Publishers Test What Prices iPad Market Will Bear

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How much would you pay for your favorite print magazine to appear on the iPad? That’s the question some magazine publishers are asking themselves, including the makers of Popular Science. Pop Science is charging $4.99 per iPad issue, or nearly half the price for an entire year’s subscription to their traditional format. What’s been the readers’ reaction? So far, so good.

“We’re trying to make our readers not feel like we’re slapping them in the face as we explore this new world,” Popular Science chief editor Mark Jannot told the audience at Tabula Rasa NYC, a conference of publishing and media experts. While the iPad edition of Popular Science is currently $4.99, a year-long subscription to the print version costs $12.


The magazine will be “aggressive with pricing” as it searches for what the iPad publishing market will bear, Jannot added. Although the magazine intends to drop the per-issue price of its iPad edition, it plans to charge $29.99 for 12 issues and $19.99 for a six.

The iPad version of Popular Science is No. 39 on the App Store’s Top Paid ranking and No. 41 on Top Grossing apps list.

Similar exploration for the “sweet spot” in iPad publishing prices is going on elsewhere. Book publishers, after rushing to adopt Apple’s “agency,” are now defending charging $13-$15 for ebooks. Consumers who became accustom to $9.99 ebook pricing from Amazon have “unrealistic expectations,” industry representatives said in March.

A number of magazines are expected to introduce iPad versions soon. GQ released an iPad version in April, charging $2.99. Wired and Vanity Fair should follow in June with The New Yorker and Glamour scheduled to debute iPad versions later this summer, reports said in March.

A possible hint to the reception for iPad versions of popular magazines may be found in circulation numbers of an electronic version of GQ versus the print editions. The magazine sold 7,000 copies of the December GQ for the iPhone versus 240,000 newsstand and 667,000 subscription copies.

[via Fortune]