Newsstand sales for News of the World spiked with the last issue, but despite predictions, the paper failed to set a record. The final edition of the 168-year-old paper sold 3.8 million copies, a 1.1 million increase from the week before but nearly a million copies short of the paper's best-selling issue. (A February 1998 issue sold 4,543,457 copies according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation.) Nevertheless, News Corp. did their best to spin the figures in their favor on Tuesday with a bragging press release that leads with a rounded-up sales figure, features some bombastic language, and doesn't bother to mention why the paper was shut down (rampant phone hacking of pretty much anyone who made the news in Britain):
News of the World’s last edition sells almost 4 million copies
The last issue of the News of the World sold 3.8 million copies on Sunday – up 1.1 million from the previous week - with many stores selling out across the country.
Retailers were hit by unprecedented demand as people swept up copies of the newspaper, which included a 48-page souvenir pullout charting some of the paper’s famous scoops over its 168-year history.
Advertising space in the paper was provided free to good causes, and 74 pence from the £1 cover price of every copy sold in the UK will be split equally between three charities: Barnado’s, The Force’s Children’s Trust and the military projects at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity.
Readers who were left empty-handed will have the chance to purchase a copy of Sunday’s final edition as well as a souvenir copy of the paper's very first edition - published on Sunday October 1, 1843. These copies can be bought together for £2.95, which includes £1.95 postage and packaging, by going to www.notw.co.uk. For each copy sold the £1 cover price will be donated to charity.
Since News Corp. is keeping the gift shop open to liquidate unsold copies, there's a chance they might sell all 4.5 million copies printed eventually. So far, the collectors market doesn't seem too profitable, though. At the time of this posting, 666 copies were available on eBay--prices range from 99 pence to a million pounds. The closing bid on the most recently ended auction lowballed News of the World's own price tag at £2.40.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.