The folks at ICv2 pulled out their calculators this week and took a hard look at the “geek culture” (their term) segment of the magazine business. What they saw wasn’t pretty. In April 2000, the top selling magazine was Wizard, with a total of 71,310 copies sold in comics shops (all the numbers are from Diamond). In April 2010, they sold 9,316 copies; now they sell none, because the magazine has shifted online (where, Sean T. Collins observed, it’s not exactly tearing up the internet). The top-selling magazine in April 2011 was Doctor Who Insider #1, which moved a grand total of 3,537 copies—a drop of 95% from Wizard’s April 2000 number.
Of course, this isn’t surprising. Geek culture and a love of gadgets go hand in hand, and it’s natural that these magazines would lose readership to the internet. Print magazines have a significant turnaround time that keeps them from breaking news, but beyond that, the web has become the gathering spot for fans of individual properties. When you can connect with other fans of Torchwood, Sailor Moon, or RPGs via the internet, paper becomes superfluous. The irony is that the “geek” fan community is probably larger than ever; it’s magazines that have dwindled away to almost nothing.