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Old 11-28-2012, 07:31 PM   #16
GlenBarrington
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I'm a big fan of eBooks, but. . .

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Who needs magazines? Pulse is free, Flipboard is free, blogs are free, web pages are free, ...
I still like paper magazines. My wife picked up a food/recipe magazine catering to Diabetics today, and I got to say that as a photographer, the lush photos in that magazine foar outshine anything the "e" market can provide.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:14 PM   #17
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I interpret the phenomenon differently. Apps that do that aren't new, digital magazines. They're old, print magazines adapted to a new format, with all of their previous constraints and baggage.
Well, benefits and baggage. While fixed format publications are a pain on smaller devices, they do have some benefits. One of the biggest benefits is quality control and another one is cost. The direct translation of a magazine from print to electrons ensures that the consumer gets something that looks great without the added cost of producing separate publications.

Another reason is to avoid reinventing the wheel, because reinvention means that you will end up rediscovering a lot of things that didn't work and were discarded. Put another way: we know how to do print. We spent about a decade figuring out how to do web pages. Do we really want to go through that process again?
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:57 AM   #18
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No doubt, but not enough to keep prices down. The internet is a game changer for the entire print industry. With instant access to free information, magazine publishers will be hard pressed to woo digital customers to keep their empires afloat.
I would argue that The Atlantic for one is doing a darn good job of publishing in-depth and interesting articles despite the (interwebz and other) competition.

Last edited by kennyc; 11-29-2012 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:00 AM   #19
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I still like paper magazines. My wife picked up a food/recipe magazine catering to Diabetics today, and I got to say that as a photographer, the lush photos in that magazine foar outshine anything the "e" market can provide.
Who's the centerfold this month?

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Old 11-29-2012, 01:46 PM   #20
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Well, benefits and baggage. While fixed format publications are a pain on smaller devices, they do have some benefits. One of the biggest benefits is quality control and another one is cost. The direct translation of a magazine from print to electrons ensures that the consumer gets something that looks great without the added cost of producing separate publications.

Another reason is to avoid reinventing the wheel, because reinvention means that you will end up rediscovering a lot of things that didn't work and were discarded. Put another way: we know how to do print. We spent about a decade figuring out how to do web pages. Do we really want to go through that process again?
The pain of having to reinvent the wheel is certainly the reason why most publishers have opted to simply port their print versions to mobile devices as PDFs. The problem, as I'm sure you're aware, is that PDFs are essentially unusable on phones and less than ideal to use on tablets. They may look great, but they don't work great. A native experience, when well-done, is superior.

The obstacle is not lack of knowledge about how to make good reading apps—we've been doing it for nearly half a decade now and some are very good indeed—it's investing the resources. There is also the issue, probably quite salient for many publishers, that their visual identity and brand are closely associated with the way their publications look in print. Stripping that extraneous formatting away and reducing it to simple text and images probably chafes a lot of editors. Still, I would argue they are just resisting the inevitable at this point.

Yesterday I learned that another publication, The Awl, has jumped into the fray of "subcompact publishing." They've just released a new iOS app called The Weekend Companion which curates the best of their writing from the past week and presents it in a minimalist layout, ad-free, every Friday. Subscriptions are $4 per month or $40 for one year (51 issues). Issues can also be bought individually for $2. It's not as well-done as The Magazine, but it's in the same spirit.

Last edited by holymadness; 11-29-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:04 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holymadness View Post
There is also the issue, probably quite salient for many publishers, that their visual identity and brand are closely associated with the way their publications look in print. Stripping that extraneous formatting away and reducing it to simple text and images probably chafes a lot of editors. Still, I would argue they are just resisting the inevitable at this point.
And if they all start going that route, I will once again stop reading them. I appreciate layout design. Without that, much would be lost in the experience for me.

And there's no need when the solution has already been found - the magazines I read in Play on my tablet have an article-view mode that reduces it to essential formatting more suitable to small devices.

Options are good. Stripping everything down to the simplest form... makes me cringe, honestly. There's a reason why we have different content delivery forms with varying levels of visual complexity. There's no reason why we have to eliminate the more complex forms to meet the needs of a user subset. We can have options.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:20 PM   #22
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There's nothing wrong with different forms, and different forms are achievable, c.f. the immense difference between Flipboard and Instapaper.

All that's important is that the content be accessible/usable on my devices.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:59 PM   #23
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At least two more companies are adopting this trend.

Quote:
Two startups that publish original longform journalism are experimenting with subscriptions that give readers access to all of their titles for a set monthly fee. Byliner is offering its stories through an HTML5 website, while Atavist is offering in-app subscriptions.
Link
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:19 AM   #24
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News Corp. shuts down The Daily.

Old media.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:37 PM   #25
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I'd wait until The Magazine and other "new media" forms you've mentioned have lasted even as long as The Daily did before proclaiming them as success: format issues aside, there is a fundamental difficulty inherent in getting people to pay for magazine-style pubs at all.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:21 PM   #26
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I'd wait until The Magazine and other "new media" forms you've mentioned have lasted even as long as The Daily did before proclaiming them as success: format issues aside, there is a fundamental difficulty inherent in getting people to pay for magazine-style pubs at all.
I don't really have any worries there because The Magazine is already profitable a month after its launch. That's crazy. I have worked in startups and most take 2-3 years to earn their first dollar.

The Daily didn't have any problem finding subscribers; it quickly signed up more than 100,000 readers who were willing to pay $40 a year. Its problem was that it had a $30 million operating budget and $5 million in yearly revenues. It never would have lasted two weeks, much less two years, if it hadn't been financed by Rupert Murdoch's other businesses.

I think it just fundamentally misunderstood the medium. It tried to create something on the scale of a massive print newspaper with a relatively tiny subscriber base (compare to the WSJ's 2.1M or the NYT's 1.5M). It didn't offer anything that other newspapers weren't already producing; no one ever sent me an editorial from The Daily saying, "you have to read this!!" It didn't try to create content that would specifically appeal to the kind of people who own iPads. It was a pain in the ass to download and use.

I dunno. You're right that it's way too early to declare any kind of definitive sea change in publishing, but I think the future is bright for this trend.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:11 PM   #27
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To return to the mobile side of things, New Scientist doesn't offer a native reading application for phones or tablets.
I don't really care about apps or whatever. However I do read NS; I've often managed to pick up 75% off discounts and such to keep my physical sub running. This year the best I found was like 45%. So being annoyed I went to look at the prices online.

It turns out it's cheaper for me to get the printed copies sent all the way to SA, than for them to give me digital only sub. Way prefer the physical form too. The publishing industry must have some premium grade electrons, real bespoke stuff.

I guess they'll be like the publishers that say "printing is really such a small part of a books price". Yup yup yup.
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