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Publishers fail to understand the iPad

iPad, Apps, Sales, FailSome new thinking is required if there is going to be a significant take-up of iPad apps from print media publishers in 2011.

There is no way around this fact: the first batch of magazines adapted to the iPad failed to deliver. Six months after the initial excitement, the mood has turned turned sour. See the figures below, they show the downturn in circulation for the much publicized iPad versions of a few American magazines:

- Wired: 100,000 downloads in June, 22,500 in October and November : down 78%. According to the Magazine Publishers Association, that’s not even a meager 3% of the average print copy circulation for the first half of 2010 — for an iconic tech magazine… - Vanity Fair: 10,500 in August, 8,700 in November, down 17% and less 1% of the print sales. (These numbers include single copy sales and subscriptions, which represent the bulk of the print revenues for US magazines). According to WWD, using figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation, several high profiles glossies show the same pattern: iPad downloads are in sharp decline everywhere.

For this regular user, such numbers do not come as a surprise. I’ve been reading Wired and Vanity Fair in paper form for years. As a non-US reader, the benefit of the iPad version was obvious: instant availability, no need to look for a higher-end newsstand providing international fodder. Plus a serious discount: at a European kiosk, a glossy can fetch €9 or $12; on the iPad, it’s $3.99, I was getting a bargain for my monthly fix. Plus extras such as the occasional video, and the convenience of back issues loaded in the memory chip of my tablet…

What went wrong, then?

Read the whole article here. Related article: Why the iPad is Destroying the Future of Journalism

Related Post: Khoi Vinh on the Failure of Magazines on the iPad

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