INQUIRING MINDS: The National Enquirer scoop on John Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter is driving more — and some much-needed — attention to the American Media Inc. tabloid these days. Though its reporting on the affair was outlined in several stories dating back to October 2007, the Aug. 11 issue included the cover line “Edwards $15,000 a month payoff to mistress” and was on stands just as the former presidential candidate finally admitted to the affair on ABC News.

According to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Rapid Report, the Enquirer’s Aug. 11 issue sold 738,000 single copies, the third-best-selling issue of the year so far and well above its first-half average of 665,419 newsstand copies sold per week. The saga has drawn an even bigger audience online; some 4 to 5 million visitors have flocked to the Enquirer site since the story broke in late July, a tenfold increase in usual monthly traffic. Numbers for the Aug. 18, Aug. 25 and Sept. 1 issues of the supermarket tabloid, all of which featured cover stories on details of the affair, are not yet available. But for those Edwards-ed out (if there are such people), readers will get a slight break in the Sept. 8 issue, the first without any Edwards coverage, though the next issue is expected to have more details of the affair. — Stephanie D. Smith

This story first appeared in the August 27, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


EXTRA EXTRA: This is not a typo: Yves Saint Laurent will be handing out thousands of free bags come Sept. 6. The limited edition cotton totes, designed by Stefano Pilati, are the latest wrinkle in the French house’s ongoing “Manifesto” program, in which newspaper-style catalogues are handed out to women on the streets of key fashion cities. More than half a million copies of the catalogue will be distributed in Paris, New York, London, Milan, Tokyo and Hong Kong, with 5,000 in each city tucked into the black or white totes. Emphasizing YSL’s ready-to-wear, this season’s Manifesto features Naomi Campbell in fall-winter designs, photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. — Miles Socha

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