March 25, 2004, 11:30 AM
A post here a while back delt with gun magazine circulation and a general fall off. I looked around a bit and found some data. Magazine circulation in general has been falling off for about 25 years and early 2004 stats indicate that 70% of the published magazines (of all types) are presently in decline. The gradual decline ended in about 2,000 with an abrupt slide that still continues. This is said to be related to an " Advertising Recession."

There is a site ranking the top 200 magazines at 6 month intervals. Interestingly, the American Rifleman was circulating 1,300+000 in 2,000 and is at about the same level right now= although the reported trend is slightly downward. Ranking is in the range of 50 from the top.

Guns and Ammo is the only other gun-specific publication in the top 200. It has declined from a circulation of 591,000 to a current level of about 453,000 with accelerating drops registered in the last half of 2003. It has dropped in the ratings from 138 from the top to the 170s range and may soon fall off the scale entirely.

Long term data for other magazines does not appear to be available but curent circulation for several other magazines is as follows:
American Handgunner= 170,000s;
Shooting Times= 175,000;
Guns Magazine= about 100,000
Data for Handloader, Rifle, and Gun World doesn't appear on the web.

I can recall a few minor publications during the 1990s that stayed afloat with printing numbers in the 20,000 range and those magazines are long since gone. I wonder how much circulation is necessary to keep a gun related magazine afloat.

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Oleg Volk
March 25, 2004, 11:56 AM
One reason for the decline may be the amount of non-BS info available elsewhere (such as on-line).

March 25, 2004, 01:56 PM
The people who collected the stats never fail to use the word "advertising" in the same sentence. It seems like (at least with the gun magazines), readership drops because of disgust with catering to advertisers then advertising drops due to the loss of readership.

Part of the big picture is the disappearance of such things as Publisher's Clearing House and other mass subscription businesses. They don't explore the reasons for this but it could be tied to a general loss of revenue from the magazine business itself.

People are getting information from other sources besides print -even the newspapers and the old traditional News Magazines are on the skids. Reader's Digest is still number two (behind AARP) but has lost 1 million readers since 2000.

I suspect that the quality of literacy in the population has declined - a lot of people can read but do it so poorly that it's a real chore for them.

Even the picture books are not doing particularly well Such fornicating magazines as Playboy and Penthouse are loosing circulation and this could be a direct result of being able to get that material on television and the web.

I notice that this forum- probably the best out there, has over 10,000 members and it's hard to gage the impact without knowing how many non-member cruisers are visiting this and other boards.

Eskimo Jim
March 25, 2004, 02:03 PM
I subscribe to American Handgunner, American Rifleman and Field and Stream.

On occaison I pick up Peterson's Bow Hunting (if I can find it), Handloader and Rifle (I think that's the name of it). I rarely pick up Guns, Guns and Ammo or the Shotgun News.

The decline in magazine and newspaper subscriptions is probably because more people are getting their news on the television or internet and use forums like this to discuss special interest topics.


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