Last week, reports emerged that major publishers Hearst Corporation and Condé Nast would begin offering digital magazine subscriptions using Apple’s in-app subscription service.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Hearst Corporation would begin offering digital subscriptions in its iPad apps for Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Digital subscriptions will be available beginning with July issues for $19.99 per year or $1.99 per month each. Currently, individual digital issues of each magazine can be purchased for $1.99 (Popular Mechanics) through $4.99 (Esquire).
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The New York Post reported Friday that Condé Nast will beat Hearst Corporation in the in-app subscription race by offering digital magazine subscriptions earlier, starting with The New Yorker next week and several other titles before the end of the month. By the end of May, iPad users will be able to pay $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year each for digital subscriptions to Wired Magazine, Golf Digest, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Self, Allure, and GQ.
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(See all of Condé Nast’s apps here.)
Apple officially launched its in-app subscription service in February and publishers with apps in the App Store have until June 30 to comply with the service’s requirements. While Newsweek was the first major magazine we saw to offer subscriptions via in-app purchase last October, several publishers are following suit like Bloomberg who began offering digital subscriptions to BusinessWeek magazine at very competitive prices last month.
I’m glad to see more and more publishers offer digital magazine subscription pricing on par with or lower than paper versions and hope that this trend continues. While it’s clear that creating a digital version of a magazine is not without its costs, it seems reasonable to conclude that doing so still costs less than printing and distributing a paper version and the pricing should be reduced accordingly.
Also, it’s about damn time that Wired Magazine cost less than $3.99 per issue on the iPad, the same price as the printed version.