April 30, 2014 Last Updated 11:49 am

Update: New Internationalist builds Newsstand app for Australian edition in-house

It is rare that I get a chance to update a story on a new digital magazine app immediately. Normally I receive feedback days or weeks later, and by then it is best to wait for an excuse like an app update to add new information.

NIAus-iPad-tocBut yesterday, in the post on new titles inside the Apple Newsstand’s “News & Politics” category, I led with a look at New Internationalist Magazine Australia. Immediately I heard back from Brian Loffler, a member of the New Internationalist Co-op in Adelaide, Australia providing me with some additional information. An exchange of emails provided more information on the new Newsstand app and I thought TNM readers would be interested in the details.

To recap the basics: New Internationalist Magazine Australia is a universal app inside the News & Politics category of the Apple Newsstand. I do not see a similar app inside the Google Play store.

The New Internationalist concerns itself with global justice issues and is financed through subscriber support. To help finance a new digital edition, the Australian magazine initiated a funding effort through StartSomeGood.com. Although the initiative did not reach its goal, it did reach its “tipping point” (unlike Kickstarter, on StartSomeGood.com you create two goals – the first is the minimum needed to get started, the second is full funding; if you reach the first goal, the tipping point, the funding effort is considered live and is funded).

“Like all print publications, we’ve been battling through the transition to a viable print + digital future,” Loffler told TNM. “Initially we outsourced our digital edition to a PDF-based system. But obviously that was an unsatisfactory stop-gap.”

simon_loffler-sm“So we decided to build a complete digital content subscription system in-house, using the skills of our designer/developer Simon Loffler (see at left).”

The first step towards the new app was building a new responsive website for the magazine.

“That provides us with a complete platform for people who want just digital or a digital + print bundle. It also enables us to provide Institutional subscriptions so that all students and teachers on a campus have access on any device with a browser (including IP-authenticated access),” Loffler wrote.

“The obvious next step was to build an iOS-specific App. We built that using the same underlying content management and subscription management system as for the online App. In this way subscribers to the online digital edition automatically have access to the NewsStand edition, and have a familiar interface.”

The new app allows for deep search, indexing links, article sharing and offline reading.

The format of the digital edition, is similar to what is being seen on the newspaper side of things through PressReader and may be what Zinio plans on doing with its new platform capabilities created by its acquisition of Audience Media. Rather than designing a native tablet edition using Adobe DPS, Mag+ or some other platform, the digital product takes the editorial content and reformats it into a look more similar to the web, but one that works well on both tablets and smartphones. That makes one wonder if it might be possible to incorporate a tablet look that more mimics print and its ability to do complex layouts, and also this web-like experience that works well on smartphones?

I’d like to thank Brian Loffler for adding new information on their new Newsstand app and wish them the best of luck in finding their audience with the effort.

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