The iPad is officially become more friendly to magazine readers.
Whether it’s becoming less hostile to the print business is still up in the air — but it appears as though major progress has been made towards a détente between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the moguls of the magazine world.
As had been rumored, Condé Nast began selling magazine subscriptions on the iPad on Monday (May 9). The New Yorker is first out of the game, with Vanity Fair, Glamour, Golf Digest, Allure, Wired, Self and GQ among the titles that will become available for subscriptions sales in the coming weeks.
Until recently, few magazines had been available via subscription on the iPad. That meant, despite many publishers’ fantasy about the much-hyped device saving print, few magazine lovers were likely to shift their reading to the device because of economics. Why pay $5 or $6 per single issue of your favorite magazine when you can pay less than $20 per year to receive every issue in print — no matter how beautiful or convenient the iPad version is?
Magazine giants had been wary of Apple’s pricing demands (the company is said to take a 30 percent cut of an subscriptions sold in its app store) and the fact that Apple was looking to control the relationship with each subscriber. That relationship has long been valued by publishers, who frequently remarket to subscribers or sell their subscriber information to other marketers.
Apple seems to have budged to a degree on this issue,
according to the New York Post. But it’s not entirely clear going forward which party gave more ground in these negotiations (one victory for Condé Nast is that its current paying print subscribers won’t have to pay to access these magazines’ content on the iPad).
What is clear is that with nearly 19 million iPads
sold to date, print publishers are under intense pressure to make sure that their brands are available on the device in whatever form consumers want, while ensuring that the business model on tablet computers doesn’t hurt these companies’ long term survival.
“We’ve been working closely with Apple for some time to be the first to deliver what consumers clearly want: easy access to premium packaged digital content via subscription,” said Condé president Robert Sauerberg, Jr. in a statement. “The iPad has created an incredible new way for readers to experience our award-winning magazines. Over time, we’ll see subscriptions leading to greater and greater scale, helping to drive overall industry growth.”