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Ready for the iPad Magazine Revolution? It Won't Come Cheap

iPad Cost May Be HighMaybe you remember this guy named Steve Jobs who was all like, "I've got this new device and it's magical and revolutionary." The iPad will save the print industry, Jobs told us, because all of the world's gasping magazine publishers will hop on the third-device bandwagon, and save long-form journalism and glossy celebrity gossip. You'll be able to walk around with a year's worth of magazine subscriptions in your tote bag, we thought, because the iPad would be the next revolution in cheap and accessible content. Haha! Not so.

iPad editions of magazines have been somewhat slow-coming since the device's launch, and, in general, they have not exactly impressed. The recession is a culprit, as is the ad implosion that either sent many a mag scrambling for new sources of revenue, or into the great recycling bin in the sky, never to return. Since iPad editions don't waste tree pulp or ink -- or incur the same kind of distribution costs -- we all assumed that digital mags would be cheap and plentiful when the iPad came to market. But now Bonnier -- publisher of Popular Science, Popular Photography and Sound & Vision -- has announced that the iPad versions of its mags will cost at least twice as much as their print counterparts. Say what?

Those three mags are slated for a June release on the iPad and are priced at $29.95 for a year's subscription. Compare that to the $12 cost of the print subscriptions advertised on their sites, and the still cheaper deals available elsewhere. So why the high price tag? Editorial, creative and development costs are high in the initial stages of these new editions; these are, after all, uncharted waters for every publisher. And if Bonnier is planning for each issue of their digital publications to look like this, we can understand that it's not a simple copy/paste job to translate from print to 'Pad.

Still, it's going to be touch and go for most publishers as they navigate this new market. They have to create a dynamic, legible and interesting product in a cash-strapped economy. While some are rabid for the iPad, the device won't see the same kind of mass implementation as the iPhone for a little while yet. On the one hand, we'd say that iPad magazine subscriptions, much like the first iterations of the device itself, may only be suitable for early adopters with some cash to burn. On the other, we fear that horrible initial sales figures might dissuade or delay publishers from either putting out a good product or finding a price scheme that doesn't make our heads spin. [From: Business Insider]

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