The iPad newsstand that works

January 24, 2011: 12:57 PM ET

Zinio's digital revenues have grown 350% since last April. Will Apple put a stop to that?

When we wrote a few weeks ago about the signal failure of Apple's iPad to halt the magazine industry's downward spiral (See Why digital newsstands stink), we had forgotten about Zinio.

Zinio, which has been giving publishers a venue to sell their wares online for nearly a decade, is the exception to all the rules of iPad publishing:

  • Apple (AAPL) doesn't let publishers easily sell subscriptions on the iPad, but Zinio will.
  • Apple won't give publishers the names, addresses and billing information for iPad readers, but Zinio does.
  • While sales of high-profile titles like Wired's iPad edition have collapsed -- from 100,000 in June to 23,000 in November -- Zinio's digital revenues have shot up, it can now be revealed, 350% year over year.

Many of Zinio's iPad titles are enjoying an even bigger bump, albeit from a quite modest base. "The numbers," says Paul Michelman, director of product development at Harvard Business Review, one of Zinio's success stories, "have gone from the dozens to the thousands."

All that may be about to change.


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