10 noteworthy links from the past week – May 14, 2012

  1. Kindle Fire magazine editions: Leveraging tap, swipe and scroll: A review of ten magazine titles on the Kindle Fire from an interface perspective. I love the “tap the ingredients to mark them off” feature for the recipes. Rob’s overall verdict is “The Kindle Fire magazine experience has plenty of room for improvement”. Not for the magazines, but for the Kindle Fire.–
  2. MediaShift . An iTunes Playlist for Magazine Articles? Zinio Thinks Outside the Brand : Zinio’s new approach, which copies the way iTunes disrupted the music album sales*, makes perfect sense for Zinio and for users. The question is if magazines would agree to selling their articles by piece, packaged into content packages by someone else. This would reduce magazines to being providers of content, without the larger curation, design and packaging. It remains to be seen what the magazine editors and owners think of this.For users to create their own “playlists”, Zinio would have to open up for users getting some kind or reward for doing that. Either in recognition (which would require a Spotify model, with free/advertising supported access) or monetary (if other’s have to pay for my playlists, why shouldn’t I get a cut?). Also, it will be interesting to see whether Zinio would open up to add free content from the web, which would make sense. If I’m making a playlist about “traveling to New York”, and know of a blogger that made an excellent review of a restaurant, why wouldn’t I add that to the playlist?Nonetheless, it’s very smart of Zinio to disrupt themselves. If you don’t, someone else will.* Allowing buyers to buy individual songs and parts of albums, rather the the whole album–
  3. Why Publishers Don’t Like Apps: Jason Pontin at Technology Review writes what is most likely the last weeks most read worthy (and most frequently discussed) piece about digital publishing. Essentially, it’s a story about why Technology Review failed with their app, but the arguments are applied to a wider industry. The comments are really worth reading. My key takeaways from this discussion:Technology Review chose a very expensive method. Both our solution, as well as a bunch of our competitors’ solutions could have gotten Technology Review to a better spot for 15-20% of the original cost.Apple’s share, 30% of the fee, is pointed out as being very high. In fact, it’s low compared to the fee of traditional distribution methods like newsstands and paper boys that are 40%-50%.There’s a huge difference between an app and an app. You have PDF replicas, you have packaged web content, recycled content, you have native apps. What you should do depends on your target audience, your current production process and what your want your future to be. The wrong app targeted to the wrong crowd will never succeed.Even if you have the right app for your audience, you can’t just launch an app and think you’ll succeed, even if you’re a big traditional publisher. You need a strategy to promote it.Not only are the comments on the original blog post worth reading, here’s a bunch of stuff well worth reading that is written as a response:
  4. How some alt-weeklies are innovating their way out of a crisis: Digital is disrupting a lot of business models, and publishing is no exception. Changing and adapting, finding new income streams is key. Here’s an interesting read about how some alt-weeklies innovated their way out. Simply creating a digital replica isn’t an option for many publishers, and here’s an example of an app that provides more value to the users, as well as an extended service offer.–
  5. iPad advertising: pockets of innovation: Rob O’Regan does a round up of iPad advertising. The presentation with 10 insights for Magazine Tablet Advertising is a great one, don’t miss it! Related: this Thursday, we’re hosting a free webinar about advertising in iPad magazines.–
  6. Magazines Get Serious About Ecommerce: An interesting read about how Time Out New York and Elle Magazineare incorporating e-commerce into the magazine experience. One thing that isn’t mentioned here is that it’s also a service to the readers. I think it’s possible to maintain integrity and have affiliate links (however, I think it’s harder to maintain integrity and have links to your own shop). The problem you’re faced with in digital is also the international aspect: if you’re aiming for an international crowd, having links that only ship to US addresses isn’t very reader friendly. Either way, this is definitely something that will grow.–
  7. New SFMOMA iPad App Tells Story of a Year: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art publish their annual report as an iPad app, full with rich content not available in the PDF version. Here’s a link to their app in Appstore. The app is of course created with our software.–
  8. HTML5 champion The Financial Times gets ready to ditch iOS app | TabTimes: Financial Times are moving from native iOS apps to HTML5. This is interesting, and for many publishers this is a good idea. If you only need to make your web page a bit more iPad/iPhone friendly, this is the way to go. However, there are native things you can do on the iPad that cannot be done with HTML5 apps. Like layers.This means that some of the things iPad users are used to will work differently in an HTML5 app. I’ll create a video in the near future showing the difference.–
  9. Mag+ CEO Gregg Hano: The keys to tablet magazine publishing success | TabTimes: Tabtimes interview Gregg Hano, the new CEO of Mag+ about successful digital publishing. Among other things, Gregg addresses the assumption “It seems inevitable that publishers will have to derive the majority of their revenues from advertising, just as they have in print.” (Hint: Gregg doesn’t agree)–
  10. MediaPost Publications Print Captures Local Eyes, But Digital Gaining Ground 04/26/2012: Some research about news consumption in print, desktop/laptops, smartphones and tablets. Tablets are still low, but digital consumption over all is not far behind print.Today, it’s a lot easier to monetize tablet content that appeals to a wide national or even international crowd. As numbers of tablets increase, this will change