Did you know that magazines have been around for hundreds of years? The first magazine, Erbauliche Monaths, was released during the seventeenth century in Germany. A huge success, it led to the introduction of magazines all over Europe.
While print magazines aren’t as popular as they once were, with the rise of digital media, many consumers still enjoy the glossy feel of a well-made publication. In fact, the number of magazine readers in the United States has remained almost the same over the past several years, according to one annual study.
Which are the best-selling magazines in the world? What type of content do they offer? Let’s find out.
Top 10 Most Popular Magazines In the World
Without further delay, let’s take a look at the top ten best-selling magazines in the world.
People is a weekly magazine that centers around celebrity news. Debuted in February 1974, the magazine was originally sold in supermarkets for a cover price of 35 cents.
Fast forward to 2009 and it had become the most popular magazine in the United States with a readership of over 46 million people. While its readership has declined in recent years, it still has one of the largest audiences and is known for its excellence in circulation, editorial, and advertising. As of 2018, more than 3.4 million copies of the magazine were in circulation.
The magazine also releases yearly special issues, which names the “Sexiest Man Alive”, “Best and Worst Dressed”, and “World’s Most Beautiful.” Not only that but they also have an annual list of the 100 most beautiful people. Some celebrities who have been included in the list include Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
People also have a popular online website, which also focuses on human interest stories and celebrity news.
In 2021, People Magazine was purchased by Dotdash for $2.7 billion, alongside other publications including InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, and Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Journal.
9. Game Informer
Game Informer is a monthly video game magazine that features strategy, news, reviews, and articles of video games and consoles. Based in Minneapolis, the magazine debuted in 1991 when FuncoLand, a video game retailer, began publishing an in-house newsletter. As of 2024, it is owned and published by the video game retailer GameStop, who purchased FuncoLand back in 2000.
Currently, the magazine reviews games on PC, as well as those on consoles including Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, X Box Series X, and Nintendo Switch. Not only that but they also review mobile games for iOS and Android devices. While they used to give individual reviews of the same game for each console that it was available for, they have since consolidated the reviews for the game into one, with notes for the specific versions.
In addition to the print magazine, they also have a website called Game Informer Online, which features daily news as well as review. Every year, they also release a list of the “Top 50 Games” of the year, which are sorted by release date. While they’re not ranked, they do give certain titles awards such as “Game of the Year”.
8. National Geographic
National Geographic is a monthly magazine that’s known for including color photos, which was first introduced in the early 1930s. Founded in 1888, the magazine started out as a scholarly journal when the society was first established; it wasn’t until after the cold war that they began focusing on environmental issues.
By 1995, the National Geographic magazine was released in nearly 40 languages worldwide with more than 6.5 million issues in circulation.
Nowadays, the magazine, which is known for its yellow border and thick glossy format, features a number of topics including science, history, world culture, nature, and geography. It has been owned by the Walt Disney Company since its acquisition in 2019.
Over the years, the magazine has also won a number of accolades including three National Magazine Awards for its written content, an American Society of Magazine Editors’ Generla Excellence Award for more than 2 million copies in circulation, and a Webby People’s Voice Award. In 2020, they also won a Webby Award for the Apps, Mobile & Voice category.
Not only that but they also have a popular Instagram page with more than 269 million followers, which is the most out of any account that’s not owned by a single celebrity.
7. T Magazine
T: The New York Times Style Magazine is a magazine publication of The New York Times that’s dedicated to travel, living, fashion, holiday, and beauty coverage. Launched in 2004, it was published 13 times per year up until 2016, after which it has been published 11 times annually (it is distributed in the Sunday edition of The New York Times newspaper).
Since 2007, an international edition of T Magazine has also been released. In 2010, T Qatar, the first country-specific edition, was also launched and released; it was soon followed by T Spain, T Japan, T China, and T Singapore.
In 2019, the magazine won two “Ellies” aka American Society of Magazine Editors’ National Magazine Awards. And more recently in 2021, it won the National Magazine Award for Lifestyle, Service, and General Excellence.
As of 2024, the editor-in-chief of T Magazine is American editor, novelist, and travel writer Hanya Yanagihara. Up until 2009, Janet Froelich was the magazine’s creative director.
6. Reader’s Digest
Reader’s Digest is a family magazine that features real-life stories, health articles, laugh-out-loud humor, helpful hits, and more. Founded in 1922 by husband and wife team DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace, the magazine, which is based in Chappaqua, New York, is released ten times a year and is one of the best-selling consumer magazines in the U.S. In fact, it ranked number one for several years until 2009, when it was overtaken by Better Homes and Garden.
Having said that, it’s still the most popular paid magazine in the world with more than 10.5 million copies in circulation. Aside from the American edition, there are also global editions in over 70 different countries in 21 languages. For example, an Arabic edition was published in Egypt in 1943. International editions are also available in Finland, Cuba, Netherlands, Poland, Thailand, Canada, Serbia, Ukraine, and other countries.
Not only that but it’s also available in audio, Braille, and digital. A large-type edition is also published regularly.
According to one study, Reader’s Digest is the most popular magazine among households with incomes more than $100,000, beating Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Inc., and Fortune combined.
5. Forbes Magazine
Forbes Magazine is a business magazine that provides reliable news and information on investing, technology, lifestyle, law, communications and entrepreneurship. Founded by B.C. Forbes and Walter Drey in 1917, the magazine is well known for its rankings and lists, including The Forbes Global 2000, The World’s Billionaires, the Forbes 400, The World’s Most Powerful People, and The Wealthiest Celebrities.
Like most of the magazines on our list, Forbes also has an international edition, which is published in Asia. Not only that but it also has other international editions in 27 countries worldwide. For example, there’s Forbes Africa, Forbes China, Forbes France, Forbes Lithuania, Forbes Russia, Forbes Indonesia, and Forbes Colombia, all of which are published in their local languages.
Aside from the printed magazine, Forbes also has a website, which receives over 27 million unique visitors every month. In fact, it’s often considered one of the most widely visited business sites on the internet. In 2020, their website received the Webby People’s Choice Award for Business Website/Blog.
In 2019, they also launched Forbes8, a streaming platform that provides on-demand videos. Since then, they’ve released a number of business documentaries including Titans on the Rock, Driven Against the Odds, and Forbes Rap Mentors.
4. The New York Times Magazine
Times Magazine was the first weekly news magazine to be released in the U.S. Based in New York City, it was first published by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden in 1923. For almost a century, it was released weekly, but nowadays it’s published every other week.
In addition to the American edition, there’s also a South Pacific edition, which covers the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as an Asian edition, which is called Time Asia.
While sales have declined in recent years, the print edition is still one of the most popular magazines in the United States with more than one million readers.
Known for its iconic red border, the magazine also has several special editions such as Time 100, which includes a list of the 100 most influential people, and Person of the Year, the latter of which recognizes a group of individuals or individuals who’ve made a significant impact on the news.
In the past, they’ve also released several special red X cover editions, which feature an X over the face of an individual For example, they published a magazine with a red x over Adolf Hitler’s face in May 1945, following the news of his death.
3. The Observer Magazine
The Observer is the sister paper to The Guardian Weekly and The Guardian. Based in London, it debuted in 1791 and is the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world. It’s also one of the best-selling with more than 136,000 in circulation as of 2021.
In 1903, the newspaper was purchased by Lord Northcliff, a newspaper magnate, who then sold the newspaper to William Astor in 1911. He then passed ownership to his sons, who took over as editors.
Fast forward to 2005, and the Observer Blog was launched. They also began to include a free monthly magazine with The Observer; some titles include Observer Woman, Observer Sport Monthly, Observer Food Monthly, and Observer Music Monthly. Around that same time, they received a British Press Award for National Newspaper of the Year. Not only that but the paper’s supplements have won the “Regular Supplement of the Year” title several times between 2001 and 2012.
While articles from The Observer are not available internationally, content from the magazine is featured in The Guardian Weekly, which has a global readership.
2. India Today
India Today is an English-language news magazine that’s published every week. Aside from the news, it also provides detailed information on the business, technology, politics, lifestyle, travel, and Bollywood-related topics. As of 2024, it’s the best-selling magazine in India, with a readership of nearly 8 million across the country.
Debuted in 1975, the magazine was established by Vidya Vilas Purie, the owner of Thompson Press, the largest commercial printer company in India; his son Aroon Purie served as its publisher while his daughter Madhu served as the editor.
Nowadays, the magazine is also published in Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, and Hindi. In 2014, they also launched DailyO, an online opinion-oriented website. It was followed by the India Today news channel in 2015.
1. Filmfare Magazine
Filmfare Magazine is the number one entertainment magazine in India. Published by Worldwide Media, it features a number of pieces involving fashion, news, style, and events. Not only that but it also provides Bollywood content- including the latest news and updates on actresses and celebrities. Exclusive interviews and insider stories are also included often, which makes it a must-have for diehard Bollywood fans.
Every year, the magazine also gives out a number of highly anticipated awards including the Filmfare Marathi Award, the Filmfare Award Punjabi, the Filmfare Short Film Award, and the Filmfare OTT Award.