Posts Tagged ‘Zinio’

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...

Image via Wikipedia

I just read a great article called iPadded Profits? that takes to task publishers and consumers alike who don’t know how much they should pay or charge for a digital magazine. He references this post that talks about cost and functionality of digital magazines as common frustrations. One of the commenters pointed out that people either want their digital edition to be cheaper or they want to get some additional functionality or information out of it.

I was floored last night at Barnes & Noble at the cost of printed magazines. Most copies were $4.99 or $5.99. Many copies were $9.99 and $10.99. Huh? I could have bought books for the prices of these magazines (at least on the bargain aisle). I almost bought a copy of Bloomberg Businessweek, but at $4.99, I chose instead to buy a copy on Zinio where I had a $5 credit. It was between Businessweek and Oxford American for me at that price point, and I chose Oxford American because, for the same price, I could have a magazine that’s outdated tomorrow (because Businessweek is a weekly) or one that’s not outdated until nearly Independence Day. So…Oxford American won, hands down. And on Zinio, I got the newer version of Businessweek that hasn’t hit the newsstands yet.

So if prices on the actual newsstand are so high that I’m playing expiry-date games to choose where to spend my money, what does that say for digital magazines? From a consumer perspective, I believe a digital version (that is, a nearly PDF version that does not have added functionality, like most magazines on Zinio and other digital newsstands) should cost slightly less than a printed version. I believe a digital version that has additional functionality as part of an app (like Bloomberg Businessweek’s app) should cost the same as a printed version.

What I hope the publishing world goes to is a model like The Wall Street Journal’s, which is a choice between a print subscription, a digital subscription, and a combination print and digital at a reduced rate.

What’s your thought? Have you read a magazine on an iPadiPhoneAndroidBlackberry, or your laptop/desktop? What was the experience like for you? How much are you willing to pay for a print magazine, and how much do you think you should pay for a digital version of the same?

–Tyler W. Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review

[33/365] The Daily

Image by Ben Dodson via Flickr

As someone who has been watching the publishing world try to figure out how to take advantage of the digital revolution, I couldn’t wait to see the much anticipated The Daily for iPad. I wondered if I would care more about it than I do the magazines on Zinio. Because here’s my deal with the magazines on Zinio: They’re beautiful, and I love flipping through them. In fact, I get so swipe-happy that I look at all the pictures in a brain-dead “I’m thinking about something else” type of way, make it all the way to the end of the magazine and realize that I haven’t read a word.

A little ADD? Yes. But I don’t do that with “real” print magazines. I read them so thoroughly that it takes me a month and a half to get through them. Because when I want to read an article in a print magazine, I don’t have to do the weird two-finger stretch to read more, making the design of the page irrelevant and losing the context of the designed page. I really just don’t like reading that way.

So…to The Daily. The Daily is far from perfect. (Read this blog if you don’t believe me.) It does have issues with loading, sharing, commenting, keeping score (the timer did not stop when I finished my game of Sudoku, which sucks because I made great time!) and content. But here’s what makes The Daily better than the Zinio magazines to me:

  • The “just swiping through won’t do” approach: If you swipe to the left repeatedly, you will get to the end of the issue. But you will have missed the functionality that is built in. Each issue has tons of “tap here,” “swipe this,” “turn iPad for full article,” “scroll down,” “hit play” icons that if you don’t do, you’ve missed the point. I like that. Most of the pages keep me busy or engaged. It reminds me of the books for kids where you lift the flap or turn the wheel or pull the tab — you can’t turn the page until you open every one.
  • All of a sudden, I’m looking at ads: I’m a tough customer to reach. I DVR everything (seriously, everything), so I don’t see ads on TV. (Except for during the Super Bowl, when not watching the ads is a sin.) In magazines, I do tend to look at ads that speak to me in some way, but I can pretty easily tune them out, especially on the swipe-so-fast digital magazines. But in The Daily, I have watched every ad that’s been put in so far. They move, they play, they tease, they make you scroll, they change, they swipe, they make me not turn the page until I have done all the things they will let me do. Brilliant! Especially movie trailers: I’m watching movie trailers of movies I would have never watched an ad for or read a review of.
  • Page layouts that are beautiful from every angle: Graphic design is an amazing thing, but sometimes the web strips out the beauty to give the reader a formula approach — headline goes here, deckhead sits here, photo on the right, comments at bottom, white background. That’s fine, and the reader feeders like Flipboard (which I love) put the content in the same formula all the time. And digital magazines tend to have a graphic design that has been adapted from a print version to the digital, which is not always a perfect transition. But on The Daily, every page works horizontally or vertically. The magazine/newspaper/thing (I mean, really, what do we call it?) is obviously blessed with a good design staff that designs for the actual medium. It’s refreshing.
  • Share/comment/save: I love being able to post links on Twitter, share photos on Facebook, save an article for later, e-mail an article to myself, leave a comment on a story, or even post an audio comment. That’s just cool! But these things only seem to work about half the time. It failed to post the links on Twitter and Facebook that I instructed it to. I assume this is one of those things that will get fixed.
  • Customization: My own local weather pops up, as do scores, videos and headlines about Florida pro teams (football, basketball, baseball, etc.) or other teams I choose.

The Daily is not perfect, but to me, it’s an awesome step in the right direction. It will cost me less than a paper subscription. I don’t have a stack of newspapers on my living room floor. And it gives me information organized in a way that flows and that is generated by human writers, editors and designers (not bots or feeds).

Is The Daily the future of publishing? I don’t know, but it’s at least opening the door for other publishers to figure it out. What has your experience been with The Daily, Zinio or other digital magazines? Do you swipe through digital magazines too fast, or is that just me?

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review