How many magazines are being sold on tablets?

iPad, iPhone and iPod comparative sales growth chart. (Click to enlarge)

I’ve been away from the digital magazine world for a half year, and have just started to dive back in. What do I find? Distressingly little information about the digital magazine industry, a plethora of tablets with software all doing different things, and strategies that couldn’t be further apart for taking advantage of this nascent industry.

For those of you who find yourself in my situation, but with a bit less time to delve into these things, I will be presenting the facts as I uncover them in this and upcoming blogs.

In this blog: How many magazines are being sold on the tablets?

This seems like it would be an elementary question, one covered far and wide. But, my research tells me that this information does not exist out there in any accessible way. So, how did I compile it? Remember when you used to have to count on your fingers to figure out things? That’s basically what I did. I went to three different tablets, found digital magazines, and added them up.

Here’s what it looks like more or less today (counts were all made in January 2013)

Third Place: Nexus Google Play Magazine Store

Nexus sold 3 million tablets from July to October 2012. One of the newer tablets on the market, it comes in last place for number of magazines listed for sale at 446. Largest category: Sports! Nexus also has an app called “currents” where you can browse blogs with magazine names for free (more on that next week). There are 759 as of Jan. 11 in that bunch.

TOTAL : 446

  1. Sports 66
  2. Automotive 54
  3. Women’s Lifestyle 52
  4. Entertainment 42
  5. Home & Garden 39
  6. Arts & Photography 32
  7. Science & Tech 30
  8. Crafts & Hobbies 23
  9. Health& Fitness 20
  10. Special Interest 19
  11. Food & Drink 15
  12. Business and Finance 12
  13. News& Politics 12
  14. Parenting & Family 12
  15. Men’s Lifestyle 10
  16. Travel 8

Second Place: Amazon Kindle Magazines

Kindle of course came out first with an ereader in black and white only. The mini-computer color tablet was unveiled in September 2011. As of October 2012, there were 7 million Kindle Fires sold. Kindle has 744 magazines listed from their ebook selection, with the largest category, at 273, being Lifestyle and Culture.

TOTAL : 744

  1. Life Style & Culture 273
  2. Arts & Entertainments 167
  3. Sports 111
  4. News, Politics & Opinions 60
  5. Regional & Travel 45
  6. Business 42
  7. Internet & Technology 33
  8. Science 13

First Place: iPad Newsstand

Both the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 have a ways to go to catch up to the iPad, which has sold almost 100 million units globally since launching in April of 2010. (See accompanying graph)

In addition, Apple has an app specifically designed for magazines and newspapers called Apple Newsstand. So it should be no shock that they have the most magazines listed of any tablet device at 2,954 as of Jan. 4, 2013.

What’s their top category? Business & Investing, at 445 magazines. Not surprising, given corporations’ love affair with the iPad. Business Insider says more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies are reportedly testing or deploying them.

TOTAL: 2954

  1. Business & Investing 445
  2. Entertainment 438
  3. Fashion & Style 415
  4. Auto 265
  5. Health, Mind, & Body 234
  6. Computers & Internet 225
  7. Home & Garden 212
  8. Arts & Photography 188
  9. Crafts & Hobbies 176
  10. Cooking, Food, & Drink 135
  11. Children 70
  12. Electronics & Auto 67
  13. Brides 45
  14. History 39

Next week: What does this mean in terms of $ for these companies?

M. Thea Selby is a Principal in Next Steps Marketing, a San Francisco boutique firm that solves audience-building challenges in creative, customized way using practical "call-to-action" marketing techniques where the return is clearly measurable by clicks, online sign-ups, responses to direct mail, orders from partners, or sales at newsstand.

She was the 2010 Women's Leadership Conference Chair, is a co-founder and board member of Exceptional Women in Publishing—a national organization dedicated to supporting women in and through the power of online and print media—and is the former CEO and Publisher of Light Green Media, a digital publishing company.

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  • Chilled Magazine

    We are one of the 2,954 titles on the iPad. We also print our publication. The challenge is selling the digital strategy. I would love to see how other digital publishers are doing it, besides as a value add on to print.

  • Mike

    I wonder how the unique factor plays in this research. Are all 446 Nook titles unique to the Nook or are they duplicated across the other platforms? If they are all unique, your numbers suggest just a bit over 4000 magazines available on e readers. I bet the number of unique titles is significantly smaller

  • Ajax

    Until there is a single app that works on multiple platforms where you can find any magazine, the digital magazine market will remain as fragmented and inefficient as the physical newsstand business.

    In searching for regional magazines on my iPad (I’m the executive director or IRMA, the International Regional Magazine Association), I found I had to download multiple apps including Zinio and Magzter, and was unable to find any on my preferred app, Apple’s Newsstand. Three of our members later wrote me to say they are indeed there. Probably I missed them because Apple doesn’t (yet) have a "regional" category.

    I assume I also missed some others because I was on an iPad and don’t have an Android and a Kindle tablet as well.

  • frank

    Monthly magazines are a bad idea.

  • Michael Jahn

    I was confused by how you seem to be "counting’. For example – i subscribe to The New Yorker". I happen to read the digital version of that subscription in either via an emailed link (which I open in a browser on my laptop ) or on my iPad. I happen to like getting the analog ( paper ) version and sometime read that to.

    When you wrote "magazines’ i think you meant to say "magazine titles" – certainly we need to use the correct terms here.

    I do not think ( personally ) that Apple is ‘counting on supporting magazines" as a marketing strategy to expand iPad sales. It certainly is not a key thing to Apple. What is is key to is the company owning / publishing that title.

    It is 100% up to the publisher to decide where they want their magazine distributed. They have to approach Apple and the tablet makers, or they use a third part service like Zinio to partner with: