Could iOS 5 save magazines?

The launch of iOS 5 earlier this month for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices included a new Newsstand feature that allows for easy purchase of digital magazines. Now it seems like the feature is having a positive effect. Conde Nast announced today that since the launch of iOS and Newsstand, it has seen subscriptions of its nine digital magazines jump 268 percent.  The company also claimed it say single issue sales go up 142 percent.

Conde Nast didn't say how many subscriptions or sales of its digital magazines it was selling before Newsstand launched but the percentage numbers are certainly impressive. It also shows that at least some people are interested in paying for downloadable magazines.

For the past few years we have been told that print magazines, along with newspapers, would soon go the way of the dodo. Yet there is something about a magazine format that is still attractive to some readers. Let's face it; web site design leave much to be desired in terms of aesthetics. Of course, part of the reason for this is that web site also have be designed to load as quickly as possible in a web browser.

But as we have seen with the success of Amazon's Kindle eReader, the print world doesn't have to disappear. It can transition over to the digital world and still keep most of the features that readers enjoy and perhaps add some new interactive features. Just as Apple changed the music and phone worlds, perhaps it can lend a hand to save the magazine industry as well.

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20 Comments

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I enjoy Wired, Mac|Life and National Geographic on my iPad but the only one that ****es me off format wise is Nat Geo because of the landscape vs portrait reading.

No, reading magazines on tablets is just frustrating and slow. Edge magazine in its current format on iOS is just stupid (IMO).

Mateus said,
No, reading magazines on tablets is just frustrating and slow. Edge magazine in its current format on iOS is just stupid (IMO).

It works great for me

I would actually love to take advantage of the magazines on iOS5... but the digital version shouldn't cost *more* than a subscription to the physical copy. That's a huge put off for me.

chadlachlanross said,
I would actually love to take advantage of the magazines on iOS5... but the digital version shouldn't cost *more* than a subscription to the physical copy. That's a huge put off for me.

Indeed, some of the local (swedish) magazines ask for more than the magazine cost as a printed copy, even more than the pdf version cost, sure, they did some reorganizing and new layout but it isnt even always an improvement.

There are several magazines with good prices though, PC Gamer, Edge, Mac|Life, all have pretty good prices, around €4, not sure exactly what it is in the UK or US stores.

eBooks are the same :-(

However, eBooks are more expensive partly because of (infinite) supply/demand: People want eBooks and are willing to pay a small premium for them - I'd rather pay $12 for an eBook for my Kindle than $10 for a real book to lug around.

However, the physical book industry is still doing well enough to support loss of revenue from experimenting with eBook pricing like this. Given the decline of magazines in general, I'm surprised the magazine industry is pushing prices this high.

That doesn't make sense ... yes iOS5 could help, by providing a new conduit for magazine sales, as other conduits become less popular. Sure, it benefits Apple, but high street shops also benefit from selling magazines (and their existence also 'saved' magazines).

Soulsiphon said,
The bigger question is: could ios5 cure cancer?

Dude that was a low shot...way too soon to make those kind of jokes.

Soulsiphon said,
The bigger question is: could ios5 cure cancer?

I actually thought you meant that as a literal joke. Then I realized the Steve Jobs pun... well damn.