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Chronicle circulation plunges 25%

The Chronicle’s circulation fell by 25.8% in the past year. Of the nation’s 25 largest newspapers, the Chron reported the largest percentage decrease. The Chron’s daily circulation now stands at 251,782, down from 339,430 a year ago.

Sales of the Chron’s Sunday edition fell by 22.9%, to 306,705.

In one year, the Chron lost 87,648 daily customers and 91,411 Sunday customers.

The figures are from the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s FAS-FAX reports, which were released today.

In San Jose, the Merc’s daily circulation fell by 10% to 200,258 and its Sunday circulation dropped 5.6% to 225,9878.

However, on Aug. 9, the Merc decided to add the circulation of the San Mateo County Times to its numbers. The Times went from being a separate newspaper to an edition of the Merc. That will allow the Merc to claim a daily circulation of 225,175 and 248,386 on Sundays.

In Santa Rosa, the New York Times-owned Press Democrat reported a 10.5% drop on weekdays (to 64,237) and 9.1% on Sundays (to 68,489).

The Contra Costa Times’ daily circulation fell 3.3% to 174,852. On Sunday, the CCT was down 2.9% to 184,118.

In Marin County, the IJ’s Sunday circulation is down 8.3 percent to 28,815. The IJ’s Monday-Saturday average circulation is 26,548, which is down 10.7% from that paper’s Monday-Friday average in the previous year of 29,742.

The Oakland Tribune is a bright spot. It’s Sunday circulation jumped 5.6% to 91,691, an increase of 4,933 more papers sold. The Trib’s daily number increased by 294 copies to 92,794, a 3/10ths of 1% increase.

The Vallejo Times-Herald reported a 13.9% drop in its daily circulation (falling to 13,580) and 17.7% on Sundays (to 13,777).

The Vacaville Reporter’s daily circulation fell 3.7% (to 17,22) and its Sunday circulation declined by 5.6% (to 17,569).

UPDATE (5 P.M., OCT. 26): Bringing in more money from readers is now more important than trying to preserve circulation, Chron President Mark Adkins told the AP. He said that while the Chronicle has fewer subscribers, they are collectively paying more for the paper than a year ago.

The Chronicle now charges $7.75 per week for home delivery, up from $4.75 in the previous year. Weekday copies sell for $1 on the newsstand, up from 75 cents.

“The new circulation revenue has become an important part of our business model,” Adkins told AP. “We are pretty pleased.”

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