Unlike the past couple presidential contests, many buyers seem to feel this election is especially historic because Obama will be the country's first African-American president. Whatever the reason, the newsstand rush indicates that despite their woes, print newspapers are somehow still viewed as physical embodiments of history.
Among the newspapers buoyed up by the Obama win is The Washington Post, which said it increased newsstand deliveries by 30% in anticipation of a huge surge in demand, but sold out within hours anyway. The demand was so overwhelming, the newspaper printed 150,000 copies of a special commemorative edition for distribution Wednesday afternoon.
The New York Times had crowds of people forming lines outside its new headquarters on 40th Street on Wednesday, after newsstands in midtown Manhattan also sold out. Newsstands in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn were also reported to have sold out, and the company said it would publish another 50,000 copies to be delivered to big commuting hubs like Grand Central and Penn Station by Wednesday afternoon.
The tabloids cleaned up, too.
According to the New York Daily News, the Obama victory edition sold out in many parts of New York, leading the publisher to deliver an updated second edition by noon on Wednesday, including highlights of Obama's acceptance speech, final election results, coverage of celebrations, and political commentary.
Long lines were also reported at newsstands in Chicago, in effect Obama's political hometown, as supporters waited to buy copies of the Chicago Tribune commemorating the historic victory.
This is not the first time Obamamania has swept the newsstands: The New Yorker magazine's controversial July 21st issue, showing Obama and his wife dressed as terrorists in the Oval Office, sold out within days of hitting the newsstands, outstripping Conde Nast's ability to resupply them.