iPad magazine sales continue dropping

After some initial very positive sales figures for magazines on the iPad, sales continued to drop for US titles as the end of 2010 approaches, according to a post by John Koblin in WWDMedia.

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

iPad sales for Wired, which outsold print copies with the iPad edition in its first month, have seriously tailed off. We now have several months of declining sales for the iPad edition. The iPad as ‘print’ saviour now looks less and less likely. Would a better subscription model help? Would less print-centric thinking help? At this point, the sales figures don’t look to justify the premium ad rates some magazines are charging for the iPad.

Dorian Benkoil writing on PBS MediaShift quoted John Loughlin, executive vice president and general manager of Hearst Magazines:

As Loughlin noted, this is an experimental period, when magazines are learning what they can offer and how much they can charge. Some apps will be breakout hits. A combination of web, apps, mobile and print sales may bolster magazines and give them new life and sustained profitability.

But the excitement over apps has some difficult realities to confront until that day is reached.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. There are no silver bullets, no single solution that will save publishing. It’s going to take strategic thinking that focuses on building compelling print and digital products and building a multi-revenue stream business or businesses to support them.

3 thoughts on “iPad magazine sales continue dropping

  1. I wonder: Do we have sales or revenue figures for Gourmet Live ? That might be a more compelling iPad app than digital versions of magazines, what do you think ?

  2. Evren, I couldn’t find download figures for Gourmet Live. The only thing I did find even close was downloads of the Epicurious app at 50,000 per week from a September 23 paidContent post. The only thing I would say is that Gourmet Live has a very different business model to many other magazine apps seeing as it’s free and very social. Good questions and definitely worth keeping an eye on due to it’s different take.

  3. I wonder if too many publishers believed the hype of the iPad as a saviour of the industry? They all seem to have embraced the idea that it would save their business using a familiar old model of people paying for individual issues, content being walled in and often not shareable. That model that really doesn’t work on the wider web, despite its comforting familiarity.

    I haven’t yet seen or heard of anything really innovative when it comes to magazines/papers on tablets (although I am happy to be shown one). It feels like the nineties all over again…

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