A last app update for American Photo as magazine ends its run
Subscribers to the digital edition are informed in the app’s library that they will receive two issues of Popular Photography for every one issue left on their subscription
The app for Bonnier’s American Photo was updated last night. Whereas many of the updates being released this week are to add in Apple Watch support, this update – sadly – was to change the app’s library to prevent new subscriptions. The magazine, you see, has been shuttered.
The app’s library also informs readers, telling them that readers who are current digital subscribers to American Photo will now receive 2 issues of Popular Photography for every 1 issue remaining on their subscription. Those issues of PopPhoto, the publisher states, will be delivered within the existing American Photo app.
The reason for this, of course, is that Apple has never really made it easy for magazine publishers to deal with their digital subscribers. Apple keeps the customer information, and so the publisher can not contact their readers directly. It is probably OK that Apple keeps the information for themselves; but is not OK that they did not spend more time thinking things through, understanding that publishers would need to to communicate with their readers occasionally, change price structures without losing subscribers, etc. It is also not OK that the association that represents many publishers has not made it a priority to get Apple to improve the Newsstand and add features that benefit Apple’s publishing partners.
American Photo has been part of Bonnier’s tech group, along with Popular Science, Popular Photography and Sound + Vision. Bonnier acquired the title when it picked up five titles from Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. in 2009 – picking up Flying, Boating, in addition to Popular Photography, Sound & Vision and American Photo. At the time of its acquisition, American Photo had a circulation of around 180,000, but circulation fell to around 150,000 by the end of 2011, and the magazine’s latest publisher’s statement claims only 104,108, with a rate base down to 100K.
But the magazine has been able to sell 14,696 digital subscriptions, accounting for over 14 percent of total readership. Most of the Bonnier tech titles were among the first magazines to have digital editions launched into the Apple App Store (then Newsstand), with PopSci in the App Store on the iPad’s launch date in April of 2010. The other titles soon followed. The oldest version of American Photo’s app dates from January 2012.
Each of those tech group apps were built using Bonnier’s own Mag+ digital publishing platform. Recently, however, Bonnier’s U.S. magazine switched over to the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, likely because some of the titles are now appearing in Next Issue’s digital newsstand service. The move has been met with mostly negative reviews inside iTunes as subscribers notice that the back issues are now PDF replicas.
“After the update the old versions of the Magazines were PDF scans of the paper editions. I pay extra to HAVE the digital edition, the digital scans are unreadable on the iPad. I was behind by several issues and am really upset about losing the real digital versions,” one reader wrote about the update for PopSci. “Thankfully it does look like the NEW editions are back to normal. If they had stopped making the digital edition I literally would have canceled my subscription to both the digital and paper versions.”