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Readers Balk at iPad Magazine Pricing

Some magazine publishers are pricing their digital magazines, formatted for Apple’s new iPad, at the same price they charge for print publications, and readers are balking.

Time, for example, charges $4.99 for a single issue on the iPad, the same price the magazine charges on the newsstand. At the same time, subscribers can get 56 issues of the print version for $20. "How am I supposed to feel about this?" one customer of Time's magazine app commented on Apple's iTunes store. (via MediaBuyerPlanner).

Popular Science, another magazine being sold for the same price as a newsstand copy, was also complained about. But publisher Bonnier Corp. says the company believes it can prove to users that it is worth the $4.99 price over time. The magazine will "be something that really makes use of all the beauty the iPad has to offer," Bonnier director of research & development Sara Ohryall, is quoted as saying in Mediaweek.

Time Inc., publisher of Time, concurs, explaining its pricing thus (via All Things Digital): "We are offering a compelling, robust and beautiful product. The production of this high quality, fact-checked reporting takes resources. We believe there is a real value to this product and as consumers experience it, they will agree."

Time magazine’s app was ranked #16 on the iTunes 'top paid' list at the time of writing. The digital magazine included some additional content not available in the print version. Other print brands available on the iPad at launch were the Wall Street Journal and GQ, among others.

Single Copies Only, for Now

Magazines sold through iTunes are currently only available on a single-copy basis; no subscriptions are yet available, though publishers say subs will be available soon - and those subscriptions will likely be discounted from the newsstand price, just as print subscriptions are.

Will Lush iPad Experience Convince Users to Pay for Content?

Magazine publishers continue to experiment with how to offer digital content across the web and the variety of ereader devices available, and how much to charge for these various offerings. The iPad is a more obvious choice for offering magazines than devices like Amazon’s Kindle, because of its touch screen, interactive capabilities and, most important, lush color screen (the Kindle reading experience is in black and white).

With an experience so much like print - or, as some might argue, so much better than print - the iPad may just be the way to convince readers to begin paying for content again, some in the industry have said.

But others argue that magazine publishers must offer additional content in their iPad versions in order to gain a true digital following. Rodale’s Men’s Health is one magazine that added value to its digital version by adding extra information, writes minOnline.


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