Monday, January 26, 2009

Phone-app e-zine leads in interesting directions

Digital versions of magazines tend to be made available as pdfs or as websites; some put out mobile versions formatted for personal handheld devices that are usually free extensions of their paid publications.

But there is now a downloadable paid magazine application for the iPhone, an e-zine called The Magazine being offered for $1.99 on iTunes; the magazine itself is not very good (sort of a bargain-basement Maxim), but looking beyond the content, the idea is worth considering. It's supposed to be a "lifetime subscription" (an issue has 12 pages and very little text), but it's not altogether clear whether it is the lifetime of the issue or for all issues to come.

One can see the day when, like music, magazines could be sold on iTunes as whole issues or individual articles.For text-heavy magazines, I tend to think it's a non-starter; but for shorter, lighter, brighter material, it is one among many things that has potential and is worth exploring. Of course you have to have the right device.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

PDFs of The Fader have been available via iTunes for quite some time now, actually.

3:27 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

So I am late to the party. Nevertheless, it is an interesting question whether this is a direction for certain magazines to go.

4:46 pm  
Blogger David L. said...

Ack, PDFs! Who wants to read something that combines the worst qualities of print and digital?

At this weekend's BCAMP conference, at a session on the future of print, David Beers of made the point that publishers who just want to export their magazines into PDF formats miss the point that the web is a new medium that requires a new literacy—and therefore a new design philosophy.

What surprises me is that more magazines haven't experimented with podcast versions of their publications. (I think Seed does.)

The advantage and attraction of magazines over newspapers (RIP) is the sense of a real human voice on the page (rather than some institutionalized CP style).

Wouldn't it translate well to have authors (or unpaid Ryerson interns!) read columns and features for podcastable versions, which could also be accompanied (for smart-phone or video iPod users) with a slide show of all the best images from a photo shoot, rather than just the 3 or 4 an AD could squeeze into a spread.

Who doesn't love to be read to?

Are any Canadian publications out there doing podcasts via iTunes?

6:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big believer in thinking outside of the printed box - this very concept. Why not take a section of your mag. a section that makes sense and is easily applicable to such a concept and produce pod casts - this can go beyond reading articles in print already. What about extras to the print edition like downloadable tips and techniques, recipes how-tos, these are great strategies to extend the publication and maybe someone will want to sponsor the series - could be a revenue generator.........

4:07 pm  

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