Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Morning Brief: at the center of WikiLeaks spat; ABC figures show that iPad mag sales have slowed

Late last night editor-in-chief Evan Hansen and senior editor Kevin Poulsen responded to criticism that they are withholding chat logs pertaining to conversations by Bradley Manning, the US Army Pvt currently held being held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig at Quantico, Virginia. Manning is facing a court-martial for allegedly passing on classified information to WikiLeaks, which led to the publishing of diplomatic cables by The Guardian, Der Speigel and other news outlets.

The two responses, contained in one post on are long on defense, short on new information. Not surprisingly, Glenn Greenwald, one of Wired's fierest critics concerning the way the magazine has handled the chat logs, has fired back in his Salon response.

I'll stay out of the way in this spat, though it is hard to defend a media outlet's refusal to be more transparent -- shades of the NYT and Judith Miller, it will probably not end well for the publication.

John Koblin, writing on, says that the ABC is reporting that iPad sales for those magazines reporting have dropped. His post shows that most publishers are seeing a drop off in sales once the initial tablet edition has been released. For instance, Koblin says that Vanity Fair sold 8,700 digital editions of its November issue, down from 10,500 from August through October. Likewise, GQ sold 11,000 of its November issue versus an average of 13,000 copies between May and October.
Koblin reports the numbers without much comment, simply ending with the thought that publishers are hoping sales will return to pre-November numbers in the new year.

That didn't stop the editor of the website from putting this headline online: People Just Aren’t Buying Magazine iPad Apps. To the writer's credit, Chris Rovzar, the actual post does not claim any such thing.

The thing to keep in mind is that even if you take the worst sales month for Wired's tablet edition, October, and compare it to their print sales, you will see that their new tablet edition equals 17 percent of single copy print sales. Any circulation managers out there want to dismiss adding 17 percent in sales?