Nelson says digital future looking bright for Spectator

As the Spectator this week officially launched apps for iPad and iPod – the weekly current affairs magazine has revealed that digital susbcriptions now account for nearly 10 per cent of sales.

The apps provide free access to the Specator blogs and access to all magazine content for paying subscribers.

According to Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, digital subcriptions now total 4,715 of sales for The Spectator compared with a print ABC of 56,285. This compares with a print ABC figure of 58,285 in June 2009 when there were no digital sales of the title.

He said that the vast majority of digital sales are via the Kindle.

Nelson said: "The fact that we write 1,000-word essays ties in well with what a Kindle reader does. We've not spent any money on marketing. It's been a great surprise and a happy one."

Nelson also revealed that The Specator is planning to launch an online archive of every article published in the magazine dating back to its launch in 1828. The archive will be a paid-for service, with a limited number of articles offered free.

He said: "What's amazing is the tone has been the same down the generations. We've always been firm but unfair and always taken isolated positions on things. When the Tolpuddle martyrs were arrested we ran an editorial saying their children should be deported too for incorrectly using an apostrophe on a poster.We trashed Dickens when his books first came out."

The Spectator also this week published the first edition of a new quarterly guide to style and culture as an insert to the main magazine called Specator Life which aims to emulate the success of The Economist's Intelligent Life spin-off.

Nelson said: "For a lot of publications of our age the internet has been toxic, but for us it has been quite the contrary and I think some of our best years may be ahead."

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