Condé Nast’s magazine The New Yorker has released sales figures for its iPad magazine edition. It claims 100,000 iPad readers, 20,000 of whom have bought a $59.99 yearly subscription. The bulk of those readers are made up of 75,000 print subscribers who have taken advantage of the bundling offer that allows them to download the e-magazine for free, and the other five thousand buy single weekly issues for $4.99 each.
The New York Times reports that The New Yorker has followed a different strategy from other iPad magazines that emphasize graphics and multimedia. The New Yorker has always been a text-heavy magazine, and instead focused on giving that text the best presentation that it could.
“That was really important to us: to create an app all about reading,” said Pamela Maffei McCarthy, the magazine’s deputy editor. “There are some bells and whistles, but we’re very careful about that. We think about whether or not they add any value. And if they don’t, out the window they go.”
The New York Times article examines this in the context of Condé Nast’s efforts to shift toward a more consumer-based rather than advertising-based revenue model, to reduce the impact of the troublesome economy. Executives at The New Yorker have been nervous about going electronic, fearing the web could cannibalize print sales.
Industry observers are cautiously optimistic about the figures; those interviewed for the Times article suggested that they might need further study. It is also true that The New Yorker’s reader demographic and the demographic of people most likely to have iPads do tend to overlap. Still, this does show there is at least some demand for magazines on the iPad, if they are done right.