Home The iPad Not a Savior of Magazines, as Digital Sales Continue to Fall

The iPad Not a Savior of Magazines, as Digital Sales Continue to Fall

If publishers are looking to the iPad to help revive (or extend) magazine sales, recent figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) aren’t good news. While not all magazines that are available on the iPad release their digital single-issue sales to the ABC, those that do all show a significant year-end drop.

WWD reports that Vanity Fair sold 8,700 digital editions of its November issue, down from an average of about 10,500 for the previous three months. Glamour sold 4,300 digital copies in September, but sales fell by 20% in October and then another 20% to 2,775 in November. GQ’s November edition sold 11,000 copies, its worst sales figures since the iPad was released.

The Future of (Digital) Magazines

One of the most highly touted iPad magazines, Wired, famously sold more than 100,000 issues of its debut issue. But it averaged 31,000 issues sold in following months, falling to 23,000 issues in November.

While these magazine apps are often free on the iPad and iPhone, purchasing the actual issues costs extra. Many have complained about the price for these digital issues – $3.99 for Wired, for example – as well as the unavailability of discounted subscription plans and lack of digital access for print subscribers.

Following a great holiday season for Apple, it may be that the legions of new iPad owners become new buyers of digital magazines. Certainly that’s what the magazine publishing industry hopes. And with reports of Rupert Murdoch launching a daily newspaper on the iPad in January, perhaps there will be renewed interest – on the part of both readers and publishers – in iPad content.


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