January 21, 2014 Last Updated 12:50 pm

Toronto Life launches native tablet edition of city magazine

There is a bit of common wisdom that goes like this: for national magazines with large circulations it may pay to design a native tablet edition, but for smaller circulation magazines, like city/regional titles, it doesn’t make much sense due to costs.

But this way of thinking seems to be fading away over time as more and more publishers decide that they are better off making sure their digital readers are just as comfortable, and happy, with their digital editions as they have been with their print editions (though replicas certainly still dominate the category, especially when talking about the Android platform).

Citygram, from Left Right Media LLC, was the first city magazine that I found that built their tablet app using the Adobe DPS. But the reason for this was simply that Citygram is a tablet-only magazine (for Austin, Texas) and so was thinking digitally at launch.

Chris Perez, the publisher of Citygram, told me that he was inspired by Vanity Fair, GQ and Martha Stewart Living?

TorontoLife-ThisCity“They had the experience I wanted,” he told me in May of last year. “I definitely wanted to escape this vision of a digital magazine being a PDF export of print, and being a little hokey with animations and graphics. So I wanted to be professional – my bar (to reach) was to be those national publications on the look and feel. I wanted to be unchained from print, I want to be all digital.”

Citygram has survived the New Year and continues to publish, with readers giving the tablet magazine overwhelmingly good reviews.

(You can read the full interview with Chris Perez in the recently published eBook Talking Digital: Conversations with Publishing Executives – one of ten interviews featured in the interactive eBook.)

Now Toronto Life has launched a Newsstand app that uses the Adobe DPS, as well. Toronto Life Magazine gives readers a native tablet edition, with attractive, though not overly complex layouts. The typography works great on the iPad, and the app edition uses the now common navigation of scrolling within stories, and swiping to advance to the next (it is hard to believe that some very good tech writers wondered why this was the design approach being taken by tab mags).

Toronto Life is charging $15.99 for an annual subscription, and $2.99 for a monthly subscription. Individual issues are priced at $5.99 – but readers can sample the magazine by subscribing and getting an issue free. There is also a preview of the latest issue inside the app.

It is hard to say when all city/regional magazines will eventually go native in their design – there is, after all, still the issue of advertising – but I think we will continue to see them go in this direction.

  • Scott 4 years ago

    I believe it will be the way forward. People still like print but see them being more limited or special editions.