Thursday, February 28, 2013

A/R magazine launches native tablet edition for its travel photography magazine

The French tourism photography magazine A/R has released a tablet edition into Apple's Newsstand. The digital magazine appears to be using a hybrid approach to its app – that is, reproducing its magazine ads as seen in print, and reformatting the editorial pages for the tablet display.

AR Mag (French iTunes link), as the app is named inside the App Store, is pricing individual issues at 4,49 € and offering an annual subscription for 21,99 € (the magazine is a bi-monthly).

The app has launched with a special winter issue inside that also includes a free preview of the tablet edition. As my French is not the best (to say the least) I opted not to pay for the issue but to look at the preview.

That should be enough, though, to show readers that this is a nicely designed tablet magazine that offers logical navigation, well-sized font choices, some embedded audio, and other native tablet magazine features. At the prices the publisher is charging for the digital editions, it well should offer these.
 photo ARMag-Masthead-sm_zps94fb659f.gif

If already subscribe to the print magazine it looks like you are out of luck as there is no way for print subscriber to log into their accounts in order to access the digital edition for free. I have always been torn about this approach, though that for a lot of small to medium sized publishers offering account verification can be yet another expense. It is also true that a lot of publishers would like to drive their readers to digital editions because of the cost savings inherent in producing digital editions over time. Yet another reason is to put revenue on those new apps and make the platform prove itself - especially important if the new tablet edition has its own P&L.

Michel Fonovich is the publisher of A/R and inside the app the digital production is created to Agence Noeud Pap, a digital publishing agency headquartered in Asnières-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris.

Once again, with the release of this new magazine app, I'd like to take the opportunity to urge both Apple and Google to give consideration to the issue of translation services for their mobile operating systems. Google has made this priority to a certain extent by incorporating translation into their Chrome browser, and by launching translation apps, but built-in translation in digital magazines would be an important innovation (and, I suppose, an area where either Microsoft of Amazon could differentiate itself, as well).

Here is a short walk-through AR Mag's (this time a US App Store link) preview issue found inside this new Newsstand app: