Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the circulation figures for a magazine or newspaper?


Most periodicals will list their circulation in one or all of the following reference works:

See the guide, Media Directories and Circulation Statistics for more resources that have statistics on the circulation of magazines, newspapers, and journals.

Sources of circulation data may include figures reported by the periodical to the Audit Bureau of Circulation or similar organizations, post office records, or statements (sworn or unsworn) from the publishers. Some periodicals do not report their circulation (especially very small ones and/or ones that do not solicit advertising); in these cases the suggested titles may or may not supply an estimate. In general these titles carry circulation figures for U.S. and Canadian publications; much less often for publications from other countries.

For older editions, the resource that goes back furthest is the Gale Directory, which has had several changes of name over the years. We have most but not all annual volumes of this series. Consult the records under each title for exact holdings and location:

the following are under this Dewey Decimal call number: 070 Ay2

  • 1880-1909: N.W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual
  • 1910-1929: N.W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual and Directory
  • 1930-1969: N.W. Ayer & Son's Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals
  • 1970-1971: Ayer Directory, Newspapers, Magazines. . .

the following are under this LC call number: Quarto PN4841.A1 I4x

  • 1972-1982: Ayer Directory of Publications
  • 1983-1985: IMS Ayer Directory of Publications
  • 1986: IMS Directory of Publications
  • 1987-1989: Gale Directory of Publications
  • 1990-date: Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media

Full text of most AYER volumes from 1880 through 1922 are being made available online by the Library of Congress:

The library has several print editions of Rowell's American Newspaper Directory, but none that go back before 1871.


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