On the Day After the Day After: Obama Newspaper Rush Continues — Millions of Extra Copies Out

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By: Joe Strupp

Calls to The Washington Post this morning are not being met with the usual voicemail greeting.

Instead, a recorded message comes on. “If you’re calling for your copy of the Nov. 5 special commemorative edition of The Washington Post, press zero for more information …” the recording says.

Not a surprise, given Wednesday’s mad rush for copies of daily papers reporting the election of Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president.

Papers from The New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, and numerous dailies in between, said demand for the printed paper sparked expanded press runs nationwide, with millions of extra copies eventually hitting the newsstands and hawkers.

The New York Times carried a large ad in its print edition today offering an original copy of the Wednesday paper for $14.95. That rather undersells the copies being offered for up to $200 on eBay.

Rima Calderon, vice president for communications at the Post, said the paper printed a total of 350,000 copies of the extra edition Wednesday, selling them for $1.50 each. Another 250,000 are being printed today.

That was on top of a 30% press run boost for the regular Wednesday paper. Today’s edition, meanwhile, has been increased by at least 10% for single copy sales, and may go higher.

“They are still selling as we speak,” she said Thursday about the special Wednesday edition. “They are outside this morning still trying to get it.”

USA Today might have seen the most additional copies, with an extra 380,000 single-copy editions printed by the end of Wednesday, the paper reported. They are also selling more online.

The New York Times reported today that it had printed 35% more copies Wednesday than usual, an increase of about 150,000. It then added another 75,000.

The Baltimore Sun, which doubled its press run on Wednesday, is printing another 45,000 copies of the Wednesday paper for sale today, along with an increased press run of the Thursday paper.

Tribune Co., which owns the Sun, also reported bumped-up press runs for its other daily papers. Among those is the Chicago Tribune in Barack Obama’s hometown, which ended up distributing 200,000 extra copies, while the rival Chicago Sun-Times added 150,000 copies.

The Los Angeles Times expected to sell 100,000 more copies than it does on a typical Wednesday, Tribune reported, while adding that both of the company?s Florida newspapers — The Orlando Sentinel and The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, “experienced unprecedented demand?each printed an additional 12,000 copies for their respective markets.”

The Hartford Courant printed some 15,000 additional copies, the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., added 12,000, and The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., went up an additional 3,500 copies, Tribune reported.

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