Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TAPE Magazine uses the Magzter platform to create an almost invisible digital magazine, then charges for it

Yesterday TNM looked at the latest digital magazine launch from Tablazines, Reader's Mobile, which uses the Magzter platform. One of the points made in that look at the new app was that the design was heavily influenced by print when no print magazine actually existed – the point being that native tablet magazine design need not mimic print conventions such as with the traditional TOC.

Another new digital magazine released in the past week that also is using the Magzter looked like it might prove to be a good example of how a publisher could use a platform usually associated with replicas to create something that works well on tablets. But, in the end, TAPE Magazine only proves the point that mindlessly using a replica maker to create a tablet edition is more often than not counterproductive.

TAPE Magazine has so much wrong with it that it is hard to known where to begin. Once again the app is being published under the Magzter account name rather than the publisher's. Further, the only link that is supposed to go to magazine support merely goes to Magzter. Complicating things further, the website for the publisher seems to be down, so learning anything about the magazine or the company behind it proved impossible.

No, this isn't a blank page. Really.
What gave me hope that this would be an interesting tablet edition was the screenshots that seemed to show full page photo layouts, but these were only brought over from print as opening the issue revealed page folios, following the usual left side from even, right side for odd pattern. This wouldn't be so bad in a replica that is produced of a traditional magazine, but TAPE is no traditional magazine as is apparent once a full page of text is revealed.

No, apparently it was the designers brilliant idea to use fonts that are more gray than black. As a result, what surely must be hard to read in print is impossible to read on the iPad. It is rare to find something that is less legible on a retina display iPad than in print, but somehow the folks at TAPE managed to do it.

As I written before, there is a place for replica editions, but they must at least be readable – most are not, TAPE is even visible.

The new app charges $4.99 per issue, and if you recall, after Apple takes its 30 percent the vendor, Magzter, is due half of what's left. Since this is incremental revenue for the publisher I'm sure they can justify it, but as a reader, this is one very bad tablet edition/