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SF Magazine Sales 2006

Been meaning to circle back round to this for a while. Every year, Gardner Dozois’ YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION anthology runs the circulation figures for the main sf short-fiction magazines. I suspect his figures are a little off, as I’m certain there must be some direct-sales figures that go uncounted in his collation, but the Dozois summation remains the only broad year-on-year record I’m aware of. What follows, then, would be the monthly numbers for end-of-year 2006:

ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION: subscriptions 15117
A drop of 13% from 2005. No numbers given for newsstand sales.

ANALOG: subscriptions 23732 newsstand 4587
Newsstand sales are “soft,” returnable — sellthrough is reported at 32%. I’m presuming the above number is the sellthrough number, not the overall circulation before returns. 7.3% loss year-on-year.

FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION: subscriptions 14575 newsstand 3691
According to Dozois, this constitutes a drop of less than 1% — losing some 600 readers overall year-on-year makes them the only magazine thus far mentioned that has made any progress at all in stemming the bleeding.

INTERZONE: “Circulation is in the 2000-to-3000 range.” Which I find a bit scary.

Someone recently said to me, “Well, what could you do to save them?” And I said, well, no-one’s asking, but there’s probably about twelve things that could be done. And they said, “Well, maybe, but what I really meant was — why try? Why not just bury them and start anew?”

And then someone else asked me why there’s still an sf magazine called “Analog.”

Published in brainjuice


  1. Science fiction…

    Warren Ellis reports on the latest sales decline figures for the major US (mostly) SF magazines. Despite my being a target audience (long-time reader of science fiction, plenty of disposable income) I’ve never subscribed to a science fiction magazine….

  2. […] than reality). At the very least, the ship seems to be sinking… Warren Ellis recently posted a (hopefully) inflammatory post about Science Fiction Magazine Sales in 2006, data culled primarily from Gardner Dozois’ YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION anthology: […]

  3. […] Warren Ellis recently discussed the worrying trend of declining sales for SF journals – and it should be worrying to both readers and authors (and especially those nascent authors still working hard towards that elusive first book deal). For decades journals like Interzone have been where many readers (and some publishers) are introduced to us; it’s from this launch pad and testing ground that a good writer can both hone their craft in front of a demanding audience (although an understanding one – we want to see them succeed) and establish a name for themselves, hopefully landing a book deal from it. In many ways it is the literary equivalent of a new band going on the road and playing small clubs – you try to make a name for yourself and sharpen your skills while you do so. And readers get to do the “ah, I was reading him before he was famous, you know” thing to friends to show how finger-on-the-pulse of the genre they are. […]

  4. […] Ellis on the grim future of science fiction magazines. Some of the previous posts he mentions, and response to one from Cory Doctorow (unsuprising short summary: Blogs!). […]

  5. […] PM   Subscribe Warren Ellis on the grim future of science fiction magazines. Some of the previous posts he mentions, and response to one from Cory Doctorow (unsuprising short summary: Blogs!). […]

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