By Greenslade Blog
I wish I could sing a different song just once when the monthly ABC figures arrive. For years, the circulation story has been depressingly similar - down go sales at every title and, of course, down goes the national newsprint market.
I do try to seek out reasons to be cheerful. And I concede that we can afford to smile about compensatory increasing online users. But we are talking about print here, and the situation continues to be gloomy.
The dramatic year-on-year falls for the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian (14.7% and 11.3% respectively) have to be seen in the context of dropped bulk sales. But it is clear that both are losing real sales too.
The Times, having forsworn user volume with its online paywall, is also watching print readers desert (down 16.2% on the year and 1.6% on last month).
The Independent's sale requires close analysis because its 2.4% year-on-year decline is only part of the story. It would be in double-digit free-fall too if it has not boosted its bulk sales from 40,000 to 64,000.
Mind you, it has cut its foreign sales from 45,300 to 23,660, which sounds altogether more plausible than previously.
So, the Indy's real sale last month - the number bought at full cover price - totalled 87,235. Next month we will get to see whether its new sister publication, i, has any impact on its sale.
The Sunday market, which is falling at a faster rate than the dailies, was a blizzard of negative figures, some due in part to the end of bulks (Observer and Sunday Telegraph) and some simply due to a growing disenchantment with taking papers on Sunday after bumper Saturday editions remain unread.
Who would be a Sunday red-top editor? Even sensational and scandal isn't a guaranteed seller any longer. The News of the World continues to shed readers, as does The People (despite its editor's best efforts).
The Sunday Mirror enjoyed a good month, but its 6.1% year-on-year dip shows the reality of the downward trend.
But I am going to finish on one slightly upbeat note. In October, the Mail on Sunday climbed back over the 2m mark for the first time since January.
Of course, it will be said, rightly, that it benefited from promotion and marketing to achieve the rise. But that's part of the game, isn't it?