The news industry expects the closure of the News of the World to turn a boycott into a souvenir hunt
The news industry is expecting a busy Sunday with high sales of the final News of the World and rivals fighting to attract its readers.
With the impetus for a boycott stalled after the closure, agents now expect a sales boost from souvenir hunters.
Insiders say sales could be as much as 30% higher than the usual 2.6 million copies.
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) confirmed it expected the NoW to sell “extremely well”.
Before Thursday’s closure announcement, the News of the World was becoming a symbol of protest and sales were expected to be down sharply, but news of its closure has turned it into a rarity.
Anne Bingham, from the NFRN, said: “Many people will be buying it as a collectors’ item. We’re expecting sales to be well in excess of the normal 2.6 million.”
Mahendra Jadeja, who runs Jardins newsagents in Winchmore Hill, said he had been taken aback by the change of sentiment towards the News of the World.
“I was planning for sales to be 20-30% down on normal levels, now, I have had so many orders I can hardly believe it. Some people have asked for multiple copies.
“A few have even paid in advance.”
He said he was now expecting sales to be 20% higher, and even with those extra copies, to sell out.
Fight for readers
Meanwhile, industry insiders say they are expecting to see a very significant increase in all titles, with rival newspapers also pulling out the stops to attract former NoW readers.
“They all want to stand out. Expect a rash of offers of all kinds, coupon and voucher collects, and the straightforward free offers,” said one, who did not want to be named.
Trinity Mirror, owners of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, and the Daily Mail and General Trust, are hoping to attract some of the 2.6 million readers of the best-selling NoW.
Sunday paper circulation
- News of the World: 2.6m
- Mail on Sunday: 1.9m
- Sunday Mirror: 1.1m
- Sunday Times: 1m
- Sunday Express: 602,000
- Sunday Telegraph: 510,000
- The People: 480,000
- Sunday Mail: 367,000
- Daily Star Sunday: 309,000
Source: ABC (Average for April 2011)
The Mail on Sunday, the second biggest-selling Sunday title, has 1.9 million readers, while the Sunday Mirror has 1.1 million.
Trinity Mirror was braced to increase its print run, although it would not give any details of its plans.
Longer term, newsagents are concerned that many readers will stop buying papers altogether as online news consumption grows.
Meanwhile, brisk sales seem assured this Sunday at Jardins newsagents.
Mr Jadeja has already placed his order: “I will keep one for myself as a piece of history.”