In yet another sign that the future of publishing will likely be digital, the most recent report of U.S. magazine sales revealed that while print sales of newsstand editions dropped, digital sales rose significantly in 2011.
Digital up, print down
The report, conducted by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, found that at least 258 magazines sold more than 5.4 million digital copies of their issues in the first half of 2012. In first half of 2011, total sales of digital copies totaled just 2 million.
Total magazine sales, including both digital and print, decreased 9.6 percent to 26.4 million in the first half of the year, down from 29.1 million copies sold in the first six months of 2011.
Game Informer Magazine, a video game-focused publication, had the greatest digital circulation, selling 1.22 million copies of its magazine, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. This represents a more than 500 percent annual increase for the publisher.
Among the publications to experience success in this area, one of the most notable was The New Yorker. One of the oldest magazines currently being published, the New Yorker experienced a 2.4 percent drop in print circulation, but increased its digital circulation by more than 300 percent, the news source reported.
A growing trend
The Audit Bureau of Circulations' report noted that despite their sizable growth, digital sales still account for only a small portion of total magazine sales - approximately 1.7 percent of the market. However, as the inverse trajectories of print and digital sales demonstrate, there is reason to believe that electronic publishing could soon become the norm for magazines.
Further evidence for this trend can be found in the world of books. Recently, Amazon announced that its U.K. eBook sales surpassed its combined paperback and hardcover book sales in the region. Amazon's total sales of eBooks surpassed print copies last year.