Monday, June 3, 2013

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants launches six editions of Accounting and Business magazine into the Apple Newsstand; Trinity Mirror's Birmingham Post gets very excited about PDFs

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants this weekend launches six editions of its Accounting and Business magazine, known as AB, it the Apple Newsstand. The six editions, for the UK, Ireland, China, Malaysia, Singapore and and international edition are each separate apps, and each offer the association magazine free of charge to readers.

I chose to download the UK edition. The first issue inside weighs in at just over 110 MB and is a terribly slow download. Really, it is terribly slow, slow enough that many readers wanted something to read on a flight or on the train will want to turn elsewhere for their reading material.

After the half hour wait eventually the magazine could be "opened" to reveal a replica edition of the print magazine.

One could express disappointment that the end product is so unimaginative, but with multiple editions to produce on could guess that the idea of producing native tablet editions each month – the magazine is produced ten times a year – would be a daunting challenge.

One publisher that should be in a better position to build something more interesting for the tablet platform would be Trinity Mirror. They have launched a Newsstand app, Birmingham Post Business Daily that is writing about this morning. Their story, Birmingham Post takes 'bold step' with new business-focused tablet edition, immediately got my attention – was this actually something new from the British newspaper and magazine publisher?

"We think it's a first," editor Stacey Barnfield is quoted as saying. "We can't see any other people doing this at the moment."

So what is so new? A PDF app built by PageSuite, apparently. (It's hard not to tell that it is built by PageSuite, their name is all over the library page.

The team over at the Birmingham Post appears pretty excited by their tablet edition because it contains links – just wait til they discover the Internet, too.

"So that was a big thing for us. I think it's something we've pulled off and we'll get better, we'll fine-tune it. This will evolve," Barnfield said.

The Birmingham Post is itself a compact newspaper, so designing something for the iPad should have been a natural. But rather than taking their design cues from native tablet magazines they have stuck to basic tabloid newspaper design.

Well, I'm glad they are excited, though – and equally glad to see them launching new digital products, that is a step in the right direction. But I also feel a little embarrassed knowing that PDFs can get publishing people so excited. Imagine what lies in store for them once they start seeing other digital publications are doing.