Thursday, January 10, 2013

BevNet uses a replica solution to create its first tablet edition; pricing policy is contradictory and a bit mysterious

Following lunch I looked at my Twitter and found a vendor promoting a new app inside the Apple App Store for its client – and good thing since finding newly released digital magazines inside the store has been made more difficult by Apple's strange new redesign.

Having said that, there are times when one looks at a new tablet edition and the immediate thought that comes to mind is that you wish you had talked to the publisher before hand and asked them "do you really want to do this?"

The new app, BevNet Magazine, is good contrast to the new app released yesterday for Beverage World from Macfadden Communications. That app, seen here, used the Mag+ platform to create a hybrid app, where the print ads from the magazine appeared untouched, but the editorial pages were reformatted to produce a digital magazine that would be easier to read on the iPad. Additionally, Macfadden's digital team decided that the way to handle the issue of qualified circulation was to release the app as a free app where anyone interested in the content could download issues for free, subscribing only as a way to get the future issues to download automatically.

Bevnet Magazine, on the other hand, has built its ad using Tapedition. What this results in is a replica edition of the print magazine, unchanged in any way I could see from the print magazine. Another decision that was made was to charge for issues and subscriptions – well, sort of, as you will see.

According to the app description individual issues are to be available for $3.99 per issue, with an annual subscription available for $19.99. But the app has a "Buy" button for the one issue to be found inside the app, but no price. Tapping that button results in the issue downloading without the usual dialogue box that comes up confirming the purchase. Also, there is no price shown. (How this app got through Apple is a mystery.)

When I saw that the download was starting I had to wonder if I had been charged for the magazine (I hadn't). Was this December meant to be a sample issue? Who knows, this app is all doesn't say much, including how big the download that was occurring would be.

It turns out it was 234 MB, a rather huge size for a 68 page replica edition.

The only thing that might explain why this tablet edition is so large is its pop-up ads. Yes, like the app seen yesterday, Philly Beer Scene, this app has pop-up ads that obnoxiously show up every few pages. In fact, they are the exact ads as you can see below.

One might be surprised that a publisher would allow this to happen to their magazine, but after all these years I guess nothing surprises me anymore. But all I can say is "really, you want this?"
Left: the library/store page where there is a buy button, but no prices; Middle: the pop-up ad that shows up every few pages; Right: the layouts reveal that this is most definitely a replica edition.