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Some iPad magazines seeing steep sales declines

Although many publishers have expressed great enthusiasm for the iPad as a publishing platform, new sales figures reported by some publications to the Audit Bureau of Circulation show that some publications that offer iPad/iPhone editions saw strong initial sales, but then steep sales drops as the novelty of iPad editions wore off—and techno-pub Wired might be leading the downward charge, selling view than a quarter the number of issues in November that it sold with its debut in June.

According to WWD.com, a fashion-oriented news site, reported figures for sales the iPad edition of Wired fell from a stunning 100,000 copies of its debut issue in June to just 22,000 and 23,000 copies in October and November. Other publications reporting numbers to the Audit Bureau of Circulation saw less-dramatic drops, but drops all the same: Vanity Fair held steady at 10,500 iPad editions in August, September, and October then dropped to 8,700 copies in November. Glamour moved 4,300 copies on the iPad in September, but fell steadily to 2,775 in November, and GQ has seen sales drop from a steady 13,000 to 11,000 in November.

Many other publications available on the iPad, including The New Yorker, People, and Esquire, do not report their sales figures.

Some industry watchers have been quick to point out that the decline in sales of iPad editions of major print magazines may not have much to do with the iPad itself, but with the way the magazines have chosen to offer issues to iPad users. Some print publications offer no discount for existing print subscribers who’d like to try the iPad edition (making them pay for the same content twice), and the applications for many iPad magazines offer a less-than-stellar user experience. However, without firm sales figures from a broader range of publications on offer for the iPad—including some with lauded applications—publishers have no way of knowing if consumers’ message is “we don’t want digital magazines on the iPad,” or “we don’t want to pay a premium for slapdash content on the iPad.”

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