Sunday newspapers are so rare because most of the stock we receive at the archive now is from bound volumes stored by libraries. However, these tend to be only daily papers since they did not work on Sundays, and thus did not keep the Sunday newspapers.
There were also material shortages during the Second World War but this did not limit production of the newspapers. Instead the newspapers produced far less pages than they had done before the war. Tabloids went down to only 8 pages, and broadsheets went down to 4 pages.
Sunday and daily newspapers were far, far more popular in the 1940s than they are today since they did not have internet and television etc. The 1940s was a decade of massive growth in newspaper sales. For example...
In April 2014, Sun on Sunday sold 1.7 million newspapers, Mail on Sunday sold 1.5 million and the Sunday Mirror 928,697 newspapers.
Sales figures were not collated during the Second Word War. However, they were collated for 1939 and then the next time they were collated was 1948. Figures for the top 4 selling Sunday newspapers in 1939 and 1948 as follows. (Mail on Sunday was not around until the 1980s):
1939 Circulation Figures
- News of the World - 3,750,000
- Sunday People - 3,000,000
- Sunday Express - 1,485,141
- No figures available for Sunday Pictorial
1948 Circulation Figures
- News of the World - 7,887,488
- Sunday People - 4,672,708
- Sunday Pictorial (Sunday Mirror) - 4,004,571
- Sunday Express - 2,578,862
For comprehensive coverage of Second World War newspapers from the 1940s take a look at our World War 2 Newspaper Book.