The internet is said to be taking its toll on newspapers, but circulation is still healthy in highly wired countries like Japan and South Korea. Tokyo seems to be the newspaper capital, boasting the two most widely circulated newspapers in the world: Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun.
Tokyo has, in all, four of the 10 most widely circulated newspapers in the world. Two are published from London: the News of the World and the Sun. One is German: the Bild. Two are in China. And the other one is the Times of India.
So why aren't any American newspapers on the top 10 list? It can't be because of the internet. The internet is as widely used in Britain, Japan and South Korea as in America.
The figures in the table below are from the US-based Mondo Newspapers, which covers newspapers around the world.
It shows 49 newspapers in the world have a circulation of more than a million.
Only two of them are American: the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Britain has four: the News of the World, the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror. Europe has none except the Bild.
Japan has 13, China 12 and so does India. Three of the Indian newspapers are in English: the Times of India, the Hindu and the Hindustan Times. South Korea has three while Thailand and Pakistan have one each. There is none anywhere else.
The New York Times is 53rd on the list with a circulation of more than 950,000. No other American publication is on the list of the world's 100 most widely circulated newspapers. If you look at the list, you will see there is only one from the Middle East – the Egyptian Al-Ahram – and none at all from Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Australia and the South Pacific.
|1||Yomiuri Shimbun||10,021,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|2||Asahi Shimbun||8,054,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|3||Sichuan Daily||8,000,000||Chengdu, China|
|4||Mainichi Shimbun||3,812,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|6||News of the World||3,445,459||London, UK|
|7||Cankao Xiaxi||3,183,000||Beijing, China|
|8||Times of India||3,146,000||New Delhi, India|
|9||Nihon Keizi Shimbun (The Nikkei)||3,053,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|11||People's Daily||2,808,000||Beijing, China|
|12||Chunichi Shimbun||2,755,000||Nagoya, Japan|
|13||Daily Mail||2,311,000||London, UK|
|14||Chosun Iibo||2,300,000||Seoul, South Korea|
|15||Tokyo Sports||2,230,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|16||Sankei Shimbun||2,204,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|17||Joongang Iibo||2,200,000||Seoul, South Korea|
|18||Dainik Jagran||2,168,000||Kanpur, India|
|19||Dong Aibo||2,100,000||Seoul, South Korea|
|20||Wall Street Journal||2,092,523||New York, USA|
|21||Nikkon Sports||1,868,000||Osaka, Japan|
|22||USA Today||1,826,622||Pulaski, USA|
|23||Yangtse Evening Post||1,810,000||Nanjing, China|
|24||Sports Nippon||1,800,000||Osaka, Japan|
|25||Guangzhou Daily||1,680,000||Guangzhou, China|
|27||Yukan Fuji||1,559,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|28||Malayala Manorama||1,514,000||Kottayam, India|
|29||Daily Mirror||1,494,000||London, UK|
|30||Guangzhou Information Times||1,480,000||Guangzhou, China|
|31||Nanfang City News||1,400,000||Guangzhou, China|
|32||Sankei Sports||1,368,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|33||Ananda Bazar Patrika||1,277,000||Calcutta, India|
|35||Amar Ujala||1,230,000||Agra, India|
|36||Hokkaido Shimbun||1,201,000||Sapporo, Japan|
|37||Thai Rath||1,200,000||Bangkok, Thailand|
|38||Yangcheng Evening News||1,170,000||Guangzhou, China|
|39||Dainik Bhaskar||1,147,000||Raipur, India|
|40||Hindustan Times||1,143,000||New Delhi, India|
|41||Hindustan||1,142,000||New Delhi, India|
|42||Chutian Metro Daily||1,140,000||Wuhan, China|
|43||Guangzhou New Express||1,132,000||Guangzhou, China|
|46||Gujarat Samachar||1,051,000||Ahmedabad, India|
|47||Qilu Evening News||1,050,000||Jinan, China|
|48||Global Times||1,042,000||Beijing, China|
|49||Sports Hochi||1,015,000||Tokyo, Japan|
|53||New York Times||951,063||New York, USA|
|57||Punjab Kesari||902,000||New Delhi, India|
|60||Bangkok Daily News||900,000||Bangkok, Thailand|
|62||Deccan Chronicle||885,000||Hyderabad, India|
|65||Daily Telegraph||871,000||London, UK|
|66||Daily Thanthi||854,000||Chennai, India|
|70||Divya Bhaskar||840,000||Ahmedabad, India|
|76||Rajasthan Patrika||804,000||Jaipur, India|
|79||Daily Jang||800,000||Karachi, Pakistan|
|86||Daily Express||745,000||London, UK|
|100||Corriere della Sera||664,000||Milan, Italy|
You can see the full list of the world's 100 top newspapers by circulation here.
You could say newspapers are thriving in India because the internet is not as widely used there as in America. True. But what about Britain, South Korea and Japan? They all have plenty of internet users.
The newspaper habit may have something to do with public transport. Commuters on buses and trains can read newspapers unlike motorists. Americans are more likely to drive to work than the Japanese and the British.
But that cannot be the only reason why newspapers are doing better in those countries. The biggest selling British newspapers are the tabloids with plenty of gossip and scandals. Indian newspapers are also juicy reading. They offer all the political gossip and are hyperlocal, says this analyst.