Friday, March 1, 2013

Sam's Club launches its Healthy Living customer magazine into the Apple Newsstand

Not every publisher will choose to create a native tablet edition. Sometimes the decision is as simple as the fact that much of their work has been outsourced already and so creating a new tablet edition will have to be outsourced, as well.

In that case, the issue is really whether the replica edition that results still fits the publisher's needs, will it satisfy readers, is it easy to read, is it cost efficient, is there any revenue gains to be had, or will the vendor take all the profit?

In custom publishing the issues increase because the client has counted on the custom publisher to provide all the production know-how for the print edition, and will expect nothing less with any tablet or mobile editions produced, as well.
 photo SamsClubHL-iPad-sm_zpsfadab423.gif
Today, Sam's Club, the membership retailer owned by Walmart, released a universal app into Apple's Newsstand for the Healthy Living customer magazine. The print magazine, according to the masthead, is published by Ivie Communications, though at the bottom of the masthead it says the print production is done by Ivie & Associates. One company is out of Texas, while the other is out of California – my guess is that the Texas company is really behind the company involved here.

The universal app released today, Sam’s Club Healthy Living Made Simple, is listed under the Sam's Club name in the App Store, and this Newsstand app is the only app appearing under that seller name.

Even with replica editions there are at least a couple of things that are essential if the reader is to find the app edition useful: first, the digital magazine must be readable, either through fonts that are legible, or through pinch-to-zoom; and second, if there are places were interactivity is a natural expectation of the reader, then that interactivity must be built in.

This replica is for a print magazine that already uses fairly large fonts. But the app has pinch-to-zoom built in so that if necessary the reader can increase the size of the page.

Also, the app edition is filled with links – they are everywhere. But most importantly, they are on the items Sam's Club is selling in its store. Every ad contains a spot where the reader can tap to go to a Sam's Club page where the item can be purchased.

The app also has tabs that contain a Club Locator, Health Screenings schedule, Immunizations, Bookmarks, and the library for the magazines. Because the app is universal, all this is available for the iPhone, which does support the iPhone 5. I don't find these kinds of products very useful on the iPhone, but I admit I know people who really do read books and magazine on their iPhone (they clearly have better eyesight than I do).

Because of this, this replica edition app may prove useful to Sam's Club customer. No, it is not an ideal solution, but it works and fulfills the minimum expectations Sam's Club customers would have.