Think the iPad Will Save You Money on Magazines? Think Again!

Magazines, to many, are a luxury. For those who can’t seem to live without their favorite subscriptions, we’ve shared some tried-and-true tips for saving money on magazines. Among the many ways to keep costs down are digital subscriptions. They can be purchased for far less than traditional print and ink copies, and they can get you instant access without visiting a newsstand or waiting for your postman.

With the introduction of the iPad, many were hoping that the same companies that offered digital subscriptions and online single copies at a drastic discount would be doing the same for iPad viewing. (iPhones, after all are constantly being touted as a solution for shopping and saving money.) Unfortunately, this is just not the case.

A recent article in Ad Age magazine explains the reasoning behind the iPad’s magazine pricing scheme, which will not only NOT be offering a discount on print prices, it will — in most cases — be charging more.

There are some valid reasons for the shift (which has those of us spoiled by eReaders and discounted digital subscriptions in a bit of sticker shock.)

  • By charging 2-3 times more per digital issue on the iPad than your typical discounted print price on Amazon, for example, they can afford to compete in a small emerging market. (Keep in mind that compared to millions of traditional magazine subscribers, projected iPad owners for the year 2010 still remains well under 10 million in number — and not all will subscribe to every magazine.)
  • A higher price point leaves publishers free to lower costs later, which is impossible (if not just stupid) to do in reverse.
  • More dynamic content may be available via the iPad — something many enthusiasts may be willing to pay for. Interactive and bonus features have worked well for DVD’s (Blu-Ray is by default more expensive), so why not magazine content?

For the truly frugal, an iPad isn’t something many of us are even dealing with yet. And when the time comes that it is an affordable household staple on par with the iPhone, we may see prices for magazine offerings come way down. But if they don’t, I suppose it’s just another market setting a profitable margin from the outset. Only time will tell how many iPad users will pay the price.

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Guest's picture

I am a little confused here. Aren't digital subscriptions basically websites available to paying subscribers? Why would it matter if the accessing device is an iPad or something else?

Regardless, it is not hard to imagine customers willing to pay for extra convenience and additional interactive features.

Guest's picture

Arohan, most digital subscription sites are designed around computers and rely heavily on flash content (which the Ipad cannot read). As was previously mentioned, these subscriptions are designed specifically for the Ipad.

Guest's picture

Why i would want to pay more for e-zine , i rather purchase magazine with real papers

Linsey Knerl's picture

Subscriptions for the iPad work similar to subscriptions for the Kindle or other e-readers. They are a completely different type of service, and are billed and priced differently. I haven't heard of any magazines giving access to their iPad content to someone who has already paid for a print subscription. That would be an interesting model, however!

Guest's picture

Zinio magazine zubscriptions are cheaper than intro subscription rates on many magazines. Are you just pricing amazon?