Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dark Beauty Magazine and Daylight Digital take opposite approaches to wooing new digital magazine readers

Two very different new tablet editions were released yesterday into the Apple Newsstand. While the two magazines not only take different approaches to the creation of their new tablet editions – one a simple PDF replica, the other a natively designed tablet magazine – the two magazines also take very different approaches to trying to attract readers.

Dark Beauty Magazine is a title that doesn't mind placing a high price on its cover. The title's website says that print editions cost $55 a piece. No wonder then that the just launched tablet edition would be so pricey: $12.99 per issue and $54.99 for a subscription.

I learned long ago, for a very good sales person, that asking for the order, and in particular, asking for the big order, is the only way to succeed wildly. So I am predisposed to applauding when a publisher asks for what they think is a fair price.

But the problem here is that the publisher has used a PDF solution through PressPad. The app contains no preview issue, or even a preview of an issue, so the reader better be very familiar with the magazine before ordering. The app description won't be much help, either, as there is only a single screenshot of the cover to be seen.

Daylight Digital takes a completely different approach. With this tablet magazine the potential reader opens up the app to a letter from publisher inviting them in.

"Daylight Digital is a new way to discover, enjoy, and share contemporary art. Start your free trial now." That last sentence contains a hyperlink to the subscription form where a reader will get a 7 day free trial for signing up. After the free trial the subscription will auto-renew at $2.99 per month. It's a good deal and allows the reader to test the digital magazine.

"Here's your invitation to join us, too. We'll publish a new edition every other week highlighting the work of today's leading contemporary artists – next up is Deutsche Borse Prize nominee Cristina de Middel," reads the introductory letter, which goes on with more details.

It's a very pleasant way to sell a digital magazine, in my opinion.

A very bizarre thing happened after viewing these two digital magazines: my iPad died. After looking at dozens for new apps – eBooks and digital magazines mostly – the iPad locked up and began failing to respond to taps and swipes. A complete restore was in order, and with all the apps I have on that tablet you can imagine the trouble a restore is.

It's hard to say if either of the two apps above were to blame, or if something else was going (probably), but I figured I'd better mention it.