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Sharp fall in iPad mag sales as novelty wears thin

Latest numbers from ABC shows steep decline in iPad magazine sales over the past few months, as iPad sales soar. Why?

Laura June at Engadget reports:

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which collects magazine circulation data from companies willing to furnish numbers, all iPad magazines have seen fall offs in downloads over the past few months. Wired was averaging 31,000 downloads from July through September, had 22,000 and 23,000 respectively in October and November. Other magazines have seen similar declines: Vanity Fair sold 8,700 downloads of its November issue, down from an average of about 10,500 from August through October; GQ sold 11,000 copies, its worst showing yet.

This is bad news for publishers. And it indicates that iPad magazines benefited from a novelty factor but that that novelty soon wore off.

What's puzzling is that iPad sales have been soaring all year; you would expect a rise in magazine subscriptions just based on the percentage of rising iPad sales. Yet we don't see this at all.

This seems to indicate that the early adopters are the ones that would try out iPad subscriptions first, since by definition they are early adopters; but as the iPad moved into a more mainstream audience there would be a lower take up since this is a different market.

It might also indicate that there has been little follow up marketing. I remember the buzz around the first iPad magazines but I've come across little since then.

So is this downward trend a marketing failure or a platform failure?

Do people want to consume their magazines on an iPad? It seems not.