Monday, December 20, 2010

"No frills", browser-based digital editions may be the affordable way for smaller titles

The noise about magazine apps has tended to be about big magazines who have commensurate budgets for such development. But for many smaller magazines there just isn't the money available to do such work. In any event, there is a point of view that creating apps for individual platforms may turn out to be less efficacious than moving to browser-based digital editions, readable on any device.
So it's interesting to read in emedia vitals a story about a small U.S. magazine that is going the browser route and providing a magazine experience cost-effectively. Not all the bells and whistles, but up and out there.
BCT Publishing is pursuing this “no frills” tablet strategy with its flagship title, Automotive Traveler.
Richard Truesdell, editorial director of Automotive Traveler and the website says:
“Tablets like the iPad add a new level of portability to web content that wasn't available to us back in 2007. The 10-inch form factor rivals a traditional magazine. It allows us to give our audience the most magazine-like product we can, with all the things we love about a magazine – the structure, the editorial focus, with recognizable contributors and professional editors.”
Truesdell questions the logic of any small publisher dedicating resources to the iPad and other tablets that are currently owned by just 4% of U.S. households. But he also sees the potential of a mass market developing for tablets as Android, Windows Phone 7 and other new devices debut in a variety of form factors and lower price points.
“We're taking an all-inclusive approach in trying to bridge the divide between the comfort of traditional print magazines and something that can be delivered digitally to the widest possible readership,” he said.
That means a digital magazine that can be viewed through any browser, with minimal scrolling and zooming. To ensure iPhone and iPad compatibility, BCT Technical Director Jay Sherman built a proprietary, non-Flash viewer.

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