Ad pages may be up (at least in the hefty September issues all magazines like to publicize), but circulation--as in the number of people actually picking up copies--is on a steep decline.
According to the New York Times, women's and fashion magazines posted some of the biggest newsstand sales drops from the same time last year. Glamour dropped 28.8%, Cosmo 24%, In Style 19%, and Vogue 10.4%. All of which are ranked among the top 25 largest magazines in the U.S. In other words: it's not a good sign for print.
However, all hope may not be lost. People are still reading magazines--just not in paper form. On average, sales of digital editions of magazines have nearly doubled and now account for 3.3% of total circulation. They're particularly popular among news weeklies like Time and New York. But there are signs that digital subscriptions are picking up in fashion, too.
Cosmopolitan, which has been seen as a leader in paid digital subscriptions since last year, posted even bigger numbers this year-- a 33% growth to 246,815 digital subscribers.
Mainstream fashion glossies may have been hit hard at newsstands, but that doesn't mean they can't recover. Most of them have digital editions at this point and subscriptions seem to be on a slow but steady rise. That, paired with a bigger focus on fresh online content, could be a recipe for success in the future of publishing.