Digital Magazine on iPad Sales show a decline: Why?

I had to write about this topic ten days ago, but for some reason failed to do so. But as the observation is still relevant today, so let I share with you now.

We all know many publishers are launching their iPad magazines. Virgin Head Richard Branson, launched one around Christmas last year, Media baron Rupert Murdoch is launching his this week.

But, after a strong start following the debut of Apple's popular iPad in April 2010, sales of digital magazines on the tablet computer have fallen significantly, according to data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations analyzed by Women's Wear Daily ( Contrary to the pitch that hailed the medium as a lifesaver for publishing, it appears things are either different or it may take time for the medium to kick in. But even after whopping iPad sales, total number of iPads sold jumped 565% from 2 million at the end of May to an estimated 13.3 million by the end of the year; if the medium has still to take roots, then it is surprising).

Remarkably all iPad digital magazines looked at, have shown a double figure decline. Some of the biggest drops came at Wired magazine, a seemingly natural fit for the iPad audience with its futuristic tech focus.

The sales of the Wired's first digital iPad issue in June had over 100,000 digital magazines sales. Sales slumped to 31,000 digital copies in September, followed by 22,000 in October and 23,000 in November, per WWD. A 77 percent decline compared to the peak sales of June. Even if one takes into account, the novelty factor of the First issue, and compares the November figures from where decline is visible, i.e. September; then too the decline is 69 percent.

Similarly, Vanity Fair slumped from 10,500 digital magazines sold in August-October to 8,700 in November. A 17 percent decline compared to August sales.

In addition, Glamour slid from 4,301 copies in September to 2,775 in November. A 35 percent decline.

After averaging roughly 13,000 digital magazines sold from May-October, GQ slid to 11,000 in November. A 15 percent decline.

Now, it’s a clear decline, as there’s no skew. The entities that had bigger sales have also bigger slumps. So it’s not the case that with a magazine with smaller sales, any decline will look appreciable.

What can be the reason: We at Tech24hours, believe that iPad is not a reading device, the people who are buying the device are buying it for the many non-reading apps on App world. So it’s no surprising that reading content is not picking up as other activities like gaming. Which is clearly reflected in the sales of magazine subscriptions as one comes nearer to the festive season; reflecting other activities that are primary to iPad like gaming, shopping, surfing taking the center stage.

One major hurdle for the decline may be because many magazine and newspaper publishers say they are discouraged from offering digital subscriptions for the device, given Apple's reticence in sharing consumer data -- like the geographic location of iPad owners -- which makes it hard to market subscriptions to likely buyers. So far, most publishers have confined themselves to selling single issues. Notably, this is a major de-motivator for readers as well. --------

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