Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Second issues find publishers changing things up: the publisher of 'By the Bottle' goes bi-lingual by using different orientations; 'Infocus Australasia' adds features

It is a sad fact that many new digital magazine fail to make it to their second or third magazine issue. Many new titles are what some call vanity titles, like those books that make it into Amazon from authors told they should write a book. New digital publishing platforms like MagCast make it fairly easy to launch a personal magazine, but it is the efforts of new commercial publishers where the interesting things are happening.

Vimal Chatwani's new launch, By the Bottle (original TNM post here) launched in January and the new digital wine magazine (actually, it is the magazine that is digital, the wine remains the same) has released its second issue.

The second issue has a very unique feature, it is bi-lingual (English and Chinese), but it is how it accomplishes this that is unique – portrait layouts are in English, landscape in Chinese.

There are, of course, other magazines offering bi-lingual editions. Many handle the job as in print, with different languages side-by-side. Still others are offering separate language editions from within the app's library. By the Bottle appears to be the only using the orientation of the iPad as the differentiator.

It's a creative solution to the issue of how to reach a new market through a new edition without publishing completely separate apps. (Going into the Chinese App Store I see English in the app description, though I don't know if this is because I'm coming from the States, but it would be smart to change this for the Chinese market.)

By the Bottle is a fully native tablet magazine whose second issue weighs in at 385 MB because of the two orientations. It is now priced at $1.99 per issue and is worth checking out. The publisher's goal now had to be to see if the new digital magazine can reach its intended audience – both in the English speaking world, and now in the Chinese.

Infocus Australasia, from CustomMade Media Australia, has also released its second issue (see original TNM post here).

The new photography digital magazine uses the Oomph platform to build its issues, and is obviously on a more regular publication schedule as the first issue hit in April and now this second issue has appeared.

The new Newsstand magazine has a licensing agreement with Dennis Publishing to use some of their content to, as Keith Barrett, managing editor at CustomMade Media Australia told me, "allow us to cover off the basics."

The second issue, which weighs in at 276 MB, now features new original content – a cover story and a News and Events page.

The magazine remains free, being supported by advertising found inside. It's quite an app, one that obviously is able to show off the photography.

But the magazine is really about photographic equipment more than photographs from fine art photographers. So to liven things up a bit the designers have used animation to slide in headlines and text. But while this can be somewhat of a cliché, the use of animation for the navigation is a great idea. Small buttons bounce as you go from page to page making sure the reader knows there is more content to be found if one scrolls, or swipes to go to the next article. There is also plenty of hot linked captions and other interactive features to keep the reader interested (they should remember than all the DSLRs can shoot video, too).

Both By the Bottle and Infocus Australasia have made it to issue number two and found ways to improve their digital magazines. Now it is all a question of the long term viability of both titles and the persistence (or insanity) of their publishers as to how long they can keep it up.