John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Just Because I Spent $500 on an iPad Doesn’t Mean I’ll Pay a 500 Percent Markup on an iPad Magazine Subscription

Apple’s iPad may offer a sexier alternative to print, but you wouldn’t know it from the latest data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. According to the ABC, magazine sales on the tablet have dropped sharply since they debuted earlier this year. A few notable examples:

  • When Wired magazine launched on the iPad in June, it racked up more than 100,000 downloads. By November the number dwindled to between 22,000 and 23,000.
  • Vanity Fair, which sold about 10,500 iPad downloads in August, saw sales drop to 8,700 in November.
  • Glamour saw a 40 percent decline in iPad sales between September, when it sold 4,301 copies, and November, when it sold just 2,775.

There were other declines as well, all helpfully catalogued over at Memo Pad, but you get the idea.

Seems that iPad magazines haven’t yet captured the public’s attention. Why? Overpricing, perhaps. Why pay $5 a pop for a digital copy of a publication you can subscribe to for $10 a year? Of course, the larger issue is the publishing industry’s insistence on using new platforms like the iPad to ape antiquated models like print, when it could be using them to develop entirely new ones. Just because you can arrange a pile of massive image files into a digital magazine doesn’t make it a good one.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald