Readership of digital newspapers and magazines continues to increase

By: Melissa Reeves

What is the future of print media? This is a topic discussed frequently among journalists and those hoping to join the industry. No one really knows where the industry is headed, but there are signs that clearly point in one direction: Digitization. An article in the New York Times titled, Magazine Newsstand Sales Plummet, but Digital Editions Thrive, from August 6 addressed this movement.

When looking into the decline in hard copy magazine sales, the Alliance for Audited Media found that many readers were not turning away from the magazine itself, just the print version.

“A solid base of loyal magazine readers were simply turning to the digital versions of magazines,” wrote NYT reporter Christine Haughney. “Digital replica editions, which replicate the format of the print editions, now make up 3.3 percent of total magazine circulation, with 10.2 million digital replica editions sold in the first half of 2013. During the same time period in 2012, magazines sold 5.4 million.”

But this move toward digitized content is not limited to magazines. Most large newspapers also have a digital, or E-Edition, of their publication available to current subscribers.

“Overall circulation industry-wide is flat and digital is growing,” Neal Lulofs from the AAM told the NYT in April.

In most cases, the hard copy and digital version are bundled, or readers can choose to subscribe to one or the other. With the increase of Kindle and iPads, more people are opting to receiving their newspapers and magazines on their tablet instead of waiting for delivery of the hard copy.

Lulofs said there is evidence that newspapers are able to increase readership by offering an E-Edition of their publication, such as The Star Ledger of Newark. “The paper’s daily circulation jumped 22.2 percent, with its digital circulation more than doubling in the last year,” the NYT reported.