Coffee House

Good news for The Spectator

14 February 2013

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 red shows the 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.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • Roxane Featherstone

    “The lack of Spectator on Kindle Fire is a decision by Amazon not to sell ordinary magazines in the UK. Our Android app will be available for the Fire soon.” Difficult to know what to believe. Have just spoken to someone at Amazon who claims the Speccie is responsible for deciding not to make the app available to Kindle Fires. Either way, I wish it weren’t so and hope it can be sorted soon.

  • Lubumbashi

    The old format gave a direct link to all the cartoons. Please reinstate it.

  • James Ashton

    I subscribed after Christmas and the iOS apps are superb, a lovely user experience for reading the long form comment pieces. It certainly gives the New Yorker a run for its money in UX terms. It’s nice to dip in and out when you don’t have the time to read the full issue each week.

  • Daniel Maris

    Or is “Inshallah” one of those nervous little jokes doing the rounds of fashionable dinner parties, one of those little jokes by which the English (and honorary Englishmen like Fraser) signal deep anxieties?

    • Noa

      “honorary Englishmen?”

      I’m not sure Fraser aspires to such an honour at all, Daniel.

  • Noa

    “…soon, inshallah, more people will be buying The Spectator than at any time in our 185-year history…”

    Oh dear Fraser.

    It’s just not on I’m afraid. Are you trying to get a fatwa laid against yourself? You can’t just go around these days taking ‘His’ name in vain like that, you know. Think Pim Fortuyn, or Theo van Gogh.

    • Daniel Maris

      Inshallah? I nearly choked on my bacon sarnie.

      An infidel’s joke?


      Is there something Fraser has forgotten to tell us, like George Galloway forgot to tell us, and like Jemima Khan never stopped telling us (until oddly she decided to stop telling us about it, so that now you’d be forgiven for thinking you imagined it in the first place).

      It might explain Fraser’s famed insousiance about Mohammed being the no. 1 boy’s name in the UK.

  • paulus

    VGin@ dont you ever notice the advertising banners : drugs, guns, petrochemicals, they all sponsor the speccie. Im just looking out for the start of the holiday season when the tourist board of Azerbaijan entice us with the catchy slogan.. come to Azerbaijan and get your wife stoned legally!! its cheaper than a divorce.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      My advertising is blocked, so I don’t see any of that.

      But it may not matter much what the ads are for. It’s the cash flow attached to the various names that is of interest. That’s what would tell the story.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Yes, but we’d need to have a look at the advertising revenue, young lad.

    You know, the sanitizing route through which benefactors facilitate affairs, and secure the necessary contributions to their cause.

    So then, what comes in from the “ads”, and from where?

    Care to provide those numbers?

  • Colonel Mustard

    Excellent. Now if you can only get rid of the truly ghastly telemachus gang we can bask in a little radiant sunshine. Perhaps replace him with a link so that anyone who wants to read his repetitive propaganda on behalf of Ed Balls and the Labour party can go to whichever smear and rebuttal bunker they all hang out in. It would save your servers a bit too.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Oh no. Don’t get rid of him. He cheers me immensely. He is so very silly.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘ soon, inshallah, more people will be buying The Spectator than at any time in our 185-year history. ‘

    I bet Findus said the same thing about their lasagne

  • Hamburger

    you have an i-phone, an i-pad version and are working on an android version. Why not a Windows version? Must keep up with the times.

    • humeanbeing

      Amazon do a Kindle for PC application, so it already exists. Link:

      • Sebastian Payne

        We’re always keeping an eye on other platforms. The lack of Spectator on Kindle Fire is a decision by Amazon not to sell ordinary magazines in the UK. Our Android app will be available for the Fire soon.

        • C Cole

          As a Kindle subscriber, I’d welcome the chance to link my subscription to the Spectator’s website in some way.

      • HooksLaw

        I have a kindle app on my Android.

  • Austin Barry

    At the risk of being awarded Private Eye’s OBN, the Speccie is, as always, a must read journal.

    Well done, Fraser and team – and please adopt a robust, attack-dog stance vis-a-vis the awful Galloway on tonight’s ‘Question Time’. I suspect that the QT audience will treat him as some kind of virtuous tribune rather than the odious and preposterous creature that he is.

  • Stalwart Steve

    How many of your digital subscribers are in the UK and how many are sales you are picking up from overseas? Is your UK base falling or growing?

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