April 7, 2015 Last Updated 11:37 am

First look: three new business digital-only magazines

WOD Talk releases its second digital magazine app, this one targeted at fitness gym owners and coaches – this one using the Mag+ digital publishing platform

The Newsstand is filled with thousands of titles, and once the reader exits the home page they can quickly feel like the have entered a foreign land. Not only is it hard find what you want, it is hard to browse for something new. Apple doesn’t make it easy, but neither do many publishers and the vendors they use to build their digital magazines.

Three new digital magazines launching into the Business & Investing category of the Apple Newsstand offer good examples of what can go wrong with publishing a new digital magazine.

OwnersCoaches-coverOwners & Coaches is the second digital magazine launched by WOD Talk (which stands for Workout of the Day), and of the three new titles examined here, is probably the best. (The new title is also available in the Google Play store here.)

Owners & Coaches uses the Mag+ digital publishing platform to produce a free digital magazine which targets fitness gym owners and coaches. One might think of it as the B2B magazine from WOD Talk, versus its consumer magazine – called WOD Talk – which is targeted at consumers.

The two digital magazines couldn’t be more different: not only is Owners & Coaches free to access, but is a native digital edition. WOD Talk, on the other hand, costs readers $14.99 to subscribe, and is a replica edition produced by PixelMags.

The design of the digital magazine is simple, and built for easy reading. One need not struggle to read this new publication.

The magazine’s publisher is Metcon Media, out of Brea, California. I am not familiar with the company, but they do (at least) include a staff box with full contact information inside the digital magazine – something, I am afraid, many other digital publishers do not do.

RSE-cover-smIDEAS RSE is a digital magazine from Mexico, and appears to have been published for Responsabilidad Social Empresarial.

The free magazine is very well done, though it is let down by its cover. I hesitated to load the animated GIF of the cover, seen at left, as it is not indicative of the rest of the magazine, but I hope they fix the obvious bug and thought the best way to inform them of it was to show what I see. (Tap the image to pull up the GIF, but be warned, its a large file.)

The digital magazine is one of those that features lots of moving parts – from pulsating arrows, to text and graphics that move into the page upon opening. Frankly, there is too much of this, as it really doesn’t serve much purpose, but it is well done.

The navigation of the app is nice, but I think the app needs a better library page. This is where the publisher gets to sell themselves (and is one of the areas I really think our own magazine, App Publisher, could be improved). For a free magazine, like IDEAS RSE, this might not be that important, but it certainly is for paid titles. Getting downloads of a Newsstand app is one challenge, getting paid subscriptions once an app has been downloaded and installed is still another.

SEI-coverThe third new title I looked at… I didn’t really look at.

Sales Expert Insights comes from who-knows-where and is published by I-have-no-clue. It is like hundreds of other digital magazines that have been launched into the Apple Newsstand: anonymous titles that ask the reader to trust them to first download the app, then pay for an issue, or even subscribe.

Like so many of these kinds of digital magazines, it appears under the name of the digital publishing platform used, and the app description links back to the platform, not the publisher.

For other digital publishers, I think app like this provide a good way to see if they are coming across the same way: are they selling their title properly in the app description? are they answering basic questions like who is behind this magazine? why should I buy it? what can I expect?

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