Nomad Editions has issued new app updates for its three magazine titles within the App Store: Uncorked, Real Eats, and BodySmart. All three iPads are now being built using the Mag+ digital publishing platform.
Despite the major change in publishing platforms, the publishing and pricing strategy will remain the same: each of the digital magazines are being published weekly (actually 48 times per year), and readers can buy monthly subscription for only $0.99, or an annual subscription for $9.99. (Quite the bargain.)
All three magazines can be found inside Apple's Newsstand, as well as online at the Nomad Editions website.
The Mag+ built digital magazines have a look that will be familiar to TNM readers who have seen other magazines built using the publishing solution. The magazines are easy to read, with scrolling text boxes and other features that are native to tablets. The issue of Uncorked that I downloaded weighed in at only 31.6MB, since it was only 28 pages (remember, its appearing weekly). But the magazine utilizes both portrait and landscape layouts and is, in my opinion, a major step in the right direction for the tablet editions.
Nomad Editions, founded by former media banker and Newsweek executive Mark Edmiston, has evolved dramatically since launching in December of 2010.
At that time the goal was to launch individual digital magazines using the Treesaver platform across all digital platforms. But the publishing philosophy has changed quickly, thanks to the launch of the iPad.
"It's sort of like George Patton – the battle plan is good until you start meeting the enemy – we've changed a lot," Edmiston told me this morning. "Originally when I started thinking about this, back in 2009, before we even formed the company, we were very much focused on the phones. We thought the iPhone was really where we wanted to be."
"I was like a lot of people who, when the iPad came out, I said 'nice, but it's just a big iPod touch.'" Edmiston said.
"What has happened in the two years since the tablet has come out … we came to the realization that the world had changed rather dramatically by this device. That people were using were it in a way that no one imagined," Edmiston admitted.
"For magazine-like products, the tablet is where you want to be."
But the change in thinking about tablets has also led to a change in thinking about what should be produced for smartphones.
"What is the product for a smartphone? It should not be looking like a magazine, it should look like something else," Edmiston concludes.
So the plan going forward is to launch new smartphone apps that play off the magazine's and Nomad's brand names, but will be something other than being strictly a digital magazine. The focus, however, will continue to be on the iOS platform.
"If you add iPhones to tablets (the iPad) you have the overwhelming market share, we don't feel compelled to be rushing out and to try and do a lot of different devices."
But Nomad Editions will be using Mag+ to roll out future Android editions, something that will happen because the company is branching out into custom publishing. Edmiston says the company is working with different companies such as Hemmings Motor News to create new digital publications.
This can happen because the company has been building out its own editorial and production capabilities. Edmiston said that Nomad is now "mostly an editorial operation."
"What we've accomplished is to create the infrastructure, the technology – and now improve the technology with Mag+ – and the human resources, if you will, to be able to take any kind of content… and convert that into a magazine on a tablet."
Edmiston said the biggest challenge his young company has faced is getting the new products. Without an established brand name, or an established base of readership, it is hard to break through the clutter of the App Store or Newsstand.
"The big issue we are facing, which is the problem with everyone going into it, is discovery," Edmiston admitted. "There is so much competition out there, it is really important that we try to get the best product. That's why we led ourselves to work with Mag+."
But these new custom publishing projects should be able to avoid the "discovery" issue because of their client's established brands and loyal customer bases.
So you can be sure that we'll check back in with Nomad when these new products start to roll out and appear online or inside the App Store or Android Market.