The Sun on Sunday, Rupert Murdoch's latest entrant in the cutthroat world of U.K. newspaper publishing, sold more than 3.2 million copies of its first edition.
"Amazing!" Murdoch, the chairman of News Corporation, wrote on Twitter. "The Sun confirmed sale of 3,260,000 copies yesterday. Thanks all readers and advertisers. Sorry if sold out--more next time."
To put those 3,260,000 copies in perspective, the daily edition of the Sun, the U.K.'s top-selling newspaper, had an average circulation of 2,751,219 copies per issue last year. The top-selling Sunday paper in England in 2011 was the Mail on Sunday, averaging 1,921,010 copies. (News of the World, with a circulation of 2.7 million, held that honor before it was closed by News International last July amid the U.K. phone-hacking scandal; the last paper's last edition sold more than 4.5 million copies.)
[ SEE SLIDE SHOW: Murdoch launches Sun on Sunday ]
Murdoch, who had said he was hoping for initial sales of 2 million for the Sun on Sunday, launched the paper with a cover price of 50 pence. Most Sunday editions are priced at 1 pound or more; and most of the red-top tabloids followed suit by dropping their cover price.
"The first real test of the Sun on Sunday's success will be after a full month on the newsstands," Paul McNally wrote on Journalism.co.uk, "when the March figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations are published in mid-April."
"It was all sold out at my local shop in Highgate at 11 a.m.," Fliss Thistlethwaite, one of Murdoch's followers, tweeted. "Well done!"
Another, Charlie Sarson, wasn't so impressed: "Well, toilet roll is quite expensive these days," he wrote.
The Sun on Sunday included an editor's note to readers reassuring them that the phone-hacking scandal that brought down Murdoch's News of the World would not happen there.
"You will be able to trust our journalists to abide by the values of decency as they gather news," the note read. "You will be able to trust us, too, to keep you entertained, as we have done during six decades. The headline-writers who brought you 'Zip Me Up Before You Go Go' and 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like Korea' have plenty more. We further promise you this: The Sun will never hesitate to speak its mind. It will never sit on the fence. It will never be boring."
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