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Digital sales help spur 12% jump in Globe circulation

Boston Herald falls nearly 15 percent

The Boston Globe's daily circulation rose nearly 12 percent during the six-month period that ended Sept. 30, buoyed by growth in digital subscriptions, according to an organization that tracks newspaper readership.

The Globe's circulation, including subscriptions to BostonGlobe.com, increased 11.9 percent to 230,351, compared with the same six months in 2011, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The Globe's Sunday circulation, including digital subscriptions, grew 3.4 percent to 372,541.

The Boston Herald's daily circulation fell below 100,000 in the period. The tabloid's circulation declined by 14.9 percent to 96,860, compared to same period a year ago, according to the bureau. The Herald's Sunday circulation was 77,764, down 9.4 percent.


The Globe's growth came as daily circulation for 613 newspapers across the country decreased overall by 0.2 percent during the same period, as more readers and advertisers turned to the Internet.

"These numbers build on a trend we first saw this spring, when the Globe's paid circulation grew for the first time since September 2004," said Christopher M. Mayer, the Globe's publisher. "This reflects our readers' commitment to our award-winning journalism, no matter what the platform."

Media analysts say the Globe's circulation increase highlights the success of its digital products. Last fall, the Globe launched a subscription-only website, BostonGlobe.com, and more recently it began offering an ePaper — a digital replica of the paper designed to be read on tablet computers and mobile phones.

"The Globe has had significant success reaching readers through these digital products," said Tom Fiedler, dean of Boston University's College of Communication. "They are attractive enough so that readers see it as a new reading experience they enjoy having."

While print circulation for the Globe fell 9 percent for the daily and 6 percent for Sunday, those declines were offset by gains in digital subscriptions. The Globe has 26,000 digital-only subscribers to BostonGlobe.com, which was launched last October.


The Herald's president and publisher, Patrick J. Purcell, declined to comment on the plunge in the paper's circulation. But he said the number of people who read the tabloid is up year over year and more people read the paper online.

"The Herald's audience is stronger than ever — and that success is clearly the result of a relevant newsgathering operation," Purcell said in a statement.

Casey Ross of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.