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iPad not the boon for magazines as hoped

Women’s Wear Daily reports that despite the high hopes for the iPad, the magical device has not been the boon for magazines as hoped.

Many magazines that are available on the iPad, such as Esquire, People and The New Yorker, have not posted their digital single-issue sales to the ABC. But Vanity Fair sold 8,700 digital editions of its November issue, down from its average of about 10,500 for the August, September and October issues. Glamour sold 4,301 digital editions in September, but sales dropped 20 percent in October and then another 20 percent, to 2,775, in November. GQ’s November edition sold 11,000 times, which was its worst performance since April (when the iPad was released) and represents a slight decline from its average digital sales of 13,000 between May and October.

Community Comments

#1 Norm Feuti
January/3/2011
@ 8:31 am

The problem (as I see it) is all in their pricing model.

Using The New Yorker as an example, their iPad app only allows you to buy individual issues at $4.99 a piece with no option for a yearly subscription.

Why would I use their app? For the price of 6 digital issues, I can get an entire year of the print version of the magazine delivered to my door.

99 cents per issue, with the option of a one-year digital subscription for $19.99 would seem to make more sense.

#2 August J. Pollak
January/3/2011
@ 9:03 am

The iPad’s not even a year old, and these metrics were all pre-holiday season when I imagine quite a few more people purchased or were given iPads, Kindles, etc. Seems like this article is a little premature.

#3 rina piccolo
January/3/2011
@ 9:05 am

Like Norm, I also wonder why they (the NYer) doesn’t offer a subscription. They’ve got some kinks to work out, obviously. This sort of thing takes time.

#4 dan thompson
January/3/2011
@ 9:15 am

Also, Apple and these big publishers are haggling over power of subscriber information. Apple keeps all the info of their Itunes customers, and the big Publishers want in on the info to know what demographic they should be advertising to…and that’s slowing new magazines from entering itunes, and itunes from opening a subscription based store…Like August said It’s not even a year old, and the old services haven’t caught up with the new services yet. And Norm’s right too, the prices should be much lower. I’m looking forward to checking out “The Daily” Ipad newspaper.

#5 Mike Cope
January/3/2011
@ 9:28 am

Dan makes a great point. With millions of iPads already in use, how many of these magazines sales are just one-offs being purchased by those trying out their new toy?

#6 Mike McKeenan
January/3/2011
@ 9:40 am

Can you do a yearly subscription model on the iPad? I thought it was all one-offs.

#7 Anne Hambrock
January/3/2011
@ 10:12 am

I was not interested in the NYer app because I want the physical magazine. (I cut out the cartoons) :-)

But one of the first apps we subscribed to for the ipad was the Wall Street Journal. It’s cheaper than the print version, the ads are less intrusive, the articles are easy to navigate, and I don’t have extra paper to recycle. As the WSJ is a hefty paper, I really like not having to deal with that.

I would be curious to know if there is any data reflecting a relationship between subscription rates and specific magazine content.

#8 Ted Rall
January/3/2011
@ 11:08 am

@Anne, Do you cut out the cartoons because they’re good, or so terrible they burn your eyes while you’re trying to read the articles?

#9 Anne Hambrock
January/3/2011
@ 2:03 pm

Gee, Ted – I didn’t realize I hit such a nerve :-)

Last I checked, most of my favorite artists like George Booth, Roz Chast and Charles Barsotti still had cartoons running regularly.

I would like to see more diversity though – I was saddened that they only picked up two cartoons by Rina Piccolo and then she stopped submitting.

#10 Ted Rall
January/3/2011
@ 4:34 pm

Aw, Jeez, I was just joking.

Something the New Yorker does too rarely.

#11 Al Urker
January/3/2011
@ 4:50 pm

I like the New Yorker cartoons. In fact, I subscribe to the magazine just for the cartoons. I don’t have an iPad or iPhone, so I don’t do apps, nor have any desire to read the magazine and cartoons on them.

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