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GQ magazine iPad sales start slow, but publisher has high hopes [u]

An iPad edition of the magazine GQ sold just 365 copies on Apple's App Store — but the magazine's publisher said the low sales are no cause for concern [updated with comment from Conde Nast].

Update: Publisher Conde Nast contacted AppleInsider Tuesday to point to a story from Peter Kafka at MediaMemo, in which it was revealed that GQ saw a spike in application sales when the iPad and iPad 3G were launched. However, the publisher did not give specific numbers, because they don't have an iPad-specific app. The application has sold 57,000 total copies since it debuted in December.

Pete Hunsinger, vice president and publisher of GQ, told Min Online that the December 2009 "Men of the Year" issue of the magazine earned $1,091.35 in total sales. But the publisher said the iPad edition costs his magazine nothing, and he believes that the sales will become more significant in the future.

"This costs us nothing extra, no printing or postage," he said. "Everything is profit, and I look forward to the time when iPad issue sales become a major component to our circulation."

In fact, Hunsinger expects sales to pick up quickly, starting with the upcoming June issue featuring model Miranda Kerr on the cover. He added that the iPad brings "added value to advertisers."

The GQ application on the App Store costs $2.99, and includes the current issue in the iPhone- and iPad-compatible software. Additional in-app purchases of other issues are available for $1.99 each. Those prices are lower than the $4.99 newsstand price.

Even before it was formally announced, publishers showed great interest in the iPad. Some in the print world have viewed the new device as a possible new revenue opportunity as the print business continues to struggle with declining readership and increasing cost of print.

At its official unveiling of iPhone OS 4 in April, Apple CEO Steve Jobs specifically mentioned Popular Science as "king of the hill" when it comes to iPad editions of magazines. Jobs described that application as a "breakthrough" in digital publishing.

The introduction of the iPad even prompted magazines to change the way they count their circulation numbers. In March, the Audit Bureau of Circulations altered its definition of a digital magazine to include the emerging class of tablet-style devices, including the iPad.