November 22, 2013 Last Updated 1:50 pm

B2B: round-up of new trade publication tablet editions

Several trade publishers opt for native tablet solutions for their Newsstand apps

The release of our own B2B digital magazine* is as good a time as any to revisit the B2B category to see what new tablet editions have arrived. Unlike the consumer side of the industry, that has been busy launching Newsstand apps, the B2B side has lagged behind. That may be changing.

Oncology-iPad-lgUnlike most of the other categories inside the Newsstand, the Professional & Trade category is one where it is easy to find brand new app efforts. In the other categories, so many already released apps are being updated, and therefore move up to the front of the line when the category is sorted by release date, the B2B category often features more easily found new apps.

Of the new apps, Language Magazine is one of the few that is charging for its issues. The app uses the PressPad solution, and as is common for that platform, the app appears under the vendor’s name.

Oncology Fellows comers from Intellisphere LLC, which unlike many of the other publishers who have launched new apps, is not a first time publisher of a tablet edition. The company has 12 apps for the iPad, though this new one is the fourth to be launched into the Newsstand.

The app at first looks like it could be a dull replica edition, based on the fact that it is for both the iPhone and iPad and the screenshots used in the app description are identical. But this is not the case. The app uses the Mag+ platform and so produces easier to read, native layouts. The app only uses the portrait orientation, and that makes sense since this will work better for the iPhone.

A new magazine launch, Insurance Lawyer Magazine, comes from Canada – from the Demi Group. The new magazine will have a circulation of 2,260 (in print, one assumes) and this Newsstand app is the replica of that premiere issue.

“Insurance Lawyer magazine is a bi-monthly publication, and is Ontario’s only magazine dedicated exclusively for lawyers practicing in the field of Insurance Law,” the app description says.

Entracte-iPad-lgOne of the more interesting of the new B2B tablet editions is Entracte, also from Canada. The tablet edition is designed in landscape and uses the Adobe DPS to build its Newsstand app and issues.

The app description is way too short, though it is possible the publisher realized that their audience was so small that you either got what the magazine is about, or you don’t.

The magazine comes from the Chambre des notaires du Québec – so, yes, it is a small audience. But the digital issue is the most attractive of the bunch, even though the layouts are pretty much identical to one another.

Like the other apps, other than Language Magazine, the app and the issues inside are free of charge to access. As I’ve written before, qualified circulation trade magazines have a tough choice to make when launching their tablet editions. A qualified circulation magazine, of course, only goes to those readers that are qualified to receive – meaning that they are known to be part of the industry. Then they receive the magazine for free. B2B publishers want to prove they reaching those readers that have the authority to buy, specify or recommend goods and services. To keep their costs down, they don’t waste money printing and delivering magazines to unqualified readers.

But the Apple Newsstand has no qualification mechanism – in my opinion, leaving an enormous opportunity for Google and Amazon, should they wake up to it. So a publisher has a choice: launch their app and let everyone download it for free, or else charge for the issues. Few choose to charge (we did).

Back in 2010, Apple’s developer guidelines stated that you could not charge for a digital edition if you were giving away the print edition. Well, actually, it didn’t say it quite that way. But the impression was that you probably could not get away with charging. But any publisher who creates a native tablet edition today probably will be able to get their app through the review process without a rejection – and even if it was initially rejected one could argue on appeal that the tablet edition is different enough from the print edition to justify charging. Nonetheless, most publishers go free.

* Tablet Publishing – Winter 2013

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