Monday, June 11, 2012

For Lekiosk, the future is the past; 3D digital newsstand pushes replica editions; company to launch UK newsstand

Usually I tend to ignore posts on new media websites that push the press releases of tech companies, but occasionally one gets my attention. This post on The Next Web is one of those cases.
The subject of the post is the new U.K. digital newsstand from Lekiosk. The French company, founded in 2008, has had an iOS and Android app for awhile now (its iPad app launched in early 2011).

Like its U.S. counterpart, Zinio, the app is very popular with mobile and tablet devices owners as it is an entry point for many new device owners to access magazines for their phones or tablets.

The gimmick of Lekiosk is its "3D Newsstand", and it truly is a gimmick. When launched, the Lekiosk app opens to an animated illustration of a physical newsstand. The user can twirl the newsstand around, though one guesses the only reason to do so is to look cool. Otherwise one would be better off simply searching for their titles, or looking for them under the categories.
What one finds when the reader selects a magazine is a digital replica edition of the print magazine. In other words, Lekiosk is about as retro as one can get: a replica of a newsstand selling replicas of the print magazines. The big news, I guess, is that now the company will be offering some UK titles.

The most innovative thing about Lekiosk is that, like Next Issue, Lekiosk has a subscription model where the reader can get a package of 10 magazines for £9.99 per month – same price in Euros. Only select magazines are available, however, so the appeal of this option is lessened. No doubt popular magazines opt out.

For magazine publishers it is an easy decision to become available on these digital newsstands. Zinio, Magzter, Lekiosk, they are a dime a dozen at this point, and any magazine publisher would be remiss not to be available most of them.

But if what Lekiosk is offering is supposed to be the future, then I wonder why readers haven't migrated to all digital replica editions like flipbooks years ago - after all, flipbooks have been around for a long time now. (The reason, of course, is that research shows readers don't like them, listing them as their least favorite way to read a periodical.)