Three of the 10 daily newspapers in the Bay Area whose circulation is reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations posted gains in the October-March period compared to the same period last year, according to figures released today.

    The Chronicle suffered the biggest losses — down 15.7% Monday-Friday to 312,188, and down 16.5% on Sunday to 354,752.

    The Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s weekday circulation fell by 10.5% to 69,812, and on Sunday it dropped by 7.1% to 72,906.

    The Mercury News also reported losses, but by smaller percentages than the Chron and Press-Democrat. The Merc was down 3.3% to 227,119 weekdays and down 2.9% to 244,661 on Sunday.

    The Marin Independent Journal was down 11.4% weekdays (to 28,281) and down 9.1% on Sunday (to 30,840).

    The Vallejo Times Herald was down 6.7% weekdays (to 15,817) and down 6.2% on Sunday (to 15,871).

    The Napa Valley Register was down 14.7% on weekdays (to 14,497) and down 11.4% on Sunday (to 14,414)

    The Santa Cruz Sentinel’s circulation fell 5% weekdays (to 22,137) and 5.6% on Sunday (to 21,865).

    While we’re on the coast, the Monterey County Herald dropped 5.6% weekdays (to 27,306) and 6.6% on Sunday (to 28,778).

Three papers bucked the trend and attracted new paid subscribers.

    The Walnut Creek-based Contra Costa Times, located in a county hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, reported a 1.4% weekday circulation increase (to 185,699) and 0.1% on Sundays (to 194,445). On Sundays the Coco Times gained 242 readers.

    The Oakland Tribune reported a weekday circulation of 99,978, a 3.6% increase, and 95,530 on Sundays, a 4.6% increase.

    The San Mateo County Times also reported a weekday circulation increase of 5.2% to 27,345. However its Sunday number was down 1.8% to 28,281.

Statewide, the biggest papers in the state in terms of Monday-Friday circulation are:

    1. Los Angeles Times, 723,181 (-6.6%)

    2. Chronicle, 312,118 (-15.7%)

    3. San Diego Union-Tribune, 261,253 (-9.5%)

    4. Sacramento Bee, 248,855 (-7.4%)

    5. Orange County Register, 230,877 (-12.8)

    6. Mercury News, 227,119 (-3.3%)

Tomorrow: A look at circulation trends over the past 10 years.

Bay Area Media News


  1. You should be aware that these figures are somewhat artificial. Newspapers used to inflate them by giving papers away to schools. The rules used to allow those copied to be considered “paid” circulation. That’s changed. Today papers can include their e-edition subscribers in their total circulation, which for many papers on this list is the difference between a big loss or a small gain.

  2. My MNG newspaper subscription is $40 per year, not enough to pay for the gas to deliver it. And I only read the comics, which aren’t that funny anymore. If there were better newspaper out there, I’d subscribe. But when MNG is only game in town, you’re forced into a desperate corner.

  3. Ah. This explains why the sales guys were hanging around the post office for the entire month of March–boosting the circ figures a bit with free offers.

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