December 21, 2013
Tablets: there's no easy answer for publishers
This piece tallies with what I'm hearing about magazine apps on tablets right now:
Publishers must break free of the Newsstand and InDesign/PDF trap and invest in their publications as stand-alone, real, honest-to-God apps - or find their titles even more neglected within a vestigial folder that will be inevitably reside inside yet another folder.
It's becoming increasingly apparent that treating magazine (or newspaper apps) as something "special" just isn't the right approach. You're in a competition for attention with everything else on that iPad (and we're still largely talking iPad in terms of consumption right now), and that includes the web, e-mail and Angry Birds. Once you choose to enter this environment, you have to compete with everything else in that environment, and not just myopically peer at what your former competitors in the print space are doing.
The real break-out hits on tablets will be those publishers that realise this - and a quasi-PDF versions of their print title will not be the solution.
Here's a guideline: is your experience at least as good as Flipboard? No? You lose.
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