For the past decade, printed publications have decreased in sales significantly, but the best-selling magazines in the world have managed to sustain their readership over time and still sell millions of copies. From home furnishing publications, to gossip magazines, I’m sure you’ve heard of every name on this list or at least spotted an issue at your nearest newsstand.
However, before reading our compilation, you should know that the ranking has been established according to the number of circulation for each issue of the magazine, allowing us to recognize which of these publications is the most sought-after. Although the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious magazines – The Watchtower and Awake! – enjoy an extraordinary circulation of 45 million and 43.5 million copies, respectively, we decided to leave them out of our list, since they are generally handed out free of charge or in exchange of a donation.
If you’re a fan of all sorts of literature, check out our previous article on the best-selling comic books of all time for an overview of the illustrated print industry’s sales. But for now, let’s focus on the media and discover who still has their head in the publishing game. These are the best-selling magazines in the world.
5. National Geographic
Total circulation per issue: 4 million
With its first publication dating back to 1888, this magazine is one of the most prestigious on the market. The official magazine of the National Geographic Society is known for its spectacular nature and documentary-style photography, as well as its articles on all things related to science, history, culture, and geography. With an international circulation of 875,000 (in addition to the national circulation of 4 million) and publications in 36 languages, National Geographic is without a doubt one of the best-selling magazines in the world.
4. Good Housekeeping
Total circulation per issue: 4.3 million
As part of the “Seven Sisters”, a batch of magazines that target female subjects, published by the Meredith Corporation, Good Housekeeping is a household name in the U.S. market, but it’s also one of the most popular magazines in the world. And it should come as no surprise, considering that it was first published in 1885 – making it the oldest magazine on our list – and featured articles by famous writers like Virginia Wolf and Somerset Maugham. Today, it focuses on topics like health, literature, and product testing, amongst others.