Thursday, January 17, 2013

From unlikely sources come compelling new tablet titles; The Long Haul Magazine, The Nimble Magazine, BackPocket Magazine, Blueprint Entrepreneur Magazine

Late this morning I responded to a tweet from Rafat Ali, the co-founder of Skift (and founder of paidContent), a new B2B travel website. Ali had tweeted "It is amazing, shocking, confounding yet delightful how slow the travel trades are." I basically said that he had no idea, it is worse than he thinks.

Nothing exemplifies this slowness of the trades than the repeated press release about the low number of new magazine launches seen in 2012. Just a superficial examination of the claim would have shown that it was simply not true. In fact, the pace of magazine launches – digital magazine launches, that is – is incredible.

One of those titles actually has been in the Newsstand for a while now. The Long Haul Magazine is on its third issue now and focuses on the issue of driver health and lifestyle, rather than just the business of long haul transportation.

Edited and published by Luisa Nims, the idea for launching a tablet magazine came from her husband who told her about a new digital publishing solution – Magcast. Until then Nims was contemplating a website only approach.

Nims doesn't come from the print magazine world, nor does she come from a trucking background, either.
"I've never driven a truck, I don't even like driving. If I could walk everywhere I would," Nims told me.

By being an early customer of the company Nims was able to launch her digital magazine with low start-up costs, less than $1,500 I was told. This will allow Nims to not only experiment with the platform, but not feel the pressure some publishers deal with in a new launch situation.

"It's also confidence issue, too: it's OK to mess up $1,500, it's not OK to mess up $15,000, or $20,000," Nims said. "When I've been talking to some mainstream magazine titles… you know they spent $60-70,000 just to get one of their titles into the digital space, which makes no sense at all."

Nims knows that eventually her revenue will come from advertising, but for now it is all about building up her readership, something she plans to do through new launches.

The Nimble Magazine is a new tablet magazine from Benjamin Rabe, a freelance web-designer from Hamburg, Germany.

"It is an experiment, ma," Rabe writes whimsically in his new invention.

"I think that's the apt way to label something you have never done before. I always wanted to more illustrational work, and blogging for over three years on, a magazine seems like the logical step for me," Rabe writes.

"With The Nimble Mag I will try and embrace the three key elements in this new area of art: mobility, data-driven collaboration and sharing. The first three issues are free. After than I will see whether I am able to sustain it all and also switching to paid subscription."

Rabe does us all a favor by listing his tool right on the first page: The Baker Framework, animate, The Laker Compendium, Middleman, FontAwesome and Google Web Fonts. The result is, as Rabe describes it, "a tiny publication about mobile art and other stuff."

It is well worth checking out.

BackPocket Magazine and Blueprint Entrepreneur Magazine
use two very different vendor solutions.

BackPocket is published by Alexander Chaney and is using Coverpage to produce its app. I have not played around with Coverpage, but the solution appears more powerful and feature laden than Magcast, which both The Long Haul Magazine and Blueprint Entrepreneur Magazine are using.

Jamie Cheng is publishing Blueprint Entrepreneur and is charging $10.99 for single issues, though a free trial of the new digital magazine is available within the app.