November 10, 2014 Last Updated 8:54 am

The Association Française d’Astronomie releases new English edition of Ciel et Espace using the Aquafadas platform

New interactive digital edition, First Light Magazine, is designed in landscape, and is available inside the Apple Newsstand, Google Play and through Amazon

The Association Française d’Astronomie last week released a new English language edition of its magazine Ciel et Espace into the Apple Newsstand, Google Play and Amazon. French readers have a reason to be jealous as the new digital magazine is a native digital edition.

FirstLight-frontWhile U.S. readers will notice a few, very minor translation (style, really) issues with the English language edition, First Light Magazine is still miles ahead of its French equivalent.

Design in landscape, First Light Magazine features native tablet page designs that take advantage of what the tablet publishing platform can produce – animation, pop-up captions, and the like.

In contrast, the digital edition of Ciel et Espace is a replica edition.

The new digital edition is built using the Aquafadas digital publishing platform. Aquafadas, headquartered in Montpellier, France, and is owned by the same company that owns the eReader company Kobo, the Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten.

FL-2The new English digital edition credits David Fossé as project manager for the new app, with Thomas Clegg as translator. The editor of Ciel et Espace is Philippe Henarejos who has also written the book Guide to the Night Sky.

First Light Magazine will cost readers $3.99 per issue, or readers can subscription for $15.99 a year (6 issues).

It should be mentioned that the app is universal, meaning that readers can access it on their iPhone or iPod touch, but the design is definitely all about the tablet.

Will this new English edition lead to a redesigned digital edition for Ciel et Espace? In the past, many observers have said that US and UK readers are more eager for native tablet editions while those on the continent want replicas. I think there is little evidence that this is accurate and the Apple Newsstand is still dominated by replicas. I think it is true that the large U.S. publishers have been more progressive in building digital editions that feature reformatted editorial pages for digital devices. But as time goes by, many of the most interesting new digital magazines have come from outside the U.S. and U.K.

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