Stipla: a newly launched interactive magazine 'for storytellers, adventurers and explorers everywhere'
The Apple Newsstand, and the App Store, remains an interesting outlet for self-expression through the creation of digital magazines. Whether it is a place to produce commercially viable new titles, however, is an open question as – for every The Magazine or TRVL there are literally hundreds of other titles that simply are lost in the Newsstand if they receive no support from Apple. Many are excellent, and I’d go so far as to say that many are much better than those chosen by Apple for stardom.
But if riches are not your goal, then have at it. And don’t feel obligated to publish on the same cycle as that of the major consumer brands. Why not publish bi-monthly, or bi-annually?
This is that approach being taken by STIPLA, a new literary magazine launched this week into the Newsstand.
“Stipla is a new interactive iPad magazine for storytellers, adventurers and explorers everywhere,” reads the app desciption. “We tell quality stories about people and places from across the world and we bring those stories to life using interactive technology.”
Stipla is to be published twice a year, so an annual subscription costs £3.99 ($5.99) with single issues priced at £1.99 ($2.99). With only two issues appearing in a year the reader is expecting a lot from every issue and the very first issue inside the weighs in at 916 MB (though the download is reasonably fast).
Before getting into the magazine itself, I should say that the publisher – which is the team of Simon Kreitem, Anne Holloway and Danny Sturgess – has done a nice job of creating a support website and press material. The website will not attract tons of traffic as it is strictly about the digital magazine, though there is a blog. But any reader wanting to know more about the digital magazine can get there through the app description link and learn all they want about the new publication.
In fact, one of the coolest features of the website is the inclusion of an issue map which instantly shows you who the digital magazine is laid out (here is the PDF, hopefully the publishing team won’t mind me offering it here).
The premiere issue opens up to a very simple “cover”, probably a very wise choice considering how large the rest of the issue will be. The publisher has put its file weight into articles themselves: an eclectic mix of feature stories, all designed specifically for the iPad.
“We set out to create a magazine that didn’t begin with who the audience was or where it sat on the magazine rack,” reads the opening editorial. “We wanted to simply tell stories that you reveal through your own interactions. Stories that you might have other-wised glanced over, you reach our to-touch, hear, move, open and enter in.”
There is no reason to go through all the stories here – in fact, I have yet to read the entire issue – but there is enough material here for the read to linger over for quite some time.
A decade or more ago there was a bit of a trend where new literary magazine launches occurred. The fat issues were priced at $10.99 or higher and many readers eagerly snapped them up. The digital magazine environment is far more brutal for start-ups as readers are very price sensitive (we can’t even get the companies inside our Tablet Publishing to buy the app to see their listings in the Guide, they want promo codes instead). So the pricing choice here is probably wise, but it is hard to see how a new digital start-up can make it at these pricing levels. TNM certainly wishes Stipla all the luck in the world as their new digital magazine is worth every penny it charges, and much more.