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The Spectator’s sales are booming. Find out why

14 January 2019

8:28 PM

14 January 2019

8:28 PM

It’s been a busy weekend for subscriptions at The Spectator and already it’s our best January since our records began (in 1828). Today (Monday) we’ve already broken the one-day record. Which stands to reason. These are uncertain times, so you will want the best and sharpest analysis – all of which is up our website within an hour of any major news breaking. Given the extraordinary demand, we’re offering a month free access to The Spectator (with four issues of the magazine) absolutely free. Sign up here.

You’ll find that The Spectator gives writers a lot of freedom – which can be discombobulating for some in the digital age. Now and again, we see a Twitterstorm. You’ll know the format: outrage over a sentence plucked from an article. This often leads people to track down the article itself and find out for themselves what was being said – and what The Spectator is about. Such research is fairly easy, given our website, our archive going back to 1828 and our unrivalled analysis of world events. Not to mention Britain’s largest political email and series of podcasts with over 250,000 weekly listeners. And the magazine? You can see for yourself why The Spectator, the oldest weekly in the world, is selling more copies than any time in its 190-year history. It offers a combination of articles, cartoons, analysis, jokes, dispute and a higher quality of writing than you can find in any other weekly.

Our ideological position? We don’t have one. You could place us, loosely, on the right-of-centre. But then don’t be surprised, when you pick up the next issue, to find Paul Mason writing the diary: he’s a thoughtful, elegant and original writer. He admires Jeremy Corbyn, others don’t. But we don’t seek to change anyone’s minds. As Alexander Chancellor said, we’re more of a cocktail party than political party. If you like stimulating, original writing – where the only important criteria are independence of opinion and elegance of expression – then look no further. You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it.

It’s hard to sum up. We have had various mottos over the years: “Firm, but unfair”. “Champagne for the brain”. “Don’t think alike”. “Life’s too short not to read it.” But here’s no better substitute than taking the magazine, and finding out yourself. There is an 82pc chance you’ll be hooked.

Oh, and a health warning: in all of our pages, you’ll find people saying what they think. Disagreeing with each other. It’s a formula that Joseph Addison set up in 1711 for the first Spectator, a project that was rebooted in 1828 and has greater reach than ever today.

I found the complete series of the original 1711 Spectator recently: it’s in my desk.  There’s a sentence there, written by Addison (iphone pic below), that I think sums up the spirit of our magazine: “A man must be excessively stupid, as well as uncharitable, who believes that there is no virtue but on his own side, and that there are not men as honest as himself who may differ from him in political principles.” Agree to disagree. Take out a trial subscription today.


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