in the dark, unable to divine fact from fiction.

    works pretty well dont it?
    It works so damn well even the publishers have a hard time ‘splaining it, no?

    the bottom line for you, the advertiser is: can the title your considering advertising in delliver YOUR readers, the folks that will buy YOUR product? If they can – consider them, if they cant all the advertising in the world aint gonna help sell more widgets…and i suggest you consider another title…

  25. 25 Julia Sep 16th, 2008 at 9:30 am

    SteveB. You said it right. Magazines are very happy to do everything possible to confuse advertisers. The only way to evaluate them is to try an ad see the results or the lack of it.

  26. 26 steveb Sep 16th, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Julia – i really believe that due dligence is important for the advertiser. As a “buyer of media” do you (really) understand just who reads each title and why? what differentiates them in the mind of the consumer? Do you understand their circ number and strategic editorial vision…where they are headed and the type of reader they want to attract and how they intend to do that…because as we all know- the VTwin market is VERY fractionated and splintered….and your betting your ad budget that these titles can deliver YOUR customer to you…

    There is no “one” voice for all of the VTwin world. You absolutely HAVE to understand the qualities of each title as an advertiser or you> are not qualified to be spending your money with them, because in essence you dont know what your buying

    My suggestion for a businessman is to ask his current customers where they spend their money- do some anecdotal research, you just might learn something if you keep score…ask 10 people a day and by the end of the week, you should have a good indication of where “your” customer spends his reading time….

  27. 27 burnout Sep 16th, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I spend maybe 20 minutes a week reading this Blog, it saves me a LOT of time! I also read several magazines per month. Besides the mags listed above, plus my 2 car mags, I have untold numbers of “trade” magazines that I speed read daily. We are bombarded with information constantly and it makes it tough choosing that which is most useful to my business. peace

  28. 28 RoadRat537 Sep 16th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    The web is what is killing magazine subscriptions and many other businesses around the world. Reason? For the most part it’s free and people just like me realize that they can go to Cyril Huze or IW blogger or Motorcycle News to get the information they want. Honestly, I subscribe to several of these publications, but get most of my news from the internet. Another big problem with the magazine/book sales is businesses like Barnes and Nobles where you can read the whole damn book before ever buying it. Business was different when I was young, and people respected the publications enough to actually purchase them if they were going to read them.

  29. 29 Guzzler Sep 16th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I agree with Roadrat. I want to add that that whatever the state of the motorcycle industry in a couple of years print magazines will continue to decline because of the web and blogs like this one. A magazine can survive only if developing different stories. The content of print magazines never changed during decades. Only the featured bikes and parts did change. It’s time magazines wake up and realize that we don’t need them if they don’t offer something not available on the web. But what is not available for free on the web?

  30. 30 Art Sep 16th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Our circulation has increased ( audited ) over the last couple of years by offering our readers a diversified content including articles on riding / travel stories.Most people in general live a diversified life and all motorcyclists like to read about the ride and the destination.If they don’t , they’re probably not reading either Cyril Huze or magazines. Both the internet & magazines offer an opportunity to be informed and entertained , in different ways.The internet offers quick and instant info , magazines offer relaxed entertainment while laying back on a couch after a long ride enjoying a cold one!
    Your choice , but do choose to be informed: Art Murphy / Canadian Biker Magazine

  31. 31 Conrad Nicklus Sep 16th, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Maybe some people (industry persons) have finally realized it is bullshit that you must advertise to have your bikes featured in a magazine. Without cool rides people dont buy the magazines. I would say maybe 15% of them actually buy the magazine for the How Tos and such. Not just what the cover shows.

  32. 32 Mike Sep 18th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    The other thing the magazines don’t tell you is that the number of magazines that go to the newstands don’t all get sold.

    There is a day each month when Walmart, B&N, Borders and whoever else all go to the magazine rack, take ALL the remaining copies of (pick any magazine – say The Horse) and toss them in the trash in preparation for the new issue.

    So if The Horse ships 50,000 copies to newsstands, they will say their newsstand distribution is 50,000. But maybe only 10,000 or 20,000 of those copies were actually sold to people and the other 30,000 to 40,000 copies get tossed in the trash.

    Subscriber numbers can be bogus too…. did the magazine give away free subscriptions? Most of them do. So just because they say 50,000 people subscribe, that may mean 20,000 of those people never asked for it and just toss it in the trash.

    Your best bet when advertising in magazines is

    1) Go with a NAME BRAND magazine that’s been around for a long time. Like Cycle World or others

    2) Don’t trust any circulation or newsstand numbers they give you

    3) The only reason anyone cares about circulation #’s is to decide if advertising in the mag is worthwhile. NEVER advertise in a magazine that requires you to do a long term commitment and ALWAYS have the right to cancel at ANY time (and ask them how much notice you need to give). You are always much better going month-to-month.

    The magazines will tell you “oh it will take 3 months before the money starts rolling in”. Great – so do 3 months if you feel like it (honestly, IMO it doesn’t take 3 months to start picking up) and if it doesn’t work then drop it. If they tell you that you need to keep plugging away to get it to produce results, then just tell them you will give them 50% of your increase in profit from their ad and watch how quick they hang up the phone.

    For MOST companies, magazine advertising doesn’t work unless you have a very targeted ad and very large user base that matches your product ad very well. Also, the best bang for the buck is a 1/4 page ad, 1/2 page and full pages are a waste of money, generally.

  33. 33 It's all about the Ride! Sep 18th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    My reply is to the previous post!

    My responses start with a ” * ” at the beginning of each paragraph!

    I will follow the list as previously stated!

    1) Go with a NAME BRAND magazine that’s been around for a long time. Like Cycle World or others

    * Why Name Brand? A more important question to ask yourself is “What is the demographic target market you are aiming your product towards?” If you make after market parts for metric touring bikes, advertising in a publication aimed towards american v-twins makes very little sense! Who you advertise with should be determined by whether the publication is aimed at the same demographic as your products are not whether it’s a brand name!

    2) Don’t trust any circulation or newsstand numbers they give you

    *There are audited circulation numbers! These numbers are actual sell through numbers and not distribution numbers. I will agree, some in the publishing industry do a very good job to attempt to fluff their numbers. Their goal in doing so is to make the impression of the perceived value to the potential advertiser seem that much greater. What it all comes down to is advertisement revenue! If a magazines circulation is up, you are reaching that many more potential customers. The higher the circulation, the more a publisher can charge for ad revenue per a page! The previous sentence is a bit of a generalization and there are many more factors the influence what a publication can charge for a page of add space. Look at Playboy! I am speculating, but I would fathom to guess that Playboy sees 30K+ per a page in add revenue in their magazine! Look at their circulation #’s. There subscriber base(Taken from Curtis Circulation Company’s(That’s where ABC gets their info for circulation #’s) 2008 first half report) is almost 2.5 million subscribers and there newsstand is over 200,000 issues on average a month. There are over 2.7 million issues of playboy sold each month. Because of that they can charge a premium for add space! Reliable circulation #’s can be found. What is important is the numbers that are reported for each magazine are done so in the same manner so you can have a more apples-to-apples comparison between magazines!

    The only reason anyone cares about circulation #’s is to decide if advertising in the mag is worthwhile. NEVER advertise in a magazine that requires you to do a long term commitment and ALWAYS have the right to cancel at ANY time (and ask them how much notice you need to give). You are always much better going month-to-month.

    *Half of this was answered in my response, please refer to #2 for a refresher. There are contracts in every aspect of the world. Contracts are not a bad thing! Those who sign longer term advertising contracts receive better rates on their ads for doing so. You will actually end up paying more for the same add size on a month to month basis then you would if you signed a longer term ad contract. Advertising and marketing are things that need to be thought of in the long run. It takes consistency in running ads to eventually realize the benefit of that advertising. Advertising is not an instant gratification game(the last few sentences are basics you would learn in an introductory marketing principles class.)

    The magazines will tell you “oh it will take 3 months before the money starts rolling in”. Great – so do 3 months if you feel like it (honestly, IMO it doesn’t take 3 months to start picking up) and if it doesn’t work then drop it. If they tell you that you need to keep plugging away to get it to produce results, then just tell them you will give them 50% of your increase in profit from their ad and watch how quick they hang up the phone.

    * Marketing is not the only factor in determining when the money starts rolling in! First off, the advertising isn’t the actual point of sale! It is more realistically(for the company) a point of contact for potential customers. It is simply the mechanism that gets the ball rolling. The other factors that determine when the money really starts to roll in include: does the company have product to sell? Does the company have enough staff to keep up with orders coming in, and customer service associated with those orders? Are they a wholesaler, retailer? What are their payment terms? The list goes on, and every single step of the process affects when the money starts to role in!

    For MOST companies, magazine advertising doesn’t work unless you have a very targeted ad and very large user base that matches your product ad very well. Also, the best bang for the buck is a 1/4 page ad, 1/2 page and full pages are a waste of money, generally.

    * I answered to the first half of this in my response to #1. As for the second half of the statement, where did you get your information from? The actual size doesn’t truly determine your bang for the buck! Yet again there are many factors in determining what add size gives you the best bang for the buck. What can they afford, Product price, size of the company, how many different products the company offers, what type of product it is, is it a product that is a necessity or is it an accessory that someone doesn’t necessarily need to have to go ride, how is the product sold, does it need service, how complex is it, the list could go on! As an example, say a small company wants to start advertising a product of theirs! Say this company only offers one product, and they sell it for 30$. They do the research and decide that it is in their best interest to advertise using a combination of print and online media. Since they only offer this one product, they don’t have product diversity to help smooth their sales, meaning the lows can get pretty low and the highs can get pretty high. This makes for uncertainty in how business will progress. Even with knowing this, the company realizes they need to advertise. So they talk to different print publications and decide to go with publication A because it fits the Demographic they are targeting! After they determine the publication they are going to run adds in, they start to talk about add pricing. They look at full page, 1/3rd page, and 1/12th page ad sizes. They determine at 2500$ a month for the full page add they would have to sell $10K worth of product to cove the add bill. At $30 for each product they sell, they would have to sell almost 340 units a month just to cover the add bill. $1200 for the 1/3rd they would have to sell 160 units, and $350 for the 1/12th they would have to sell about 47 units. They decide to start the 1/12 page ad because they know that even with the ups and downs in sales they will be able to pay for the add every month. Once they are advertising with the magazine, they are afforded other things to help them along in the marketing process. The publisher decides to run an editorial featuring their product and provide them with more exposure. With the increase in exposure from the editorial and the consistency in advertising, the company will eventually see increases in there sales. How long it takes is determined by many more factors then just advertising alone!

    (The Following is my opinion and perspective only! Don’t kill yourself trying to tear it apart!)

    * I hear many people bitch about magazines only do editorials for those companies that advertise with them. Guess what! You can thank the world of capitalism for that one! It’s the simple idea of I’ll scratch your back is you scratch mine. Publishers take care of those who advertise. There are no free lunches in the world it’s a simple fact. A Magazine is a business just like any other! Their main stream of revenue is from advertising, so they do what they can to take care of the people that help keep the doors open! People say that print media is dead! I disagree! I see some of the players in the print media going away because they fail to see what the future of the cycling industry is, they are simply to locked down by their corporate culture to be able to shift their resources to keep up, and they are really inefficient! As for internet media! If it is used correctly, can complement print media(from a value added perspective.) I hear people say how internet advertising is so much cheaper then print media! The one thing that needs to be considered that is said is how much more information is out there on the web for your ad to get mixed up with! If you advertise on the web what do you do to differentiate yourself from every joe machine shop that makes motorcycle part? If you are spending the money to get your company placed at the top of internet search queries(i.e..Google), you will find that you will be spending much more money to get yourself noticed from all the others! Just because a company signs up for Google adds(in no way am I trying to bash you Cyril!) and gets a response doesn’t necessarily mean that they are getting a better value! You have to look at the whole picture! The one advantage print has over web media is that print media titles are already divided up according to demographics making it easier for a company to reach its intended potential customers!

    *Plus how many people take their laptop with them to the bathroom when they take a crap in the morning! There will always be need for bathroom reading material!!!


  34. 34 Hammer Sep 19th, 2008 at 6:17 am

    “So if The Horse ships 50,000 copies to newsstands, they will say their newsstand distribution is 50,000. But maybe only 10,000 or 20,000 of those copies were actually sold to people and the other 30,000 to 40,000 copies get tossed in the trash”
    You apparently didn’t take the time to read my post or you don’t understand the basic information presented. If I have a 55% efficiency rate, that means I sell 55% of what I print. I also explained that 30% is average. And you are wrong in your statement. I do not take the number sent to an outlet and call that “copies sold.” That’s total bullshit and no one does that, no one. In fact, you seem to have zero understanding of the industry and how it operates. You should do some research and educate yourself before making truly asinine statements.

  35. 35 cappy Sep 22nd, 2008 at 9:20 am

    it would be really great if the publishers took this oportunity to be patiend and educate us all and share some of their knowledge, instead of being lurkers and in the case of Hammer, kind of rude……

  36. 36 Buzz Kanter - American Iron Magazine Sep 24th, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    I am amazed by the lack of understanding of what should be a fairly simple subject. But knowing there are many agendas in advertising sales, I guess I shouldn’t be.

    In basic terms, paid circulation (as opposed to “controlled” or free circulation) is made up of how many copies of a magazine are purchased in stores (also called “single copy” or “newsstand” sales) PLUS the number of copies purchased through subscriptions.

    All other information and numbers are not really significant.

    There are many ways to fool or mislead people regarding
    “circlation” or “distribution” and other terms that sound similar. The number of copies printed have little to do with how many are sold. When it comes to circulation numbers, the advertiser should be interested only in how many copies are sold and how.

    An advertiser should focus on:

    a) how many copies are actually purchased at newsstand (which are usually better indications of how the readers value the magazine as they are paying full cover price) and as subscriptions (which can be manipulated with aggressive discounts and premiums and gifts) and,

    b) how the magazine’s editorial and perspective audience is likely to respond to the advertising message.

    We at American Iron Magazine ( ) and RoadBike ( ) offer straight numbers to help our advertisers and potential advertisers better understand how the various magazines compare on an even playing field.

    If anyone would like any clarification on this we will do our best to help. Please feel free contact our VP of Sales Terry O’Brien at

  37. 37 Cyril Huze Sep 24th, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Buzz. If I agree with the definition you give, as a former marketing & advertising executive who did a lot of media planning for big corporations, I continue to be surprised that the motorcycle industry never talk about “readership”. Readership figures are considered to be higher than paid circulation figures because of the assumption that a typical copy of a magazine is read by more than one person. A serious advertiser should not care about the cost of his ad per sold copy. He should care (among many other parameters) about the cost of his ad per reader. How to optimize the cost per reader if average readership (number of different persons per copy) is not audited and/or published.

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