Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Citizen publishers launch their own digital magazines, but the lack of a low cost digital publishing platform leads to some amateurish looking efforts

I normally wouldn't write about a new app such as Install Magazine, but thought it would be a good idea to once again call on Apple to create a program like iBooks Author but for magazine publishers.

Install Magazine is a bit like the nightmares I have concerning creating my own tablet magazine. As a former newspaper and magazine publisher I have basic InDesign and Quark skills. I can create a page layout, in other words, but you wouldn't want to see it print (or on the iPad).

Install is one of those digital magazines that reflects the joy of app creation, and the agony of launching.

The digital magazine is a series of single pages without any interactivity other than an embedded YouTube video and a few links. The magazine is supposed to be about mobile apps, and supposedly comes from someone who claims to be a developer, but really...

But let's not make fun of the effort here. Good job, well done, and all that.

The issue is that we're going to get many more of these amateurish looking digital publications until Apple gives us a solution as good as iBooks Author.

While Install Magazine is a freebee, another new digital magazine called MyPad Magazine wants to charge $6.99 per issue. It says the digital magazine covers such topics as "blogging from you iPad (sic)". The magazine looks like an informercial and really makes you wonder if Apple's CEO Tim Cook has instructed the app review team to let anything into the App Store so long as it has the potential to add another dollar to the company's bottom line.
At this late date, two and a half years after the launch of the original iPad, I am rather shocked that Apple hasn't done anything in the way of creating their own digital publishing platform for the iPad. Apple, you see, has this huge iAds issue. If the company were Google, it would see that in order to create inventory craving ads it should encourage more citizen publishing. Conversely, Google has the mobile ad platform but has such a fragmented tablet platform that it can't gain any traction.

Compounding the situation for citizen publishers seeking an inexpensive publishing solution is Apple's decision to default the sorting its apps by sales not release date. This makes it hard for new publishers to have their digital publishing efforts found inside the App Store. For now, maybe that is a good thing.