Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Affinity Publishing launches a tablet edition for the luxury car brand Aston Martin

A piece of advice I have given in the past that bares repeating is that if a publisher is looking to see especially fine examples of tablet publishing one should look at the digital magazines being produced for the car companies. Not only are the tablet magazines free, as you would expect from something created for marketing purposes, but they usually stretch the platform to the limit.
Yet another good example was released today: Aston Martin Magazine. Where as many of these company magazines are produced by the company's ad agency, others are produced by the custom publishing house. This digital magazine for the luxury car brand was released by Affinity Publishing Ltd. and appears under their name in the App Store (a bit of a mistake if you ask me).

The app is free, as is the content, and right now there is only one issue available in the app's library – the summer edition, which weighs in at slightly over 184 MB and is an excruciatingly slow download. That is the apps only real problem.*

The app does not utilize Apple's Newsstand, which probably makes sense. The digital magazine is, after all, primarily a marketing piece, and it is only published quarterly.

How the publisher was able to get this digital edition into only 184 megs was a miracle. Maybe this digital magazine is not built for the new iPad's retina display - if so, you won't notice, it looks great.

Also, the app contains several videos. One, embedded into an ad, is clearly housed outside the app, which saves space. But the one embedded in a story appears to be in-app, so to speak.

The digital magazine can be read in both portrait and landscape (portrait see above, and landscape see in the video below).

Looking at the digital edition's staff credits at the back of the magazine Affinity does not credit an outside developer for the app – I would be interested to know if Affinity was able to build this themselves using a digital publishing platform, or whether there is an uncredited developer.

Whatever the case may be, this is another really good tablet edition for a car brand. And what a car brand it is!

* Three other nitpiks: Following the staff information is an ad – the back page ad, if you will. But tablet editions don't really have back pages and it certainly isn't a premium position to be stuck in the back of a digital edition. The publisher probably should have moved that ad up.

Also, some of the ads were not optimized for the tablet edition so their text is unreadable as there is no pinch-to-zoom used here.

Finally, the digital edition is difficult to navigate. There is a nice, innovative table of contents, but once inside the digital edition I found no way to move from front to back other than swiping.

These may sound like major objections, they aren't. Check out the magazine yourself, and dream of driving an Aston Martin to the local grocery store.