Friday, October 14, 2011

Publishers and vendors make their Newsstand decisions, as the number of available titles continues to grow

As any distributor will tell you, there is only so much room on a physical newsstand. Not so, of course, for Apple's new digital newsstand that now has over 250 titles available – still small potatoes compared to Zinio, for instance, which has over 5,000 titles available.

Yesterday I wondered why the New York Times would have moved their iPhone app into Newsstand since it clearly is not a periodical, but an extension of its website. My only guess was that it was continuing to support Apple's initiative, probably in exchange for promotion within the Newsstand store. The screenshot above may, or may not, support that guess.

Meanwhile, publishers, developers and digital publishing vendors continue to make their decision concerning Newsstand. Mag+, the Bonnier spinoff, said yesterday that there were now 15 magazine titles that could be found in Newsstand (and more awaiting approval) that are using their digital publishing solution, including Popular Science and Sound+Vision.
While vendors like Exact Editions (more on them below) have incorporated Newsstand quite well, company's like Tribune Interactive continue to issue updates without adding in Newsstand support. Today, for instance, Tribune released an update for LA Times Magazine for iPad that simply fixed some bugs.

The tablet edition looks a bit like a replica edition upon opening – it is portrait only – but you soon see that it is not as some pages requiring scrolling, and the fonts are adjusted to make reading more enjoyable that your standard PDF-based digital magazine. There is an interesting house app in the latest issue, as well.

This is a magazine that definitely should sit in Newsstand because issues can be updated each week automatically, and the magazine is designed for leisure-time reading. It is possible that Tribune Interactive is confused about the rules for Newsstand – many think only paid publications qualify – or they are taking their time adding in Newsstand support (or they've decided not to participate).

Exact Editions, on the other hand, already has 25 titles that I counted in Newsstand (as of this morning, in the U.S. App Store). They have done a very good job of adjusting their apps to take advantage of the preview feature.

Photobucket Jazzwise, the U.K jazz magazine, is a free app from Exact Editions. Upon opening the app one is presented with the first three pages of the magazine (at least I assume they are the first three pages): the cover, an ad from Steinway, and the TOC. In landscape none of the pages fit the screen but are very readable, in portrait the TOC contains very small type because, of course, the magazine was designed using print specifications. Further, in portrait, because the Brits use A4 as the standard page size, the pages are actually too long for the iPad's display (which is why U.S. replicas appear a bit too short).

After the third pages one moves on to the store (see above) where you can buy issues or an annual subscription.