Two new B2B digital editions, and another look at Penton’s MeetingsNet tablet magazine
First look at a new app that uses the Readmore platform from The Netherlands, and a veterinary magazine from a Berlin-based publisher which allows for font changes
This week’s Wednesday column on digital advertising was written after my frustration ran over following unsuccessful attempts to contact several publishers about their digital edition apps. No one seemed to answer their phone, return a call or email, or even be in the office. Several times I wondered if anyone was out there working.
It was particularly strange that I could not contact any of the digital publishing vendors I wanted to speak to either. OK, TNM is not The New York Times, but really, someone out there has to be producing these magazines and apps, right?
The morning started with my usual look for new app updates released. Penton Media yesterday released an update for their Mag+ built Apple Newsstand app for MeetingsNet. The app was released about nine months ago and is a very nice hybrid edition, with the ads as they would be seen in print (except that there is no print edition) and the editorial features designed specifically for the iPad. The app also delivers an iPhone edition, which inside iTunes show that the pages are squeezed to fit the iPhone’s display – the good news is that someone simply doesn’t know how to do screenshots as the actual iPhone edition doesn’t really feature squeezed pages – though it is not very readable, in any case (readers should stick to the iPad version).
I wanted to contact the magazine to see how downloads were going, what the challenges of selling the digital magazine advertising is, especially now that the BPAs have been dropped, etc. Maybe the staff was at a meeting (right?) but when I called the editor it said her line had been disconnected, yikes.
Most B2B apps launch and never get many reader comments, the readership is simply too low compared to consumer magazines. MeetingsNet is no except, with only one read comment who complained about app “quirks” that have probably been addressed in this app update.
Like most B2B apps, this one delivers their issues free of charge and with no qualification process. It is astounding to me that after almost four and a half years, there is still no qualification process built into Apple Newsstand apps for publishers. I have spoken to Apple representatives about this in the past and only gotten “huh?”s, and when I spoke to B2B association executives about their efforts to talk to Apple about this I received a “huh?”. (Again, is anyone working out there?
I was also unable to reach the vendor behind the newly released CINZ – Conventions & Incentives New Zealand Newsstand app, Readmore, a digital publishing vendor headquartered in The Netherlands. Like many PDF-based solutions, publishers release their apps through the vendor’s own developer account. In exchange, Readmore only charges $89 per month for an iOS app, $179 if you want iOS and Android. If you don’t want an app, but only want readers of your website to be able to read the digital edition, the cost is only $17 per month.
Readmore has 17 apps appearing under their name inside the Apple App Store, most of which are found inside the Newsstand.
This particular PDF solution produces a mis-sized digital edition, with most of the pages of the publication slightly too long for the iPad’s display. It doesn’t really effect the reading experience since all that extends beyond the size of the display is the bottom quarter inch of the page, and scrolling slightly ups it up to view.
I’ve tried to reach out to Readmore in the recent past, but like many vendors they do not include an email address that goes to a real person on their website, just an “Info” at email address that I find no one ever maintains. The website also includes one of those “live chat” features that says the company is currently “offline” and the 1-800 number simply rings and rings and rings, then puts you on hold.
Yes, doing business in the magazine publishing industry is difficult and frustrating.
Things definitely brightened when I looked at the new app from Schaefermuller publishing GmbH, a Berlin based publisher, called news4vets.
The app is probably one of the most unique I’ve seen in the category, much more like an eBook experience than a digital magazine. I don’t know whether they built the app themselves or whether a vendor created it, but is unique.
The app allows the reader to change font styles, sizes, screen tone, just like an eReader. I’m not sure why the publisher would want to do this, but at least I can say that the fact I do not know is my fault as I did not reach out to the publisher due to the time of day and possible translation issues.
Like most B2B publications, this one, too, is free to download and access. My one complaint would be that the app says “herunterladen” (download) but tapping this forces you to subscribe. It’s free, of course, but that doesn’t seem like the right way to go about getting people signed up.