Last Updated: November 10, 2020

Publications live and die by subscriptions. For magazines, catalogs, and newspapers, a higher number of subscribers means more advertising revenue, more content, and more widespread recognition of those publications.

Circulation Managers ensure the ongoing survival of various publications. These individuals oversee the distribution process for mainly newspapers and magazines in the country. Read on to discover how circulation managers work closely with the rest of the publishing team to increase circulation rates.

What do they do?

Location and Opportunity

According to, the following locations offer the best chance of obtaining a career in circulation management.

  • New York, NY
  • Wilmington, DE
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Washington, DC

Circulation managers first and foremost are communication experts. The primary task of any circulation manager is to develop contacts with retailers and distributors, increasing the number of catalogs, newspapers, or magazines they distribute.

To increase circulation rates, these professionals might enact marketing campaigns to give consumers special prices on subscription rates. These deals must be balanced in line with a publications budget, which circulation managers also typically develop.

Circulation managers typically work alone within a publishing company, reporting back to higher-level management. Some of the other professionals they might work with include:


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Circulation managers must have developed strong business sense and an ability to connect with a publication’s subscribers. Typically, circulation managers earn bachelor’s degrees in either marketing or journalism, but extensive experience increasing circulation rates is the most important qualification.

Because circulation managers are also involved in promotional campaigns for a publication, they may need to design pages or advertisements for the campaign. Strong computer skills are a must for any circulation manager.

Become a Circulation Manager

Depending on how well a publication performs, circulation managers have the opportunities to make competitive pay in the publishing industry. The average salary for a circulation manager in 2012 was $40,250.

Newspapers and magazines are experiencing a downturn in circulation rates, meaning more and more publications are looking for effective circulation managers to recover lost subscribers.

If you’re interested in a career as a circulation manager, contact schools offering careers in marketing.