Monday, May 16, 2011

Replicas from the Palm Beach Daily News, the National Review; Florida paper wants no part of Apple's App Store

The Palm Beach Daily News launched its first iPad app in the App Store today, but it is clear that the local newspaper is no fan of tablet publishing as the app does not offer any way to actually buy the digital editions or to subscribe in any way.
Instead, the media executives are going retro: they have included the phone number for the circulation department in the app description!

The app, Palm Beach Daily News Electronic Edition, is free to download, but the app contains no in-app purchase mechanism, instead, if you are currently a subscriber to the paper, you can sign-in to your account to access replica editions of the current editions. The app does offer a couple sample issues but what you get is the usual replica edition where the reader has to pinch to zoom in order to have a chance at reading the articles.

The paper is a bit unique in other ways, as well, as it is published daily for part of the year, twice weekly "offseason".

The app was developed by Olive Software, a company I had heard of as creating replica products, but one that has been quiet for a while. The company's website looks pretty dead: its last press release is shown to be from 2009, and the company has yet to change the copyright date on its website to reflect that it is 2011 – not a good sign.

The National Review is a strange little magazine. The magazine was founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley, Jr. but for the past few years the magazine has been far less influential than its website which contains The Corner blog.
Not being someone who considers themselves "conservative" I find the magazine confusing. Take its recent issue that has Paul Ryan on the cover morphed into FDR, with the title "Ryan's New Deal". Paul Ryan, of course, is the Wisconsin representative that wants to end Medicare. The National Review obviously loves the idea, but why make him look like FDR? The magazine hates FDR! Very strange.

Anyway, this app is certainly better thought out than the one above. The app, National Review (witty take on the magazine's name) is free to download and creates a library where fellow conservatives can access the issues for free if they are already print subscribers. But the National Review believes in free enterprise, so they have embraced Apple's in-app subscription system – individual issues can be bought for $1.99 per issue, or you can subscribe for 6 months at $11.99, or a full year at $19.99 (that's about ten bucks off what the website is currently offering an annual print edition subscription for).

The app doesn't incorporate its website blogs but it does offer a great archive feature. Users can search the magazine's archives, and even it they are not subscribers, can buy access to individual articles for 99 cents a piece.