Each day I discover yet another company offering some sort of way for publishers to get their books onto the iPad or other tablets and smartphones. One I had not heard of is called GradMags, an Austin, Texas company that is selling into the college alumni and academic publishing sphere.
I suppose the reason I hadn't stumbled on them, despite the fact that they have 21 apps in the App Store, is that their apps do appear to support Newsstand (at least, none of their apps are in Newsstand at this time).
The latest app they have released is UCSF Mag – and the name implies, it is a product of the University of California, San Francisco.
Each vendor seems to come up with their own twist that makes their apps a bit different. In the case of GradMags I think it is the navigation along the bottom, at least of this new app for UCSF.
Along with the Library page and Downloads, one finds Make A Gift, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and About – a nice collection of areas for possible content.
And like the apps looked at that use MagazineCloner, the apps do not support the iPhone 5's larger screen, so the digital magazines take up only a tiny portion of the iPhone's display.
All the apps produced by GradMags appear under the vendor's name rather than that of the publisher. Also, very little effort appears to have been made to make the app descriptions look presentable as many of the apps have only one generic screenshot included in the listing (though the app Kellogg Alum does have the standard three screenshots.)
It would be nice if there was as much effort that went into these digital platform's actual magazine conversions as there is to the shell that houses the issues. The real need of publishers is not how to get PDF versions of their magazines onto a tablet, but how to get a readable, well-designed digital magazine that contains their content onto a tablet or smartphone.