Circulation

Our friend in Fredericton writes:

This morning my street was  crawling with Jehovah’s Witnesses: at least a half dozen pairs of women, making their way from house to house, all neatly attired in skirts of a certain style. Before long, two Witnesses landed on my doorstep, introduced themselves as Queenie and Muriel, and handed over copies of The Watchtower and Awake!

I’m well-known as a magazine addict, so after getting through the most pressing work of the day, I paused to flip through these publications. I was shocked to notice the circulation numbers: 42,182,000 copies in 194 languages for each issue of The Watchtower; 41,042,000 copies in 84 languages for each issue of Awake!

In disbelief, I turned to Wikipedia, which ranks these publications as the two most widely circulated magazines in the world. For comparison, assuming Wikipedia has its facts straight, the closest recognizable periodical on the list is the fifth-most widely circulated: The Reader’s Digest. It clocks in at a paltry 17 million copies per issue, in 21 languages. Third and fourth places belong to magazines published by the AARP – the American Association of Retired Persons. Both have circulations topping 23 million copies, in just one language: English…interesting enough in itself.

I’m left wondering what the distribution plan for Jehovah’s Witness publications looks like. Does it consist entirely of women in skirts going door-to-door for days and days on end?

I think being one of those Jehovah’s Witnesses who goes door-to-door takes guts. Huge guts. And I respect that. I’d say most of people they encounter are predisposed to respond negatively when Witnesses knock. You really have to believe in yourself, and what you’re saying, to keep going back for more, door after door, street after street, town after town. So I’ll always give the Jehovah’s Witnesses a moment of my time, even if I don’t invite them in for tea, or include my home address here.

Besides, they’ve got all of those free magazines. Like, a lot of free magazines.


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