‘Journal,’ ‘Times’ and ‘News’ among the top five biggest-selling papers in the U.S.; ‘Post’ is No. 7

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Three New York-based dailies are among the five most-read newspapers in the United States, according to a report released this morning from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the leading auditor of magazine and newspaper audiences.

And the Daily News managed to soundly defeat its bitter rival, The New York Post, in the rankings.

The Wall Street Journal held onto its position as the country's most widely circulated weekday paper despite losing readers in the last six-month period; the paper's total average circulation was 2,096,169 for the period ended Sept. 30, down from 2,117,796 copies for the six months ended March 30. (This is only the second report since the organization adopted new rules last October to include digital editions in the totals, so year-over-year comparisons would be misleading, according to A.B.C; though in the case of The Journal, whose digital edition has always been a paid product, a spokeswoman pointed out: "We have no circulation today—print or digital—that would not have been included a year ago. So, using those figures, our total average circulation is actually up 1.7 percent for September year-over-year.")

Digital editions published by the paper that don't just reproduce the print publication (such as the ones sold on e-readers) rose to 537,469 from 504,734 during the same period. The Journal doesn't publish a Sunday paper.

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"These figures reflect the continued momentum of and engagement with The Wall Street Journal franchise," said Todd Larsen, president of The Journal's parent, Dow Jones & Company, in a statement. "The investments we've made over the past two years in the New York region, WSJ. magazine and the Weekend edition have all been returning substantial benefits to our readers, advertisers and our bottom line."

The New York Times maintained its third-place spot in the weekday rankings, behind USA Today. The paper's total average weekday circulation was 1,150,589 as of Sept. 30, up from 916,911 in March. The Times remained No. 1 on Sundays with an average of 1,645,152, up from 1,339,462 in March. Digital non-replica editions skyrocketed to 361,896 from 53,442, an increase that can be attributed to the digital subscription model The Times introduced this past spring.

Times executives have said that the pay system has helped boost traditional circulation since print subscriptions come with unlimited digital access as a bonus. In a press release this morning, they announced that print home-delivery circulation had increased for the first time in five years.

"We believe this statement illustrates the true strength of The New York Times brand," said president and general manager Scott-Heekin Canedy in a statement. "In addition to the strong start we have made with our paid digital subscriptions, we are delighted to see an improvement in home-delivery circulation trends following the launch of the digital subscription plans."

The Daily News finished fourth behind The Times with a total average weekday circulation of 605,677, which marched the paper up the rankings past formerly higher-ranked papers The Washington Post, The San Jose Mercury News and The Los Angeles Times; in March, the News' average weekday total was just 530,924.

It was also enough of an increase to keep the News two notches above its rival tabloid, the New York Post, which finished in seventh place on weekdays with 512,067, down from 522,874 as of March. Sunday circulation for The News is at 667,638, up from 584,658 as of March; The Post is at 379,673, up from 355,784. (Historically, The News has always had a more robust Sunday paper than its chief competitor; the Post is newer to the game, and there's a generation of readers who got hooked on the News' Sunday editions because of its thick comics section.) Non-replica digital editions totaled 136,186 for The News and 59,678 for The Post.

This item was updated from an earlier version to include a comment from a Journal spokeswoman.