The Spectator’s sales figures are out today, and I thought Coffee Housers may be interested to know how things are going here in 22 Old Queen Street. It’s a tough time for print. Newsweek has now gone off to a digital afterlife and even The New Yorker is down 17 per cent on newsstand. As more readers change their habits – on Kindle and iPad – the Spectator has been changing too. The below chart shows how we’re getting on:
The bit in blueshows the print sales, taken from our ABC certificates over the years. It does not include copies given away free, which I’ve never quite seen the point of. We have cut down on the freebies and put the money into developing our digital sales: a new iPad App, a rejuvenated Kindle issue, an iPhone edition and soon an Android version. The digital sales, shown in gold, are rising. We now sell three digital issues of The Spectator for every four that we sell on newsstand.
All told, we’re about 1,200 copies away from our all-time high – soon, inshallah, more people will be buying The Spectator than at any time in our 185-year history. Most importantly, that growth is coming from digital sales so it is sustainable. The Spectator’s formula — brilliantly-written essays alongside peerless reviews — is finding a new generation of devotees in all parts of the world. If you count our podcast listeners and website users then The Spectator’s family of readers has grown tenfold over the last few years. And we are, I believe, just getting started.
Our ever-evolving website is doing well and broke all records last month with a million unique users (helped by Drudge). We have raised a metered paywall, so non-subscribers can read the odd piece every month before being asked to sign up. In the first week of the new system, the number of subscriptions coming via the website doubled. The introduction of social sharing buttons has also helped word spread about The Spectator.
For those CoffeeHousers who haven’t joined us as subscribers, then you now can – with a four-week free trial on iPad or iPhone (here) or Kindle (here). Or sign up for iPad, online and print subscription from £1 a week, here. Only yesterday, Tim Luckhurst put it succinctly on Twitter.
To find out if he’s right, then do join us.