Despite all of the hoopla surrounding the Rolling Stone’s Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cover, it turns out the issue is a big seller.
The Boston Bomber issue received a ton of bad publicity and was eventually pulled from the shelves of various retailers including CBS and Stop & Stop.
Shortly after its release, a “Boycott Rolling Stone” campaign was launched and gained many followers on Facebook.
Despite all of the bad publicity surrounding the Rolling Stone cover, only five percent of Rolling Stone’s total circulation is sold through retail locations. Even with stores pulling the issue, the company witnessed a 102 percent jump over average per-issue sales for the past year
According to the Magazine Information Network, sales figures are based on point of sale data from 1,420 retailers from July 19 to July 29. Among those retailers. Rolling Stone’s Dzhokhar Tsarnaev issue sold 13,232 copies more than double the magazine’s average sales for the prior year.
This is hardly the first time Rolling Stone has used a controversial killer to sell magazines. You may recall that a 1970 cover featured murderer Charles Manson. The Manson article drew plenty of anger when it was released, but ultimately it became a bestseller and won a National Magazine Award.
When the Rolling Stone cover featuring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was released, critics accused Rolling Stone of using infamy to push up sales and draw publicity.The photo was a self-portrait by Tsarnaev, which first appeared on the cover of the May 5 edition of The New York Times.
When the photo was featured on the cover of the The New York Times, far less criticism was drawn from its use.
While Rolling Stone magazine came under fire for the cover’s releas,e it’s still unknown what type of effect the move will have on future issue sales.