Showing how bad news can be more riveting than good, the 'Eating Disorder Crisis' issue, at 1.8 million copies ...
... far outsold People's sunnier interview with the twins, at 1.3 million.
People magazine raised its cover price this month by 20 cents - to $3.49, tops among the four celebrity weeklies - and yesterday showed why it'll probably get away with the move.
People said its average single-copy sale rose last year to 1,477,000 - its highest since 1997 (not counting the spike in sales four years ago tied to issues about 9/11).
With subscriptions, People's total circulation in its 30th-anniversary year grew 2% over 2003, to some 3.7 million.
Last year's newsstand level - 2.4% higher than in 2003 - was all the more striking given the increased competition in the field of celebrity weeklies and celeb-crazed broadcasts.
The competition included American Media's glossy overhaul of the Star last year, the growth of Us Weekly and In Touch Weekly, which Bauer Publishing sells for a cut-rate $1.99, and the company's spin-off of Life & Style Weekly last fall.
Numbers being submitted by People to the Audit Bureau of Circulations will show the mag, owned by Time Inc., had 19 issues last year that sold more than 1.5 million copies each on newsstands.
At the top - below the year-ending "Best and Worst," a perennial single-copy champ - were back-to-back issues published in July.
"We're Engaged!" - a cover package featuring an interview with Britney Spears and Kevin Federline - sold 1.9 million copies... britneynow.com