Publisher hits out at bulk sales

Hello!’s publishing director, Sally Cartwright, has questioned whether the current rules on magazine bulk sales go far enough.

She says the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations show that in some cases bulk sales as a percentage of a title’s total circulation are “alarmingly high”.

“The most important judgement of a magazine is how it sells on the bookstall. ABC has made a start by highlighting actively purchased copies, but I am beginning to question whether that goes far enough.

“Advertisers need to look very carefully at bulk sales and to consider the proportion of a magazine’s sales that they represent, because they are clearly different from individually priced copies.”

Using calculations that exclude multiple copy sponsored subscription sales, she points to total circulation figures in the women’s lifestyle sector, where 26 per cent of Condé Nast titles Vanity Fair and Tatler, and 28.9 per cent of National Magazines’ Harpers & Queen, are made up of bulks. NatMags’ Esquire magazine also recorded 16,011 bulk sales, accounting for 22.7 per cent of its 70,435 circulation.

Hello! relied on bulk sales of 23,706, which make up five per cent of a total circulation of 458,633. Rival OK! also uses bulks totalling 65,747, accounting for 14.4 per cent of the total circulation of 455,162.

– ABC issued incorrect total circulation figures for BBC Worldwide. The publisher has shown a year-on-year rise of 1.8 per cent.

– ABC has asked us to point out Marketing Week’s average net circulation was 39,508 for the period from July 1 1999 to June 30 2000. Total net circulation was 40,709 as reported.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here