We're the Leader Among America's Most Read Magazines

A 2009 survey of 212 large ciculation periodicals showed MOTHER EARTH NEWS topped the list of most read magazines — our readers really do READ us!
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
October/November 2010
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In 1970 MOTHER EARTH NEWS was an upstart publication with newsprint-quality paper and rudimentary graphics. Who could have guessed that four decades later it would be the country's most read magazine?

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With our 40th anniversary year drawing to a close, we want to share some great news: thanks to you, MOTHER EARTH NEWS tops the ranks of America’s most read magazines! Believe it or not, a 2009 survey of the audiences of the 212 highest circulation magazines revealed that MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers spend an average of more than 70 minutes reading each issue. That’s more than the readers of popular magazines such as The Atlantic (67 minutes), Reader’s Digest (63 minutes), Scientific American (61 minutes), National Geographic (52 minutes), Popular Science (47 minutes), O: The Oprah Magazine (46 minutes), and Martha Stewart Living (44 minutes).

Now, we do not have as many readers as most of those titles ... yet. But the circulation (meaning audience from newsstand sales and subscriptions) of MOTHER EARTH NEWS is up 38 percent since 2005 — a period when most magazines’ audiences have been shrinking rather than growing. We estimate our current total audience is about 3 million people. In terms of newsstand sales, we’ve seen an amazing 80 percent increase in single copy sales over the last five years.

We’re sharing these statistics with you for two reasons. First, because we think our growth is a sign that public attitudes are shifting. Clearly, more and more people are concerned about living wisely and addressing environmental issues, and they are choosing to read publications that show them how to do their part to help. That’s hopeful news for us all!

Second, we would like to thank you. Your subscriptions, renewals, and newsstand purchases sustain this magazine. Your firsthand knowledge and passionate voices — expressed in our reader-written departments (Dear MOTHER, Country Lore, and Firsthand Reports) and through our website, our Facebook page and our editorial surveys — are key to what makes MOTHER EARTH NEWS a special magazine.

The same survey found that MOTHER EARTH NEWS is often your favorite magazine of all the publications you read. In the 2009 edition of the survey, only six magazines had more of their readers designate them as their favorite. In the 2010 edition of the survey, you moved us up — only Guideposts, The Economist, and National Geographic rank ahead of MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

So, please keep on reading and letting us know what you think, and we promise to do our best to deliver what you tell us you want. Our 40th year has been the best yet — and the future looks even brighter.

If you don’t already participate in our editorial surveys and would like an easy way to help us shape the magazine, sign up at www.MotherEarthNews.com/Surveys. We send the editorial surveys out every few weeks to get your input on which articles you would like to read and which cover images you prefer. This process is extremely useful — we no longer have to rely only on educated guesses about what readers want most.

To those of you who have been taking the surveys over the past several years, we offer a hearty thank you. Your contributions are an extremely valuable part of our process for each and every issue of the magazine.

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MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

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