The emergence of digital magazines into the tablet medium has been pretty rough going thus far, considering publishers’ testy reception to Apple’s 30 percent commission and somewhat heavy-handed information-sharing policies, and in light of the struggles of content producers to create affordable, user-friendly tablet editions of their print magazine designs. Watching the development of a new media format in its infancy has been fascinating, as all parties involved try to take advantage of new opportunities and cash in on the millions of tech-savvy, gadget-loving users on the leading edge of tech.
According to a new post by Steve Smith at MinOnline, the iPad faithful seem to be warming up to tablet magazine apps in large numbers. While U.S. App Store sales rankings tend to fluctuate wildly from day to day, a recent check shows digital magazine newsstand Zinio at No. 3, People magazine at No. 24 and The New Yorker at No. 42. A few newspapers and other pubs are amongst the top grossers as well. While this might not exactly seem like a magazine takeover of app heavyweights, consider that, at least on the day for which MinOnline reported the rankings, Zinio outsold Angry Birds, the wildly popular and profitable game app.
Personally I’d like to see actual sales figures and a much, much longer time frame before conceding that tablet magazines are here for the long haul, but any app that can outgross Angry Birds for a given period of time can probably pop a champagne cork or two. I still think digital mags have a long way to go to compete with the print reading experience (and they’ll certainly never smell as good or feel as good to the touch as paper does), but it appears magazine publishers may finally be making significant headway in connecting their distribution channels to online users.
Now if I could just manage to put down Angry Birds long enough to download the latest issues of my favorite mags …