Unsurprisingly, that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev issue of Rolling Stonewas a sales hit for the magazine. Adweek reports that retail sales of the magazine jumped 102 percent above what the magazine normally does at stores like Target and Walgreens, despite some stores refusing to sell the issue. Rolling Stone's media kit says the retailer sells about 75,000 copies a month, meaning that at a 102 percent increase, the magazine moved about 151,500 copies at retail of the issue.
As Adweek notes, only about five percent of Rolling Stone’s circulation comes from retail sales. One of Rolling Stone’s other controversial issues, a 1970 issue featuring killer Charles Manson on the cover, went on to win a National Magazine Award.