Proving the old adage "all publicity is good publicity," sales for Rolling Stone's Aug. 1 issue – which sparked controversy for putting Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover – jumped 102 percent, despite boycott campaigns and select retailers pulling it from their shelves.
The Hollywood Reporter, using retailer point-of-sale data from the Magazine Information Network, reports that the issue doubled the magazine sales from the same week in 2012.
As soon as Rolling Stone posted the cover image to its Facebook page July 16, critics decried the image, arguing the pop culture magazine was glamorizing terrorism by giving the young bombing suspect the real estate usually reserved for rock stars. Rolling Stone posted online the 10,000-plus word cover story along with an editor's note defending the decision a few days later. Nevertheless Walgreens, CVS and other retailers vowed to pull the issue off their newsstands.
This is not the first time Rolling Stone has strayed from their usual celebrity cover to showcase a high profile suspect, nor is it the first time such a decision has brought the magazine success. Rolling Stone's 1970 Charles Manson cover touting its prison interview with the mass murderer won the magazine a National Magazine Award.
Ironically, Kanye West was originally planned for that week's cover, sources told the Hollywood Report, but fell through due to the birth of West's child.