Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reuters causes a stir by claiming that a group of French newspapers are "teaming up" against Apple's App Store policies; their weapon? free PDFs of their print products

I this story earlier today and was completely baffled by what Reuters was referring to. The story says that a number of French newspaper publishers are "teaming up" in hopes that "they can stop the technology giant from dictating the terms of their distribution."

Really? I thought. That's pretty strange considering they had just launched a new iPad app back a couple of weeks ago call ePresse. Is that what this article is referring to? Apparently it is.

ePresse, in case you haven't checked it out, is a digital newsstand that offers PDF versions of these same French newspapers: Libération, Aujoud'hui, Les Echos, L'Express, Le Figaro, Le Point, Le Parisien, L'Equipe and Le Nouvel Observateur. The issues can be downloaded for free, which in my book, is hardly an alternative to charging through the App Store. In addition, there is no registration mechanism so it doesn't provide an answer to the demand of some publishers that Apple play loose with customer information and hand it over the publishers.
And on top of all that, the app is buggy and tends to crash.

So will this get Apple's attention? It sure will. It should solidify the idea that newspaper publishers are completely clueless as to what their readers want – or at least what the new generation of news readers want.

Why am I so sure that French iPad owners don't buy into the vision these old codger want to sell them? Look inside the French App Store: Le Figaro's PDF app is getting hammered by reviewers who wonder why the publisher wants to sell them a PDF.
Seul problème dans tout ça : quel est l'intérêt d'acheter le pdf du jour ?
En résumé : 4 étoiles pour la navigation du "cube"
0 étoiles pour le pdf.

The only problem with all this: what is the point of buying the pdf of the day?
In summary: 4 stars for navigation of the "cube"
0 stars for the pdf.
Well, good luck to them. But I'm pretty sure that selling PDFs as a group will not prove to me more popular than selling PDFs alone.