the most important month of the year

Newsstand Sales of Vogue’s, Elle’s, and W’s September Issues All Declined

This was supposed to be a great year for September issues. Halle Berry looked adorable on Vogue, the first black woman to get the September issue spot since 1989. Glamour, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar were praised, if misguidedly, for all putting famous actresses over 40 — Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Aniston, respectively — on their covers. Plus, the recession is supposed to be easing and chicks are supposed to be excited about buying fall wardrobes and magazines that tell them how to do it. Either women aren’t excited about those things or this year’s September cover stars didn’t inspire such thrill for consumerism.

Here’s how the major magazines fared this September compared to last September, according to statistics from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. We’ll start with the good news and work our way down to the bad:

Harper’s Bazaar: up 22 percent to 255,000 copies.
Cover star: Jennifer Aniston
Aniston, who posed inside the magazine as Barbara Streisand, delivered Bazaar’s best-selling issue in seven years. Jennifer Aniston + Barbara Streisand + Harper’s Bazaar = But of course.

Town & Country: up 18 percent to 45,100 copies.
Cover star: Tory Burch
This was the first issue under new editor Stephen Drucker, who fared much better than fellow editor in a new job, Stefano Tonchi (read on for W’s stats).

Glamour: up 1 percent to 624,000 copies.
Cover star: Jennifer Lopez
Last year’s September cover girl was Jessica Simpson. So apparently Jennifer Lopez is, to a magazine, about as valuable as her.

Marie Claire: up 1 percent to 338,273 copies.
Cover star: Mary-Kate Olsen
And apparently MK is about as valuable as the magazine’s September 2009 cover girl, her sister Ashley Olsen. They really are twins!

Vogue: down 5.5 percent to 540,000 copies.
Cover star: Halle Berry
This is disappointing since the cover was pretty great. However, at least the magazine wasn’t in the bottom three. That honor goes to…

InStyle: down 6 percent to 800,000 copies.
Cover star: Hilary Swank
Despite experiencing the worst dip in their category, they still sold the most copies by far. Hell, with those numbers they may as well put us on a cover.

Elle: down 10 percent to 390,000 copies.
Cover star: Julia Roberts
Maybe this was America’s way of saying, Please, no — don’t make an Eat Pray Love movie! I don’t have to see it! Too little too late.

W: down 14 percent to 30,000 copies.
Cover stars: Yaya DaCosta, Jennifer Lawrence, Greta Gerwig, Kat Dennings, Jessica Chastain, Emma Roberts, Zoë Kravitz and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Tonchi said he was happy to be able to put eight up-and-coming Hollywood starlets on his September issue foldout cover when he unveiled it with the magazine’s redesign. He said he hoped to be able to keep doing unexpected covers that weren’t like every other magazine. The following month, he put Kim Kardashian on the cover. Naked.

Newsstand Sales of Vogue’s, Elle’s, and W’s September Issues All Declined