Difference Between Readership and Circulation

Main Difference – Readership vs Circulation

Readership and Circulation are two important terms used in the publication industry. Readership is the number of people who read a newspaper or another publication. Circulation is the number of copies of the newspaper or publication distributed on an average date. Although many people assume that readership and circulation are the same, there are differences between them. The main difference between readership and circulation is that readership tends to be higher than the circulation. You’ll understand the reason for this after reading this article.

What is Circulation

In publication industry, circulation refers to the number of copies (of a newspaper or another publication) distributed on an average day. Basically, it counts how many copies of a particular publication are distributed on an average date. The circulation is determined by looking at both subscriptions and newsstand sales. The circulation of a particular newspaper or magazine can be verified easily. Circulation is generally audited by independent bodies such as the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Circulation is also a major factor used in advertising. The publications with higher circulation set higher advertising rates.

However, circulation of publications is gradually falling down in many countries. The main reason for this fall can be attributed to technological advancement. Times of India is the English language newspaper with the highest circulation.

Main Difference - Readership vs Circulation

What is Readership

Readership is the number of people who have read or looked into a single issue of a publication. Basically, this counts how many people read the same copy of a newspaper or magazine. For example, one copy of a newspaper may be read by all the family members of the family or the same copy may be passed along through an office.

Figures for readership are usually higher than circulation figures because a typical copy of the newspaper is read by more than one person. So the readership can be even double the amount of circulation. Unlike circulation, readership is not very easy to calculate.

The relationship between readership and circulation is known as readers-per-copy. This is calculated by dividing the readership by circulation.

Difference Between Readership and Circulation

Difference Between Readership and Circulation


Readership is the number  of people who read the same copy of a newspaper.

Circulation is the number of copies of the newspaper or publication distributed.


Readership figures are generally higher than circulation figures.

Circulation figures are generally lower than circulation figures.


Readership cannot be verified easily.

Circulation can be verified easily.Difference Between Readership and Circulation- infographic

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“Image 1″ by Kmilo . from Santiago, Chile – Relajo, via

“Image 2″ by Search Engine People Blog  via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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