Apple launched it’s long awaited iPad earlier this year and during that presentation Steve Jobs showed the many different tasks that the new to the world piece of technology is capable of. A free app called iBook allows users to sync in their latest and greatest fiction or non-fiction novels but just as the apps name suggests it completely leaves out periodicals. Despite the iPad’s 9.7 inch color screen, crisp photo and smooth video capability, it’s ability to display typography elegantly; Apple left one thing out: an e-reader software designed with magazines in mind.
Magazines, just like other forms of periodicals ie. newspapers, are a dying breed. News driven magazines have been hit the hardest with the major news Magazines “Businessweek” and “Forbes” taking more than a 50% decrease in sales from 2008 to 2009. Given the fact that everything in today’s age is accessible online for free why wouldn’t the average joe just use their internet connection and digitally flip through pages upon pages of content right at their finger tips practically instantaneously. But without a venue to hold that content digitally and give them the versatility to take their favorite publication on the go were still left to hit our local magazine stand and purchase a hard copy.
The challenge has been left up to the magazine publishers to create a digital outlet for their product, but is it worth the cost? In March of this year, online magazine VIVmag created an app to hold magazine content on the iPad. Questioning the expense of this new creation, Jeanniey Mullen, CMO of the magazine’s distributor, Zino, said it was not even 100k. Even with the iPad introducing the possibility of reaching a wider audience than ever before, 100k to a smaller publication is a price not too many I’m sure are willing to invest their money into.
So what is left to do? Not all companies can afford the start up of a online app, companies still aren’t paying as much for advertisements because of the lack of publication sales…my guess is that publishers who do try and make the leap to digital and handle the challenge put in front of them will not see any immediate financial benefits. But they might just be getting something better out of the deal; a chance to reimagine and reinvent their publications content and their business on a device that offers endless amounts of possibilities for both.