December 29, 2010

Women’s Wear Daily
After a quick start, Conde Nast’s iPad magazines are struggling to catch on, as the latest reports show continued sales declines.

John Koblin writes that, according to figures provided to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Vanity Fair, Glamour, GQ and Wired have all seen a drop in monthly paid downloads for their magazine apps.

  • Vanity Fair — 8,700 sales in November, down from an average of 10,500 over the previous three months.
  • Glamour — 2,755 sales in November, down from 4,301 in September.
  • GQ — 11,000 sales in November, down from an average 13,000 over the previous six months.
  • Wired — 23,000 sales in November, up slightly from October but down from an average of 31,000 over the previous three months. The magazine sold more than 100,000 copies its first month.

Koblin points out that many other publishers have not publicly shared their circulation figures, so the sample may not be representative of the industry. But Men’s Health, published by Rodale, also saw a dip in sales of their fall issues.

Assuming the sales trend is real, it is possible that consumers are holding out for a tablet subscription option, or even print-tablet subscription packages. Currently, most iPad publications are purchased as individual issues, with no discount provided to subscribers of the print edition.

Rumors of an iTunes subscription program have been floating for months, with an announcement expected in January. Ken Doctor wrote recently that he expects the ‘iNewsstand’ to provide a variety of subscription options for publishers and consumers.

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