Friday, March 11, 2011

B2B media firm Well Publishing hits the App Store by launching a tablet edition for Insurance Journal magazine

I love to talk about the mobile and tablet publishing efforts of B2B media firms. Unfortunately, there are few examples to point to at this point.
Today, on the day Apple is launching its new version of the iPad, Well Publishing has launched a new iPad app for its Insurance Journal magazine. The B2B is a BPA-audited, 42,000 circulation magazine that comes out 24 times a year.

The new app is free to download and is only a couple of megs in size. The app creates a library in which readers can then download specific issues, which are also free.

This is a very simple, but yet effective app. There is only portrait mode so the individual issues are around 80MB in size. The issues are what I would call modified replica editions. All the full page ads are you see them in the print edition, but with links built in. One thing that proved annoying is that the developers made the entire page hot, leading to some unintended clicks that took me away.
That aside, the editorial content utilizes scrolling to reveal additional pages. Modular ads -- those less than a full page -- are found here, of course.

If you are a B2B and looking for something slightly more tablet-like than only a flipbook than this might interest you. I don't know how committed Wells Publishing is to making tablet editions, though, as the latest edition available through the app is the January 24th edition, meaning that this issue is already a couple of issues behind the current one. The other two issues inside this app are from last year -- it all seems pretty random. But it is possible that the publisher has been waiting for Apple to approve the app and have it show up in the iTunes App Store. Hopefully Wells will load up the library for those who download their app.

One point, though: since most B2B magazines are free and targeted to specific industries, only "qualified" readers are usually able to subscribe -- everyone else pays. Tablet editions, therefore, create some dilemmas: do you charge for the app? Do you create a registration process? This particular app does neither -- the assumption, I suppose, being that only if you are really interested in the topic will you download the app. This is probably correct, but without a registration process the publisher (and advertisers) are pretty much in the dark about who is reading the tablet editions.