Thursday, July 5, 2012

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies: former Reed Business Information title survives under new ownership, launches new replica edition iPad app

In the first few weeks of this website in 2010 the news was dominated by reports of the sales or closing of B2B titles at Nielsen and Reed Business Information. Many of the titles that could not find buyers, like Editor & Publisher or Construction Equipment, were closed down, then sold off for pennies on the dollar.

On April 16, 2010 this site passed on the sad news that 23 RBI titles would be closed down due to not finding a buyer willing to pay the going rate. Many of those titles eventually found new owners, including Foodservice Equipment & Supplies (FES) which is currently being published by The Zoomba Group out of Elmhurst, IL.
That company is headed by Maureen Slocum, who left RBI to join Zweig White before founding her new company. Slocum had been the publisher of Foodservice Equipment & Supplies from 1999 to 2007.

(Disclosure: I was at RBI, in Oak Brook, for a short while during this time.)

The company reintroduced FES in June of 2010, and recently started up a new magazine that has lots of promise, Restaurant Development + Design (there is more money to be made in restaurant design and construction than in actually running the restaurant).

Just before the Independence Day holiday a new tablet edition launched for the B2B title: Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine+. The "+" at the end of the name should not lead you to assume that this is a native app using the Mag+ platform. No, this new app uses the Paperlit platform which produces a replica edition.

The app and the issues to be found inside are all available for free. There is no qualification requirements, despite the magazine being BPA audited, and no new pay model. The issues are standard flipbook stuff, and though the issues are fairly easy to read on a new iPad, I would think that owners of older iPads would find reading the contents designed for print more of a challenge.

Nonetheless, it is good to see another RBI title surviving outside of management of Reed. The new July issue is a bit thin of ads and no doubt RBI management would not have allowed the publisher to print 100 pages if the magazine was still owned by RBI – but that is one of the advantages the new publishers have, the ability to set folio sizes without sticking to some bureaucratic formula.

Left: The library page of the new B2B app; Middle: a strange way to do embedded links; Right: like all replica editions, font sized for easy reading in print are smaller and harder to read in the digital edition.