Initial GQ iPad App Downloads Disappoint

The iPad was heralded as the digital savior for many newspaper and magazine publishers but it seems iPad magazine sales have not been as brisk as many editors had hoped.  Gentlemen’s Quarterly publisher Pete Hunsinger told min that there have only been 365 downloads of GQ’s December 2009 Man of the Year iPad edition.  This equates to a whopping $1,091.35 for Conde Nast before Apple takes their 30% cut.

The low numbers don’t seem to phase Hunsinger. “This costs us nothing extra: no printing or postage,” says Hunsinger. “Everything is profit, and I look forward to the time when iPad issue sales become a major component to our circulation.”

Although sales numbers are low, the iPad version does bring in extra advertising revenue. According to Hunsinger, “The iPad is bringing added value to advertisers, too.”

The low sales numbers come as a bit of a surprise as GQ’s iPad edition is well put together and the pricing is competitive. Normal newsstand prices for GQ run $4.99 while the iPad edition is $2.99 with back issues also priced at the discounted $2.99 price. Although the single iPad issue is discounted off of the newsstand price, the iPad version doesn’t look nearly as attractive when you compare it to a 12 month printed subscription.  You can pickup a year”s subscription of the printed edition for only $12, or a savings of nearly 70% off the iPad version.

It is still early for publisher’s experimenting with the iPad.  We fully expect more publishers to release iPad editions of their magazines and they’ll continue to play with pricing until they find the sweet spot.

Update: Conde Nast contacted us with some clarifications to our original story.  You can find the follow-up article here.

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  • http://1timstreet.com Tim Street

    Don’t forget it’s still early days on the iPad. Not every one of the million plus iPad owners are GQ readers and those that are can still get their GQ content at a Newsstand and on the Web. It’s going to take a while for this new way to consume media to trickle to all the niches that are out there.

  • Pat

    NO wonder it is not selling… The application is not working for too many people. If you look at the application comments for the ipad you can clearly see that there is a problem for alot of theses users.

  • Ric

    They need to come up with a subscription model for magazines that are competitive otherwise I don’t think it’ll really take off.