How to rescue magazine sales on iPad
It is no surprise that magazine sales on the iPad have fallen since the summer, as the novelty of pawing through a publication on the new toy wore off.
In the most extreme case of fatigue, Wired sold 100,000 copies of the first issue it put on the iPad in June but only about 22,000 in November, according to statistics culled from the Audit Bureau of Circulations and first reported at Women’s Wear Daily. The chart below is from Silicon Alley Insider.
A sale of 22k issues isn’t all that bad, since it represents $87,780 in almost pure profit at $3.99 a copy, but publishers seeking to build iPad volume would do well to read the disappointing reviews of the Wired app on the iTunes page where the magazine is sold.
Fully 61% of those who bought the most recent edition of the Wired iPad app gave it the lowest possible score at iTunes. The complaints coalesce around four major themes, each of which it is in the power of Wired and other publishers to address:
:: Functionality. The app is little more than a digital dupe of the print product, with scant interactivity to leverage the power of this sophisticated digital platform. “That’s not Wired,” said an iTunes customer identified as byron246. “It’s tired.”
:: Technical glitches. Several reviewers complained of balky downloads, improper formatting and other issues that made it difficult and time-consuming to acquire and read the magazine. “Some issues have broken texts, so I tried ‘restore all,’” said someone called Bring Back My Money, who complained that only one of five issues reappeared after the attempted restore. “Everyone should know that ‘restore’ means ‘delete and throw away your money.’”
:: Price. The app is just too expensive for what it delivers. “I just paid $20 for two full years of the paper version,” said one customer identified as Christopher Fluke. “$3.99 per issue for some fancy reformat? I don’t think so.”
:: No subscription. Not only is the magazine costly to buy on a per-copy basis, but you have to remember to download it every month and fuss with the limitations, glitches and high price cited above. In other words, the hassle factor is too high. “Get this down to $20 per year,” said someone called Skrapmot, “and we’re talking.”