February 4, 2014 Last Updated 4:59 pm

Newly released newsstand app for ‘foot fault magazine’ delivers disappointing digital edition

The other day I had a conversation with the publisher of a rather famous print magazine who also has a rather wonderful digital edition. We traded stories about looking for good examples of tablet editions, and how often one of us would download a new app and, with feelings of anticipation, look forward to a new, brilliant digital magazine… only to be disappointed in what we ended up seeing.

I said that Newsstand apps are a lot like baseball: there is as much losing as winning. He said that digital editions were like looking for love, there is more disappointment and betrayal than happy endings. We both agreed not to explore that particular analogy much further. (!)

FootFault-iPad-lgBut readers who look for content within the Apple Newsstand know what a crap shoot it can be. For every exciting, new, creative vision of the tablet (or mobile) platform, there is the app that ends up delivering a disappointing magazine.

The problem is not native versus replica edition – we could have that conversation all day – but about what an app promises, but often does not deliver. Many publishers seem to work harder writing their app descriptions and selecting screenshots, then they do creating their tablet magazine.

I felt this way about this new Newsstand title from Argentina, foot fault magazine. The app description looks like it might deliver something that is missing from the sports category, new thinking about what a sports magazine can deliver on a tablet.

That is not to say that there aren’t a number of good tablet editions in the category, but even Apple seems to have gotten bored. The category, as seen in iTunes, has no carousel at the top promoting publications, and the “New” section has one magazine selected, then simply starts listing the others in alphabetical order. Many of the titles seen in the “What’s Hot” section are replica editions, some readable, others not.

Sadly, the sports category is not one of the better ones to be found in the Newsstand. So a new tennis magazine, one designed in landscape, looked like a winner.

But once the app is opened one is presented with a flipbook, a digital replica that is actually worse than those replicas made using PDFs. This one presents the pages at the wrong size no matter whether the iPad is turned to portrait or landscape.

Oh well, another bad app. There is always tomorrow, and the promise of finding a winner. Or love, I guess.

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