Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Internationalist launches a brand new Newsstand iPad app, replacing a previously released replica edition

It's not often that I back track to check to see if I've missed something, but I did today and found the new tablet edition for New Internationalist – this only goes to show just how hard Apple has made it to actually find things inside its App Store (and things just keep getting worse and worse).

The just launched Newsstand app is officially called New Internationalist for iPad. The magazine, and now its tablet edition, is published by the New Internationalist workers’ co-operative, and it says it "exists to report on the issues of world poverty and inequality; to focus attention on the unjust relationship between the powerful and powerless worldwide; to debate and campaign for the radical changes necessary to meet the basic needs of all; and to bring to life the people, the ideas and the action in the fight for global justice."

Published out of the U.K., the magazine is another of those print magazine titles that would be all but impossible to find here in the States now that so many newsstands are shutting down – and even before the closing of retailers like Borders it would have been hard to find except in those really well run independent newsstands.

The new iPad edition is actually the second time this title has entered the Apple Newsstand. An older app, released by Exact Editions appeared first. That app was, of course, a replica edition, and now has been pulled from the Newsstand. The older app, maybe because it was a replica, offered a one-year subscription for £24.99, with the month subscription priced at £2.99.

Well, as most TNM readers know, it costs more to produce a good tablet edition, and so not surprisingly, the cost to subscribe to the New Internationalist for iPad is more, as well – £17.99 for a six month subscription, £31.99 for an annual subscription, and £3.99 for individual issues.

What one gets for your subscription is a natively designed tablet edition that appears to be using the Mag+ platform. The magazine can be read in both portrait and landscape, though the landscape layout is pretty much the same as portrait (they probably should have created a version of the cover in landscape but didn't). Because it is not a replica, the digital magazine is a far easier read than the old app would have been.

Going from a replica to a natively designed tablet edition usually occurs when the publisher is unhappy with the downloads for the older app. But when the replica vendor has sold the old app under their name, rather than under the publisher's, using the publisher's own developer account, the danger is that the magazine will end up losing its own name – that is what has happened here (and why the new app added the phrase "for iPad" to the end of the app name).

Launching a replica is not always a bad idea, but surrendering your magazine's title to a vendor is a terrible idea.