August 20, 2015 Last Updated 9:16 am

New magazine from Miguel Torres: Winepaper breaks some rules, which is both good and bad

Spanish winemaker Miguel Torres S.A. takes the contents from its Club Torres blog and reformats it into an attractive digital magazine, though one that is a slow download

There are some unwritten rules about digital magazines that most publishers, including brands, follow. One, Newsstand apps should be free, while the magazine issues inside the app can be either free of charge or require a subscription or single issue charge. Two, you don’t tell readers how to get the magazine free and avoid paying Apple.

Torres Winepaper, the new brand magazine from the Spanish wine producer Miguel Torres S.A., breaks these rules, plus a few more. The new digital magazine takes the content from the Club Torres blog and reformats into a digital magazine – a great idea for any brand, but also a great idea for any publisher, as well.

WinepaperThe app costs $1.99, which makes if a rarity: a paid app inside the Newsstand. There are only a couple dozen paid apps to be found, usually self-published digital magazines that use revenue-share platforms. Why is there a cost for the magazine? Maybe because it involves alcohol? But there are other wine magazines that have free apps, but then charge for the issues, so maybe not. Maybe it is because Torres mentions in the app description that the app is free to members of the Club Torres. This would be fine, except they then include a link to the site where they can sign up. This has been considered against policy by Apple in the past, but a lot of little rules publishers thought Apple had have gone away over the years.

One rule that publishers assume Apple will enforce is that an app cannot prequalify a reader. This would be important to a B2B magazine using controlled, qualified circulation. If you are not a plumber you can’t access a plumbing magazine, things like that. But I have seen at least one European B2B magazine use a pre-qualification mechanism in their app and wondered by other B2B publishers haven’t followed suit.

So far, any rules Torres Winepaper may be breaking work in their favor. One that doesn’t is the rule that an issue should download within a minute or two – no one likes to wait around while their magazine takes is sweet time downloading. Unfortunately, it took over 20 minutes, on a very fast connection, to download the 326MB first issue of this digital magazine. Far too long.

Once the issue has downloaded one is presented with a native digital edition, designed in landscape. Landscape magazines are in the minority, but early on many designers saw the advantage of designing in landscape and went ahead and used the orientation. But in this day of horrible replica editions, new landscape magazines are rare.

Rarer still is the use of landscape for iPhone editions, which this app offers. With smartphones, including the iPhone, available in larger models, this might not be such a bad idea. The recent launch of iOS 8.4 brought interactive iBooks to the iPhone so eBooks created with iBooks Author now can be read on the device, these are usually in landscape without the portrait option.

Another unwritten rule Torres Winepaper violates is that if your app description is in English the assumption is that the magazine will be, too. No such luck, its in Spanish. It would have been nice to know this before I bought the damn magazine, not afterwards! The language part of the app description lists every language on the planet, something that is common as most developers don’t really understand what that area is really for. (Making it worse, some of the ads are in English. Is it possible that there are supposed to be multiple language editions but they haven’t gotten around to making them live yet?)

Ultimately this is a very frustrating new digital magazine, but if the publisher can improve the download times, let readers know what they can expect regarding the language, this has a lot of potential. The article designs are nice, and I like the choice of landscape.

  • Nadya Tsech 3 years ago

    The post’s header made me buy an app!