Rolling Stone finds controversy sells
The much reviled Boston bomber article doubled newsstand sales for the magazine, even after some stores banned the issue.
Remember those threats of boycotts against Rolling Stone's Boston bomber issue? Well, it turns out the effort backfired.
Retail sales of the issue more than doubled compared with average per-issue sales for the past year, The Hollywood Reporter notes, citing data from Magazine Information Network. The publication sold 13,232 copies of the issue, which featured a dreamy-looking photo of accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Still, the publisher didn't respond to a request for comment from MSN moneyNOW about sales in New England, where several chains refused to stock the publication, or on potential subscriber losses. Amid the furor over the cover, some readers promised to cancel their annual subscriptions.
Among the companies refusing to stock the issue were CVS (CVS) and New England-based Tedeschi food stores. But newsstand sales are a relatively small slice of Rolling Stone's readership, comprising roughly 5% of its total circulation.
While some readers condemned the publication for glamorizing the bomber, Slate's Mark Joseph Stern called the cover "brilliant" for depicting the alleged terrorist with tousled hair and dewy eyes, subverting the public's image of what a terrorist should look like.
The article itself, which details Tsarnaev's change from a popular student into an alleged criminal, has garnered just a fraction of the cover's attention.
The boost in single-copy sales shows that outrage can be a hot selling point. The magazine's 1970 cover featuring murderer Charles Manson, the Hollywood Reporter notes, was not only a best-seller, but also won a National Magazine Award.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
I did my part to decrease their sales on this issue. Every store I went to had this issue taken off the rack and deposited under shelves or in some far reaches of the store where no one could find them.
F you Rolling Stone.
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