Sunday, April 24, 2011

Why publishers need to rethink iPad magazines

Conde Nast decision exemplifies why publishers need to rethink iPad magazines, article.
Sales won't get stellar until magazine publishers wake up and reduce the per-issue prices of their magazines by 60-80%. An issue of GQ on the iPad costs $4.99, but the same issue of GQ through a subscription is priced at little more than a buck. [...]
Magazine publishers should be begging Apple to create an iNewstand app, much like the iBookstore, where users could easily browse all magazines and buy an issue with a click for US$0.99 each.

4 comments:

Stephen A said...

The problem with magazines can be derived from their name, derived from the Arabic makhazin "storehouses". It's an agglomeration of similar articles collected together into a single bound volume.

In the dead tree printing world, it's essentially impossible to individually package and distribute single articles. in essence any news-stand would be an unmanageable pamphlet rack. For example, I used to read GQ for over a decade, for the excellent political and cultural writing. The remaining 90% of fashion shoots celebrity coverage and high end ads were dross. This differs from the eBook which is generally a single unitary piece of information.

On the Internet the individual article is not only the "atomic" unit of publishing, but is superior from a practical standpoint since instead of downloading and storing hundreds of MBs of useless "enhanced content" is replaced with a few kB of text. Disintermediation at it's best. In my experience RSS feeds improve upon this. Paradoxically the content of my tablet is much more mundane than the same content on the web or in a magazine.

The likely successor to the magazine is an edited set of RSS feeds collected into a Zeit or NewsToEbook compilation.

For example I'd love to see a "Eolake Stobblehouse recommends" feed collected into a daily eBook.

eolake said...

Why thanks.

I think FlipBoard or even more "Zite" is a modern magazine. I assembles news and articles according to your preferences.
The downside is that it's geared to the web, so it tends to find only only short blog posts, news-oriented, rather than anything with a bit more thought in it. I haven't really figured out how to find those. (Those you do find are usually about politics, and I could give a fig.)

Stephen A said...

Long form content is probably the greatest potential for magazines and tablets. Tablets are optimal for reading longer sequences. At present I use the excellent dotEPub service to "clip" long articles and send them to my rooted nook via pcFileSync. And then read it at my leisure on the bus or during a meal.

As for the present and "enhanced" format magazines, replace magazine with newsreel and the arguments are pretty much the same.

Of course, this is the golden age of the newsreel segment in that 90% of YouTube content is essentially just that.

eolake said...

dotEPub seems to be essentially the same as Instapaper and Read Later, ya?