Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New digital magazine start-ups target food markets

It started snowing about three hours ago, and there is already six inches of the stuff on the ground. If I don't leave my desk and do something about this I don't think I'll able to leave my office until Memorial Day (or whenever).

But sitting on my iPad are two apps I wanted to mention before heading out into the blizzard. Both of them are digital-only start-ups that are targeting the natural food markets. This is something that is near and dear to my heart because for short while I actually was the publisher of a natural food magazine. It should have been a gold mine, but the publishing company made a mess of things by not supporting the title by allowing the hiring of even one sales person to sell space. Not surprisingly the title was shuttered a couple years after I left after only appearing in print only sporadically.

Raw Food Magazine's website says it is "the premier digital magazine for Raw Living and the Raw Food Diet." Since I am quite sure it is the only digital magazine for Raw Living and the Raw Food Diet inside the Newsstand I think they are pretty safe in their claim.

I haven't bought an issue inside the app, though because the only two options are to buy the issue for $5.99, or buy a 1-year subscription for $29.99. That is pretty pricey for a start-up and I'm sure quite a few potential readers will be scared away because of it.

The screenshots are not too promising, as well. For some reason the designer has put page folios in the layouts, and have made them left-for-even, right-for-odd just like a print magazine. That this is insane design for a digital magazine should be self-apparent.

The second magazine is Switch On Organic News Magazine and the digital magazine was launched to support the preexisting website. Launching a magazine was an interesting choice for this web property as the website only shows one new story since February 12.

The price for this new digital title is $1.99 per issue or $19.99 for a year's subscription.

I'd like to be optimistic about these two new digital magazines – after all, the natural food market continues to grow (including the raw food movement) – but both these new digital magazines are using the MagCast platform and my own take on it is that these are simply PDFs displayed on a tablet, not really digital magazines as we are coming to see them.

But they are start-ups, nonetheless, and will most likely not be counted as new magazine launches by the folks at Folio: or elsewhere. But they most definitely are new magazines, and if a little less pricey might stand a chance at success.