June 24, 2015 Last Updated 9:22 am

New digital magazines: Bohemian Bar launched in English and Russian editions

First look: SBI Magazine, The Fridge Foundation magazines, launched into the Apple Newsstand, and sometimes the Google Play newsstand, as well

There continues to be a strong demand from both would-be magazine publishers and corporate brands for new digital magazine launches. Despite word that Apple will be discontinuing the Newsstand, too many projects are already under way to stop the flow of new titles. Likely we will see new digital magazines launched into the Newsstand right through Labor Day, though developers shouldn’t be surprised if the Apple App Store team warns some publishers of the upcoming change as the summer wears on (shouldn’t they say something now?).

BB-1TNM looked at four new digital magazines launched over the past week or so and by far the best of the bunch comes from the publishing team of Jan Becher and Karlovarská Becherovka. Bohemian Bar is a new digital magazine that comes in two editions: one in English, the other Russian.

The new Newsstand apps use the CoverPage digital publishing platform to produce a very readable, inventive digital magazine. The digital magazine is designed to be read in portrait, but the app also allows for landscape reading, as well. (CoverPage is included in TNM’s Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms.)

The app is universal and the premiere issue is free to access. It would have been nice if the publishers had included more screenshots in the app description, it might encourage downloads.

Although the two editions Bohemian Bar magazine are new to the Apple Newsstand, they have been inside Google Play since March (English edition, Russian edition).

FF-iPadAnother magazine that comes in different language editions comes from The Fridge Foundation, an Italian organization with a unique mission statement: “We aim to promote a real “fridge culture” by showcasing different stories from around the world.”

“We believe that food is a culture in our society: it offers the ideal medium for people from diverse backgrounds to learn about each other and share experiences,” writes Alessandro Boperic of The Food Foundation. “Through food people can experience new sensations and practices that stem from a need or desire to make it their own: from how it is acquired and its role to how we eat it. We aim to promote a real “fridge culture” by showcasing different stories from around the world. By showcasing photographs of fridges not only can we learn more about how to use them and store food, but we can also share other people’s culinary customs, lifestyles, and individual diets whatever they may be.”

Unlike Bohemian Bar, however, The Fridge Foundation has not launched multiple apps, but instead just one app where the Italian and Engish editions of its magazine can be found (Issue #2 is also available in French).

Because of this, it gets a little confusing in the app’s library page, or “Fridge Shelf” as it is called. There is an issue labeled “numero 0” available in Italian, then three subsequent issues available in both Italian and English, and finally there is that single issue that can also be found in French. And while the article text may be in different languages based on different editions, the advertising is Italian.

The publisher has likely used Issuu to produce the Newsstand app as a search online turned up some flipbooks from two years ago through Issuu. (Issuu is also inside TNM’s Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms.)

So these magazines appear to actually be quite old, though the app is new. Maybe getting a new lease on life through digital versions will spur the creation of new issues.

SBI-iPadSales Benchmark Index has released a digital edition for their company magazine, SBI Magazine. The digital edition app was released into the Apple Newsstand originally in late February and updated soon thereafter.

The print and digital magazines will be available quarterly, and are free to access.

The app has been sitting in my Newsstand folder for a while, obviously. It presents readers with what might be called a dumb replica, as opposed to an enhanced replica. Many replica editions today come with at least some feature that aids reading the digital issues: links from the table of contents to the stories, links inside ads or features, embedded or linked to videos, two-across pages in landscape.

This offers none of these features. On top of that, the PDF pages are not very crisp, though they are not unreadable.

The reason to produce an app like this one, of course, is to try and increase the distribution of the print magazines. Some digital publishing platforms, such as Mag+ and others, are targeting corporate communication departments in hopes of convincing them to invest in native digital publication apps. I would think that while the number of leads would be greater than targeting publishers – after all, there are thousands of businesses that could use their services – actually convincing those businesses to invest in a native digital edition might be as hard and frustrating as convincing traditional publishers to produce native digital editions.

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