November 8, 2013 Last Updated 11:38 am

The Newsstand: Digital-only baking mags struggle with discoverability and technology

Getting noticed inside digital newsstands are hard enough, but for self-publishers – and many small to medium-sized – technology can be difficult to deal with, as well. That is why there are so many companies, and new ones all the time, that specialize in helping individuals create their own digital magazines.

It would be interesting to see exactly how many of these new titles make it past one year. The excitement of building a first issue soon turns into the drudgery of creating the third or fourth issue – and all without much pay, and definitely without a production staff.

Baker-iPad-lgTwo baking magazines have recently been updated due to software changes, both from self-publishers.

The Confident Baker is another new effort that is using the MagCast platform. The app’s real name is The Confident Baker Magazine with Recipes for Desserts and Bread, which is not only more descriptive, but save’s the shortened name for later use.

The app appears under the developer account name of Heavenly Juice Inc, and also lists Apron Media – MagCast apps generally appear under the publisher’s name. Supporting the website is a WordPress website that promotes the app, but also, occasionally, has some blog posts. Without getting any love from Apple, and without a big audience that can be informed of the app, selling issues and subscriptions is difficult. But at least there is some support through a working website.

The other title that received an update was Cake. Magazine. That period in the middle of the name is more than a bit odd – I assumed it was done this way to avoid a conflict with another magazine. But a search of the App Store does not come up with anything, and the fact that on the cover the word has an exclamation mark, Cake!, lends one to think that maybe this was done in error.

Cake-iPad-lgWhy? Because the app itself has an odd error in it. The app, when opened, goes to a nice landscape splash screen. Then it goes to the store, which is typical, except that on my iPad the screen is upside down. Normally this occurs when there is something wrong with the iPad, a simple shake and the screen flips back to where it belongs – not this app, the screen is stuck in one orientation, without any chance shifting back into position.

For a cooking app, this might not be a bad thing, some food apps are designed to be in landscape so that they can sit on the countertop and the reader can use the publication while cooking. But those apps generally don’t lock themselves in such a way that one can’t turn the iPad for easier viewing.

This app also is strange in that there are only three reviews inside the Australian App Store (none elsewhere). The first is negative, the next two are five-star reviews, but come from users with no other reviews, always a bit odd.

The Newsstand app appears under the Peach Tea Design Pty Ltd developer account name, with this being the only app – not unusual, but a search of the web reveals no supporting website for the company, though there is one for the magazine where the Peach Tea name appears at the bottom, as does a message that “Cake Magazine is not affiliated with the Australian Cake Decorating Network. Then doing a search for “Australian Cake Decorating Network” leads to a site that features the cover of this magazine on its front. That site then proceeded to kill by browser (which is why I have provided no links). All very strange.

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