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Obama's historic victory: Newspapers sales in US go soaring, presses crank out extra copies

Obama's historic victory: Newspapers sales in US go soaring, presses crank out extra copies
Sold out: The election of Barack Obama produced a high demand for newspapers, and some people found that it was sold out by the time they got to their newsstand. Newspaper vendor Chad Smith showed copies of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Seattle Times that he had set aside for himself before the editions sold out at his newsstand in Seattle's Pike Place Market.Photo: Associated Press (AP) / Elaine Thompson

In days of meltdowns and dipping circulations, this does not happen all that regularly anymore. But on Wednesday, newspaper circulation soared. To the extent that many sold out all copies, others went in for extra copies. The November 5 editions proclaiming Barack Obama's White House victory disappeared off the stands faster than anyone ever thought.

The largest daily in the US, USA Today, boosted by 500,000 its weekday press run of roughly 2 million. The Washington Post, the fourth-largest paper by circulation, planned to print 350,000 papers and then sell them for $1.50, triple the regular newsstand price.

The New York Times and the Washington Post put out special commemorative editions when readers clamoured for more— there just weren't enough to go around, said a Reuters report. Bids on eBay for the New York Times with its banner headline "Obama" were up to $400 by early Wednesday evening. The Washington Post's "Obama Makes History" edition was bid up to $41.

Reuters reported: [Link]

Obama's hometown papers the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times were offered together on eBay at a comparative bargain price of $50. The Tribune featured a nearly full-page color photo of Obama with the headline "Obama, Our Next President" and the Sun-Times showed a full-page photograph of Obama that said simply "Mr. President."

"It's Obama," proclaimed the Los Angeles Times, which decided to keep its presses running to meet demand from the steady stream of people who came to its offices to buy papers. It printed at least 100,000 extra copies. Still, it was offered in one eBay auction for $40.

GOT IT: Kimberly Huie of Echo Park buys the Los Angeles Times at a newsstand in Hollywood. Readers across the nation snapped up copies of newspapers documenting a watershed moment in U.S. history a day after the presidential election, and press runs were extended to meet the demand.  
Los Angeles Times / Jay L Clendenin

The Chicago Tribune, according to Editor & Publisher, announced it will print another 200,000 copies and distribute them today at 7-11 stores, while the Los Angeles Times, which boosted its press run this morning by 40,000, is now printing another 42,000 copies to feed the demand, said Spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan. "This news is 12 hours old, but it is historic," she said about why the push is on for print copies. [Link]

The Chicago Sun-Times had to put up an announcement on its website: [Link]

Barack Obama's overwhelming victory in Tuesday's election also led to an overwhelming demand for copies of the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday. To meet the demand, tens of thousands of extra copies are being printed and will be available at the Sun-Times Store at 350 N. Orleans on the second floor.

Copies of Wednesday's paper will be available at retail stores Thursday morning, too. Typical retail outlets of the Sun-Times include Walgreen’s, gas stations, 7-Elevens all over the city and in the suburbs.

THAT'S HISTORY: Nora Sherman, 18 months old, and her father Paul Sherman of Washington view the front pages of Wednesday's newspapers from around the world on display outside the Newseum in Washington, November 5, 2008.  
Reuters / Molly Riley

Papers were forced to turn their headquarters into newsstands. “We sold 16,000 copies from our lobby, where we’re not set up to sell any,” said Jennifer Morrow, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution told the New York Times. [Link]

"I have a two-year-old grandchild and I'm going to keep a copy for her," said Vernon Short, a 68-year-old retired military man, as he waited in the queue for the special edition. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I want to have a reminder," he told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Date posted: November 6, 2008 Last modified: September 22, 2019 Total views: 455