Why pay for a newspaper? You can get them just about everywhere: working out at the gym, putting it back on at Maccas, at schools and universities, galleries and museums, even at the zoo, according to our readers.

For years now, Crikey readers have made a hobby of writing to us to report the stacks of free newspapers they’ve seen in their travels. And, as newspaper circulation falls, the sightings have increased. Across the country, bundles of papers are stacked strategically for your complimentary reading pleasure.

In the context of plummeting newspaper sales and the argument over selling advertising on the web, the ever-growing presence of free papers is even more fascinating.

Last November Glenn Dyer wrote of US media reports that revealed how Rupert Murdoch and other US publishers had fiddled their newspaper circulation figures for the September 30 half year, which made them look much better than they actually were.

There’s nothing new in this. Crikey has been covering the phenomenon for years — for some background, you can read one of more than 100 Crikey stories on the subject, for example, Andrew Dodd on “Spend $2 million for 100,000 sales: an Age reader offer” in July last year or Margaret Simons on changes to the audit bureau rules in 2006, or Handy hints for flagging boosting circulation in 2005.

Now we thought we’d go one step further and plot your sightings on a map — pin-pointing where you can get your local title for free.

Zoom in and click on the dots to see the exact dumping location:

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So keep those sightings coming. Tip us off here or email [email protected] with “free newspapers” in the subject line and we’ll upload your entry on the map.

After all, the publishers are generously offering them for free. It’d be rude not to take them.