January 13, 2016 Last Updated 11:35 am

Magazine RICARDO (or if you will, RICARDO Magazine) from the Canadian radio and TV chef

First look: Ricardo Media’s new digital edition apps for the French and English language versions of the cooking magazine from chef Ricardo Larrivée, known simply as ‘Ricardo’

In the early days of TNM much of my time was taken up roaming the Apple App Store in search of new digital publication apps. The launch of the Newsstand at first made this easy, but Apple’s App Store team then started to make it harder and harder for me to find new apps, then finally stopped maintaining the store at all. Eventually Apple killed off the Newsstand altogether and replaced it with the Apple News app. It took Apple three years for Apple to give up on the Newsstand, it has taken Apple only a couple months to give up on the Apple News app (they still haven’t launched the Apple News Format to all media partners).

Ricardo-cover-1-smFor the past year or so, launches of new digital magazine apps have slowed to a trickle. There are many reasons for this: first, so many magazines have had their own digital edition apps for a long time now; and second, Apple is making it hard to discover these apps, so many publishers have simply said ‘why bother’.

So, I no longer spend much of my day browsing the App Store, assuming – usually correctly – that there will not be new apps to find. There was a time when I sometimes knew of a new app’s appearance inside the App Store before the publisher and developer did as one never knew exactly when an app would go live, making it through Apple’s review process. (My book Talking Digital was held up a week because I used the term iBookstore rather than iBooks Store.)

Because of this, I missed the launch of Magazine RICARDO and RICARDO Magazine – the French and English digital editions from Canadian chef Ricardo Larrivée.

Larrivée has had a program on Radio Canada, TV shows, and writes a column for the daily newspaper La Presse (which recently shuttered its weekday print newspapers to rely on its excellent digital editions). As a media personality, he is known simply as Ricardo.

RicardoMag-navAs you can probably guess, one of the new apps is for the French version of the magazine, the other for the English language version. The French language magazine was originally launched in 2002, and the current English language magazine was just launched in the fall of 2014 (there was previously an English version when the title was owned by Gesca Limit is a subsidiary company of the Power Corporation of Canada).

Reader are offered an opportunity to buy a one year subscription (6 issues) for $19.99 CAD ($19.99 US), or purchase single issues of $4.59 CAD ($3.99 US). I might add, for quite a long time the US and Canadian app store prices were the same. But the loony, as it is sometimes called, today fell to just below 70 cents today, a result of oil prices continuing to fall.

The two apps are exclusive to the iPad and use the Adobe DPS to create a hybrid edition where the ads are seen as in print, and the editorial content is reformatted for easier reading. This was the standard approach to digital editions from large publishing companies for what may now be seen as the golden age of tablet publishing, 2011 to 2014. Today, publishers like Meredith have all but given up on digital editions – for instance, turning the popular and well-designed Martha Stewart Living digital edition into a hard-to-read PDF replica.

The result is a very good digital edition app(s), one that readers will be able to read comfortably whether they have a standard size iPad or an iPad mini. (It would be interesting to see the app on an iPad Pro, though I think it would be just fine, and might even be better on the larger display.)

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