New digital magazines: The Doggie Magazine and Notion
Dog magazine for women takes advantage of Apple’s broken App Store, while the music and fashion magazine Notion provides readers with a native digital magazine experience
The Newsstand is dead, long live the Newsstand. What has replaced it is… well, nothing really. With iOS 9 the Newsstand became a mere folder, and any new apps a reader downloads from the Magazines & Newspapers category no longer go into that folder by default. That likely means a lot of digital edition apps will be forgotten about.
As for the Apple News app that was supposed to be the answer to publisher’s needs to drive readership, that seems to have been launched and pretty much forgotten about, as well. Apple News launched with a couple media partners who were granted access to the Apple News Format in order to customize their content, but everyone else (including TNM) were merely promised that the News Format would be “coming soon” and by now I think it is fair to say that we have all just moved on. Apple is clearly not serious about Apple News, just as it wasn’t serious about the Newsstand.
Need proof? Just look at the “new” Magazines & Newspapers category. The App Store team has left it broken, just as the Newsstand was, with the subcategories unmaintained.
As a result, the few new digital magazines now being released into the Apple App Store have caught on to the games that need to be played.
One new title, The Doggie Magazine, billed on its website as “the first dog magazine in the world dedicated exclusively to women” has launched its app as A Doggie Magazine. Why? Because with Eddy Cue’s team no longer interested in maintaining the App Store all the magazines seen under “New” in the Pets category are listed in alphabetical order, and have been that way for two years now. So, by naming your magazine “A …” you get listed up front and have a better chance to attract downloads.
The screenshot of the category above shows what the results are: one developer has flooded the category with “magazines” including one that obviously was supposed to end up in Travel but now starts off the Pets category (maybe it is a travel magazine for pets).
As for The Doggie Magazine, its app uses the MagCast platform, which means it is PDF based. But as most MagCast magazines are from self-publishers, it means that the page sizes were built using iPad specs, so most of these digital magazines are a little easier to read than your standard replica edition from, say, Meredith. Proving, as if it were necessary, that it is still possible to build a decent digital magazine without spending a fortune if you are actually committed to publishing something your readers can actually read.
Another new title that has entered the Magazines & Newspaper category is Notion, a London-based quarterly that says it is “reporting from the front lines of music and fashion culture.” The magazine was founded by its editor-in-chief, Billy Hussein, in 2004, and its app description says it “is back” – which means that either it suspended publishing, or the app is a new app.
The one issue to be found in the new app features Lindsay Lohan on the cover, though what the actress has to do with either music or fashion is beyond my understanding.
The app itself looks like I might have edited the copy for it – and that is not good. The subscribe button reads “Suscribe” and the last story in the TOC reads “Beaty” (instead of Beauty). I’ve had plenty of days like that, as loyal TNM readers know.
But the digital magazine itself is native and enjoyable to read, and well worth checking out.
Designed to be read in portrait, the digital magazine works just fine in landscape should you prefer to hold your tablet in that orientation. That is rare these days as dual orientation publications usually are rather large. The first issue of Notion comes in at 92.7 MB, which is fairly modest for a native digital magazine.