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Next month, Cosmopolitan will celebrate its 40th anniversary. In a neat bit of timing, the magazine will also reach another milestone, selling its one-billionth copy. That set us thinking: Just what goes into writing, editing, printing and distributing all those magazines? The chart below represents an attempt to quantify what it means to be the country’s best-selling monthly newsstand magazine.

Founded: 1886, as a digest-sized publication

First published in its modern form: 1965

Circulation: 2,982,000

Readership: 17,041,000

Average newsstand sale: 2,011,650

Number of staff: 60 editorial and 52 advertising

Longest serving editor in chief: Helen Gurley Brown — 32 years

Number of best-selling mystery novels by current editor in chief Kate White: 3

Number of different owners: 2

Pounds of paper required to print typical issue: 4,236,851

Pounds of ink required to print typical issue: 312,000

Person who has appeared on the cover the most times: Cindy Crawford — 17

Best-selling issue in the last 10 years: July 2002 — 2,305,000 copies.

Sell-through rate for that issue: 82.7 percent

Who was on the cover: Molly Sims

Cover price of first issue: 35 cents

Current cover price: $4.50 (January and August); $3.99 rest of year

Three advertisers who ran in the first issue: Coty, Covergirl, Helena Rubinstein

2004 PIB Advertising Revenue: $347,048,600

Number of foreign editions: 51 in over 100 countries

First time “sex” appeared on the cover: March 1967

First time “orgasm” appeared on the cover: April 1970

Average number of reader letters received per month: Over 3,000

This story first appeared in the July 1, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

(Sources: Audit Bureau of Circulations, Mediamark Research Inc., Publishers Information Bureau)

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