One Small World, Changeboard, Press Perspectives shows there’s not just one way to create a digital edition for the Newsstand
Three new apps take different approaches to the Apple Newsstand: paid app with free issues, a native digital edition of a print magazine, and a replica edition of a print newsletter
The Apple Newsstand was certainly conceived as a place where a print publisher would launch a free app and then charge for accessing the digital editions found inside the app. But quickly developers realized that there was no requirement for a print magazine (or newspaper) to exist, and so began producing digital-only Newsstand apps. Rarely, very rarely, would a digital publisher actually charge for the app – there is no rule against it, but paid apps account for around 2.4 percent of all Newsstand apps available.
As the week end, a whole series of new apps have been released into the Newsstand that take very different approaches to what a publisher might do with their digital editions.
One Small World from Joe Arredondo, an artist and graphic designer from Toluca, México, who takes the Newsstand approach and turns it on its head. Rather than a free app with paid issues inside, this app costs $2.99 and the issues inside are free.
Arredondo’s approach is to use the Newsstand to distribute eBooks rather than digital magazines. The app currently contains two such books: One Small World and Windmill Tale. As you would expect from someone who is trying to create eBooks via the Newsstand, the resulting “issues” are definitely “native” – that is, strictly created as a digital product, and though the app description only mentions the iPad, the app works on the iPhone, as well.
“This series of interactive iPad books we will feature the art and poetry of many artist that want to turn their art into words and drawings,” the app descriptions states. “Every month one artist will provide us with the vision of its personal world and a nice view of its art, its feelings in a multimedia canvas.”
One Small World is one of two apps that Arredondo has launched into the Newsstand. The other, Impossible Machines, was launched in November of last year and takes a similar approach. But with that project, Arredondo also launched a stand-alone app called Impossible Machines Lite which costs $0.99 and just gives a preview of the full Newsstand app.
To build the iOS apps, Arredondo is using the Baker Framework which he says is “very flexible and allows me to use my expertise in HTML5 to create my magazines, as well stand-alone apps. It’s open source and has a very active community of developers.” Arredondo used the solution to create a Newsstand app for a local client, Revista Autoexplora, which is a more traditional looking Newsstand magazine app.
Changeboard is a new native digital edition from London-based HR community website. This new Newsstand app is built using the Mag+ platform (at least, I think it is) and works for both the iPhone and iPad. In fact, its app icon looks like it is from the iPhone, thinner than most magazine icons, something I am seeing more and more.
Maybe this was done to differentiate the app from the existing replica edition app inside the Newsstand from PageSuite.
The magazine is also available in print form, as well as online when the reader agrees to provide their email address.
The new digital edition offers its issues free of charge and gives the reader a very well done digital edition – one that is easy to read, has simple but effective layouts, and only take ups up a minimum amount of space on your iOS device.
The issue I downloaded came in at only 47 MB in size.
Press Perspectives, from David Pilcher, the owner and president of Freeport Press Inc., takes a more common approach to the Apple Newsstand. This new app is a replica edition of the company’s weekly newsletter, and uses the MagLoft platform to create its app and digital editions.
“We are super excited to be working with FreeportPress and are planning to do more magazines for their clients,” Nick Martin of MagLoft told TNM.
Freeport Press is a company that is in the business of producing high-quality, short-run niche publications and catalogs, and so that their app would reproduce their print product should be no surprise. There is also the issue of producing a digital product on a weekly basis.
“The Freeport Press Weekly Newsletter “Press Perspectives” brings highlights of online posts each week to your digital device,” the app description states. “Subscribing to this weekly newsletter makes it effortless to stay up on the latest information, ideas and expert advice that can help you navigate today’s print environment and chart a course into the future.”
Note: all the digital publishing platforms mentioned in this post – Baker Framework, Mag+, PageSuite and MagLofty – have entries inside the second edition of the Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms, available as an interactive eBook in the Apple iBooks Store for Mac and iPad.