Digital Editions Just Might Save Magazine Circulation



1Photo: Via Women's Wear Daily

As much as we don't want to believe it, many of our favorite publications are still in decline. Even though we may have made it to the other side of the recession, the magazine industry is still feeling the burn. Some of the country's top monthlies, like Glamour, are posting double-digit drops in circulation (compared to the same time last year), and ad sales haven't fared much better. But, those good ol' digital editions we were all so skeptical about may be stepping up to the plate in a big way.

The sale of digital replicas (read: not freestanding apps, but the electronic version of the newsstand editions) has nearly doubled in the last year, according to new data from the Alliance for Audited Media. Newsweeklies like Time and The New Yorker seem to be reaping the most benefits from the boom, thanks to promotion on Apple Newsstand. And, if we had to venture a guess, we'd say it's also due in part to the fact that more text-heavy pubs read just as easily on our iPads, as opposed to trying to admire fashion spreads on the small screen.

Of course, since this is the magazine industry we're talking about, it's sadly not all good news. Many periodicals are still struggling to master the digital edition formula, and others have taken such great hits to print circulation that digital sales aren't making up as much ground as needed. But, we're happy to hear about any kind of silver lining when it comes to 'zines — sure, we love our Internet (duh!), but we'd hate to see anymore classic publications fold. So, if you need us, we'll be buried in our iPads downloading all those New Yorker issues we promised ourselves we'd read. (Women's Wear Daily)