The day after the election, print writers giddily wrote how newspapers’ Extra editions were flying off the stand, requiring papers like The Times to go back to the printing press and get more copies on the streets—and then they were quickly sold on eBay at an inflated rate. It seemed like a reassurance that print mattered in the election, even if the election was probably proof of its marginality.
It takes more time in magazine land to hear about its results off the newsstand, but The New Yorker’s post-election edition—the cover with the distinguished and solemn Bob Staake illustration named “Reflection” with a glowing, moon-like “O” rising over the Lincoln Memorial—was a historic edition for the magazine as well. The magazine sold 84,000 copies off the newsstand, the second best issue in the Remnick era, and the third biggest issue since 1996, according to the magazine’s spokeswoman.
In the last decade, that 84,000 figure trails only the magazine’s renowned 9/11 cover, the spare and monochromatic Art Spiegelman illustration of the twin towers, which sold 162,000 copies. The other big seller was the Princess Diana cover after she died, the issue that Tina Brown famously turned around in just over a day, which sold 142,000 copies.
And, like The Times, which hasn’t been shy about making a profit off Mr. Obama’s success—you can buy the Nov. 5 edition of The Times online for $14.95, or an Obama keepsake box for $79.95!—The New Yorker is offering an enlarged framed copy of its post-election cover for $350 on its Web site. Everyone profits from an Obama presidency!
Likewise, Time magazine’s Nov. 17 issue was its best issue of the year—so far (Time hasn’t finished tallying up the count on its Person of the Year edition, also an Obama cover)—with 575,000 copies sold. They went to press with 775,000 copies of an Obama book, which reached No. 16 on the Times best-seller list and has been selling for $11.99 in soft cover and $19.95 in hardback.
Rolling Stone‘s post-election Obama cover was its lightest newsstand seller (and its third!), with about 140,000 copies sold, according to its spokesman. And if you want to buy the “bookazine” of all its Obama coverage and interviews from the last year, you can get it for about $5 cheaper than a copy of The Times’, at $9.95.