The reality facing many American newspaper publishers continues to look stark, as figures released Monday show deep circulation declines, with average weekday sales down almost 9 percent since the same time last year. USA Today had a 13.6 percent weekday decline. It held the top spot before losing it to The Wall Street Journal last fall. In the six-month period ending March 31, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported Sunday sales dropping 6.5 percent and weekday sales 8.7 percent compared with the same six-month period a year ago. The figures are based on reports filed by hundreds of individual papers. The decline was widespread, as nearly all of the major newspapers and many of the smaller ones lost circulation. Among the 25 largest papers, The San Francisco Chronicle suffered the most, losing 22.7 percent of its weekday sales. Among the 25 largest circulation newspapers, 10 had declines in weekday circulation of more than 10 percent. The Sunday circulation figures were slightly higher, though far from a bright spot, as five of the 25 largest papers reported double-digit declines.