Monday, January 14, 2013

By The Bottle and Maura Magazine: New digital magazines continue to appear, despite remaining apparently invisible to the industry's trade press

Several new tablet magazines were launched into the Apple Newsstand over the weekend into today. The sheer volume of new tablet magazine launches has to bring up the question of whether the traditional magazine media outlets remain relevant today – after all, it was only a few weeks ago that they loudly announced that 2012 saw the smallest number of new magazine launches on record, when most digital media observers were seeing the opposite, a flood of new magazine launches. Of course, they were digital, so the traditional media trade industry publications didn't see to think those counted.

One of the newly launched tablet-only magazines is from the U.K., By The Bottle. The magazine is a bit of a mystery as its link from the app description goes to a page with only two links on it.
The digital magazine is edited by Geordie Clark who writes about the origins of the magazine in his introductory column.

"Our objective behind this magazine was straightforward. We started this project because felt the wind market was missing a piece of the puzzle (sic). Other magazines cover industry news and wine reviews very well, but they don't always speak to the common wine enthusiast," Clark wrote. "We wanted to write about wine but take the stuffiness out of the topic. We wanted to make it fine, and useful, whether you are a casual wine drinker of a professional with years of experience in the trade."

(The nice thing about digital magazines is typos can be corrected with updates.)

Some of the articles that follow involve #7WordWineReview, something I was totally unaware of (they are wine meet ups, if I understand the concept) and the whole flow of the magazine seems a bit odd to me, made more so by the slightly mysterious nature of this magazine start-up. There is no "publisher" identified, though I have a feeling a gentleman referred to as VIM is behind this effort (Vimal Chatwani).

What the case may be, the app here is free to download and the issue inside is free, as well the design is native with scrolling text boxes employed, as well as more static pages.

The digital magazine can be read in either portrait or landscape, though the ad that is on the page following the cover is designed for portrait. The fact that the ad is for Riedel (the wine glass producer) and the first story is an interview with Maximilian Riedel raised some flags with me and made me wonder if what was to follow was merely advertorials – this proved not to be the case.

Here is a brief walk-through the beginning of the first issue of By The Bottle. The video makes it seem like the pages don't quite fit the display of the iPad, but ignore that, it was caused by the video capture software.

Another new digital magazine released is called Maura Magazine and appears under the seller name of 29th Street Publishing.
Tim Moore is one of those who is part of 29th Street Publishing. You will remember Moore from the digital magazine Letter to Jane, one of the first new tablet magazines created shortly after the launch of the original iPad in April of 2010.

Maura Magazine is designed in a similar fashion to other digital magazines from 29th Street Publishing – a look that feels more like a Kindle Edition or something created with iBooks Author. I think those who think Marco Arment is on to something with his own digital magazine, but digital magazine designers with print backgrounds may think this is going way to minimal.

Maura, by the way, refers to the editor Maura Johnson, and the app description says that the new digital magazine will appear weekly. While the first issue can be viewed for free, monthly subscriptions will cost readers $2.99, while an annual subscription is priced at $29.99.