Popular Science is a good magazine, and a popular one. With a circulation of around 1.3 million, they can afford a little iPad experiment. And while of course 10,000 subscriptions on the iPad is nothing to sneeze at, it’s still just a drop in the bucket, especially after six weeks of promotion.
And although PopSci says they’re happy that the experiment is working out all right, I suspect they understand that the platform isn’t quite ready to be the true magazine alternative they want it to be. Apple’s monstrous 30% cut and in-app sales fees hobble the system to begin with, and then there’s the fact that even early adopters have trouble with the idea of a tablet having original content. Games, maybe, and better ways to get at Twitter and video, but stuff that lives just on the iPad? Still a pretty weird idea.
There’s also a lack of information about subscribers, though I don’t really sympathize with them here. People have an easy way to opt out of having their information shared, and while that means PopSci can’t target marketing as well, it’s just plain good for consumers, so tough.