Service of Statistics and Studies: Tablet Sales, MPA on Magazine Ad Sales & Gallup on the Public’s News Sources

July 29th, 2013

Categories: Advertising, Magazines, News, Statistics, Studies, Tablets, Technology


I like to tease out the significance of statistics, studies and findings and check them against my instinct and anecdotal observations. One place to find plenty of material is, a superb aggregator. From this site, in coverage about Barnes & Noble’s chief executive stepping down, I also read a digest-size update about the tablet business for books.

What a Pill

Book TabletsBarnes & Noble’s Nook and’s Kindle, among the best rated tablets for books, aren’t doing as well as expected and neither come near the iPad. Linking to TechCrunch’s coverage, Mediabistro noted that the Nook division’s income dropped 34 percent from last year at this time.

I imagine one reason for the disappointing results for Nooks and Kindles is that people think of them delivering “books exclusively”–maybe magazines, comics, a few games and kid’s flicks too, options that are just a start for the remarkable iPad with its apps and multiple functions.

On a recent visit to Barnes & Noble I saw the latest versions that do far more–almost everything an iPad can–email, tweet, access apps, minus the picture-taking function and for hundreds of dollars less. But who knew? A crucial breach in getting out the info to the hoi polloi perhaps?

Based on my observations on NYC subways, busses and Metro area commuter railroads, I thought the book tablet industry was booming. Shows yet again how unrepresentative of the rest of the country NYers are; how commuting by public transportation vs. private car must impact the need for and therefore the national sales of such devices; that the reading demographic uses iPads or still reads books on paper or simply that fewer are reading.

Galloping Along

Town CrierThe same July day Mediabistro shared highlights of a Gallup poll of almost 2,050 adults who said that they get their news from TV in 55 percent of cases followed by the Internet at 21 percent. They voiced their responses without the help of options provided by the survey taker.

I thought that the Internet would have done better if not best. According to Dylan Byers on Politico, “For all the focus on ‘social,’ including Facebook and Twitter, only 2 of the 21 percent mentioned such networks as their primary source for news,” he wrote in “Gallup: TV dominates as U.S. news source.” Newspapers or print material came in at nine percent with radio at six.

How Does This Add Up?

Vintage magazine adMediabistro picked up news which covered a Magazine Publishers Association report about the decline by five percent of consumer magazine advertising pages in the first quarter of this year compared to last. Wish this was a revelation.

The exceptions with “double digit ad page growth,” are also of little surprise given the health of the pharma/OTC health remedy and fashion industries: Prevention, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Women’s Health; Vogue, GQ and Elle. Only one, Saveur, was about food and one about decorating—HGTV Magazine 

Unless you already own one or both, were you to buy a tablet, would you buy an iPad or one of the others that cost $300 less? If you own a tablet, do you still read traditional books?  Where do you get news? Are you surprised about the magazines rich with ad pages or that some categories or titles are missing from the list?


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11 Responses to “Service of Statistics and Studies: Tablet Sales, MPA on Magazine Ad Sales & Gallup on the Public’s News Sources”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    As long as shelves remain well stocked with books, I’ll stay in dinosaur mode, and only consider a plan B should that change before destined to leave the planet. One question demands an answer: Percentage of people reading “real” books versus those using electronic devices. That should speak volumes…….(oh dear!)

  2. Jim Gordon Said:

    So I’m writing this on an iPad which is the only tablet I’m familiar with and it seems fine even with my Luddite abilities.

    I read traditional books although I have a kindle which for me is mediocre. I know some people who love them.

    In the States I read the Times in paper. When in France I read the Times and others like NPR and BBC news and sometimes Google news all online which is fine for me. But I do prefer traditional delivery options.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    At the end of December 2012, Kyle Wagner on answered your question. I have taken only a bit of his post:

    The stats are from Pew Research:

    “7% of Americans ages 16 and older read one book in the previous 12 months
    14% had read 2-3 books in that time block
    12% had read 4-5 books in that time block
    15% had read 6-10 books in that time block
    13% had read 11-20 books in that time block
    14% had read 21 or more books in that time block

    Hey now! Literate Muricans! The one sad thing in all this is that printed books continue to fall. They went from being read by 72 percent of Americans to 67 percent this year. And unlike the drop from 78 percent to 75 for overall readership, Pew finds that statistically significant. So! Great year for ebooks, really great year for tablets, and one more depressing rung down for paper books.”

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Since you travel a lot it makes sense to have several lightweight methods of keeping up. May I assume that you got the Kindle first and don’t need it anymore as you have access to books on your iPad?

  5. Jim Gordon Said:

    I did get the kindle first, but I don’t read books yet on the iPad. I prefer books anyway.

  6. Seneca Said:

    I don’t trust statistics, but I do notice things. Once when you had spare time, you read a book. Now that we have more leisure, voluntarily or involuntarily (unemployment), there is a lot more around to do than reading.

    Movies and TV weren’t always intellectually gripping in the early days, but far more of what was then available had some substance. Then again, the “substance” problem (pun intended) was a speck of dust compared with the Mohammed’s mountain it has now become.

    TV and movies, as well as most of the stuff on the internet gets lapped up. The material is made to appeal to an audience that is either too lazy, or too zonked, to want to make the effort to read. Incidentally, I’ve noticed the increasing use of video on the internet to deliver a message in place of the written word, which would seem to prove the point.

    Consequently, I’m not surprised Nooks and Kindles aren’t selling as well as expected, and not just because, to many of us, these machines are less appealing that books.

    As to the news, I trust conventional news sources less than ever. I used to read the Times. I seldom do now. Thanks to the computer, I now get my news from diverse sources such as a Brescia, Italy, radio station, a number of newspapers from the Washington Post to the Manchester Guardian, various internet newsletters, and the Sunday morning talk shows and C-Span. To avoid wasting time, I refuse to have anything to do with “social media.” Does that mean that I get my news over the internet? I suppose so.

    To answer your other questions, I own a PC. That’s it. As I am technologically impaired, I doubt that I would ever figure out how to use all those other gadgets. I still read books, lots of them.

    The only magazines I read (except at my dentist’s office, where they save Opera News for me), are research related, and don’t have ad pages like you describe, so I shouldn’t comment about such revenues, but I will. Given all the money the drug and insurance companies have as the consequence of the government permitting them to gouge–slaughter house-like–tons of flesh out of our, and our poor doctors’, hides, it’s no surprise that they can afford to pay to run yet more ads.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    We should have more time to read between all the gadgets and gizmos that make work–at a job and at home–seamless but all that seems to happen is that we cram in more and are expected to do so more quickly than ever before.

    I heard Bill Gates on “60 Minutes” last night reply, “I don’t mow the lawn” when asked how he get so much done. Even though today’s lawn mowers, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners do much of the work, folks still need to run and maintain these appliances, fold the laundry, load and empty the dishwasher leaving time to drive and see the children play Little League sports and so forth. In the old days you mention, many more middle class people had help so they didn’t do any of these chores. So they wouldn’t go crazy the women, with help, who didn’t work, had time to read books.

    I thought you’d be interested in the results of a Pew Research study published this year––that noted: “But as parents adopt new reading habits for themselves on electronic devices, the data show that print books remain important when it comes to their children.”

    In addition, according to the article, “In a digital age, parents value printed books for their kids,” Kathryn Zickuhr wrote: “More than nine in ten parents of minor children say it is important to them that their children read print books—eighty-one percent say it is “very important,” and an additional 13% say it is “somewhat important.” Very few say having their children read print books is “not too important” (3%) or “not important at all” (3%).”

  8. Martha Takayama Said:

    Since years ago I was taught that statistics can always be gathered to reflect a desired point of view I to not tend to put great faith in them.

    I recently made extended visits accompanying a Japanese librarian cousin to academic and other libraries and to admissions offices for graduate work in Library Science. The most important information I learned was of the ongoing elimination of printed matter in favor of archival digital versions of stored information. The manner in which learning is being imparted and assignments are being prepared is more and more based on multimedia development and presentation on the part of teacher and student.

    Elaborate digital archival work is radically modifying habits of study and of dissemination of information. However, although I own an I-Pad I received as a present, I use it mainly for email communication, checking headlines, quick searches, and SKYPE international phone communication.

    I am enamored of books. I like the ability to turn pages, perhaps annotate if a book is mine, flip back and forth, linger over pictures or illustration if any, and look at them lined up on shelves. I also find them easier on my eyes and more likely to hold my attention than a tiring screen. I do fear that I am an anachronism.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’ve known of corporations–or their PR staff–that use statistics to their benefit, [leaving out critical negative stuff for example], but I nevertheless am drawn to them as I am to slot machines even though I know that I’ll toss in a bunch of money, never again to see the coins. [I have not gambled in ages and I’ve heard that the fun part of tossing in a quarter and swinging the handle is over…so perhaps this is a bad example on the one hand, though a good one from the point of view of another anachronism–me.]

    As for your observations about libraries, as I’ve addressed in a post eons ago, because of changes in technology, digital versions of materials have as much longevity as books caught in a fire or a water leak. Here’s hoping that all these libraries are working on that aspect.

    As for books, we visited a young couple long before the digital revolution and my husband, who is not known for being observant most of the time, asked me if I noticed anything. The place was nicely decorated….and I think I’m pretty observant, yet had to admit I didn’t know what he was getting at. “There wasn’t one book on a shelf, a table, on the floor–anywhere!” he said.

    I wonder how lack of books will impact the building, design and home furnishing trades. As builders go through stages of eliminating dining rooms–“nobody eats in them anymore” which also affects manufacturers of dinnerware and dining room furniture and interior designers change their mind about medicine chests, specifying them again in remodels–they were [stupidly] out of fashion for a while [I’ve written about that too], furniture manufacturers and cabinet makers won’t need to make bookshelves in future.

    Which reminds me of a woman, long gone, who grew up broke and married money whose beige living room with plastic covered silk sofas and chairs was enhanced by antique leather bound books in coordinating chamois colored bindings with gold lettering. Asked about the books she admitted they were there simply for show and that she’d not opened one of them.

  10. Martha Takayama Said:

    I think of books as a comforting and reassuring presence rather than a decorator’s aritificial touch. Seeing them reaffirms that there are myriads resources at hand for diversion, information and passing time pleasantly, even alone. They reflect one’s interests and preferences, and offer a feeling of cultural knowledge and continuity.

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree books are not meant to be decorative–especially as this poor woman or her decorator used them. Coffee table books can be eye-catching and are designed to enhance a room. We’ve received and given them as gifts because of subject matter, not because they coordinate with anybody’s living room!

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