It'll take more than a touchscreen to revive the hemorrhaging magazine industry, if pitiful recent sales numbers are any indication—iPad editions have taken a nosedive among the highest profile glossies. Wired? Down to a fifth of its debut.
Wired's peers aren't doing so hot either—and didn't have the mammoth, 100,000 sale premiere to kick things off. According to the magazine circulation-tracking Audit Bureau of Circulations, only 8,700 people bought an iPad issue of Vanity Fair in November, down from 10,500 in August. Glamour? Even worse, with only a paltry 2,775 iPad issues sold in October, compared to a slightly less paltry 4,301 in September. Dude stuff powerhouse GQ? Also in the dumps, with a worst-ever 11,000 downloads in November.
A large part of the problem? Apple's refusal to offer anything resembling a traditional subscription service, instead forcing readers to buy each issue individually. Whether it's this inconvenience, lackluster content, general reader ennui, or some malignant swirl of the three is unclear. But Apple sure isn't giving mags the help they could.
No matter what the cause, these are not numbers that will lead to a magazine publishing renaissance. These aren't numbers that will even keep the coffee machine running in their offices. With magazine publishers pouring resources and enthusiasm into an imagined iPad promised land, they'd better hope these dispiriting—to put it lightly—stats are only a temporary lapse in reader interest. Or maybe Men's Health will have to come up with 600 undiscovered ab workout tips, if it wants to rise above the 2,000 issues it pushed in September and October. [WWD via Engadget]