What’s the Most Popular Magazine in the World?

AARP-JAN-FEB-2011-COVER-BUSHThe answer might surprise you…and gives a whole new meaning to the idea of brand publishing.

Some of the entries on the Top 10 Magazine list are fairly unsurprising. People (#10), Family Circle (#9), National Geographic (#8) and Good Housekeeping (#7) shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.

Further up this list, compiled in this article in the Gazette Review, we find Reader’s Digest (#6) and Better Homes & Gardens (#5). Again, no big surprise there.

It’s near the top of the list that things get interesting.

The #4 best-selling magazine is Game Informer, by far the youngest entrant on the list but wildly popular with 7 million copies published last year. Their aggressive distribution model inside Gamestop stores targets their exact audience in an exclusive way.

Third from the top is AARP The Magazine, the hugely popular membership publication that is mailed to their massive senior membership base. “This lifestyle magazine is actually the most largely circulated magazine in the entirety of the United States, with over 23 million copies circulated in 2015 alone,” the article notes. It’s a testimony to the power of association publishing that the magazine continues to draw top faces to its covers.

Finally, in the top two spots are two other “brand” publications (using the term a bit loosely), Awake (#2) and The Watchtower (#1). Together these two publications by the Jehovah’s Witnesses total upwards of 100,000 million copies every two months in more than 100 languages. We think it may be a bit misleading to call Awake and The Watchtower “best sellers” (they are, after all, given away), but the sheer volume of distribution is impressive and surprising.

It’s great to see brand publishing raising the bar on magazine content, and association publishing having a growing impact, both clearly giving the traditional model a run for its money. Could your brand be next?