Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Media app updates: tablet editions of Macworld, PCWorld go free for print subscribers; new MagCast built digital magazine gets raves from hockey fans and an update

Print subscribers this morning finally got what they had been clamoring for, free access to the tablet edition through their print subscription accounts. Both Newsstand apps for Macworld Digital Magazine (U.S.) and PCWorld Digital Magazine (U.S.) are from the publisher IDG.

Both apps had been receiving bad reviews inside the Apple App Store, though, I found interesting, PCWorld seemed to be getting it worse. Both magazines apps also were called out for bugs that hopefully now fixed with these latest updates.

The issue of charging print subscribers remains a controversial one with both readers and publishers. Some publishers, such as Hearst, have made a policy of this which has led to growing digital subscriptions, but also diving print readership. Hearst has never, as far as I know, officially said that their goal was to drive readers to digital to cut production costs, but their policies are certainly doing just that.

Other publishers have chosen to charge all digital readers simply because of the issue of subscription verification – the added cost to do this not considered worth the price.

Both IDG computer magazines are reformatted for the iPad, something that puts them at an advantage over Future's Mac|Life which has been getting negative reader reviews due to it being a buggy replica edition.

The Loop, the digital magazine that uses the new TypeEngine digital publishing platform to create a simplified digital magazine along the lines of Marco Arment's The Magazine, has had to issue two quick updates to address bugs. (see original TNM post here, and the follow-up here.) This is probably not a big surprise as this is the first app to use TypeEngine's new app solution.

Reader reviews have been split between those who love the concept of a Kindle Edition-like digital magazine, and those that found the app buggy.

Other media app updates this morning:

By the Bottle, from Extra Edge Club LTD, has updated their Newsstand app to add iPhone support. (See original TNM post here.)

Education Week, from Editorial Projects in Education, was updated to fix some bugs. What really should be address, though, is the poor app description that was created for the app - only one screenshot (the text is OK). The cost of the digital issue is pretty high – $69.99 for an annual subscription – so I'm sure downloads are pretty low for this digital edition.

Finally, one of those digital magazines with an outrageously long name – Hockey Development Magazine: Tips and Systems Drills for Hockey Coaches and Players – was updated for "code optimization and enhancements." (See short post on the app in the new release section, scroll down to April 17.)

The digital magazine used the MagCast platform to create its Newsstand app and readers have so far been very positive in their reviews – 17 five-star reviews to zero other. Not a bad start for Jeremy Weiss who launched the digital magazine last month.