February 27, 2017 Last Updated 11:50 am

UK monthly Legal Business launches new digital edition app featuring live, updated content

Two other new business magazines have launched digital edition apps are provide readers with native, digital reading experiences: Multiplex Magazine and Brand Brains

One would like to think this is the start of a new trend, a return to publishers and self-publishers creating digital edition apps. But the fact is that there are far fewer new digital edition apps appearing in the Apple App Store than in years past.

One reason, of course, is that most magazines and newspapers long ago launched their own apps. Another reason is that as consumers have moved to reading on their mobile devices, publishers have concentrated on mobile news apps rather than digital edition apps (or, at the very least, a hybrid app that combines daily content with access to the periodical). The other reason, of course, is simply that both Apple and their publishing partners have seemingly given up on the Magazines & Newspapers category, and neither party seems very eager to fix the problems that have lingered for years in the App Store (like renewals, etc.).

Still, some new apps do appear. In the Business category, for instance, I found three new apps that have been released in the past few weeks or months that may be of interest.

The oldest apps is from Legalease LTD for the magazine Legal Business, released near the end of last year.

Legal Business + is actually a new version of their app that was originally released in 2013:

Legal Business + is the new app from the Legal Business team, which adds live updates and news items in an upgraded format, alongside all the content from our monthly print issues and website. New features include:

* Live and updated content daily
* Offline and online viewing – download articles for later offline reading
* Searchable content
* Updated design and layout

The B2B magazine is published ten times a year, and a subscription will not come cheaply: a 1 year subscription is priced at £499.99.

Now, having worked for McGraw-Hill in B2B, I can tell you that I love publications that can charge an arm and a leg for their publication. It is a sign that the content has real value for the reader. The daily newspaper (5 days a week) I was publisher of while at McGraw-Hill cost over $1K a year for a subscription. Our readers simply saw this as the price of being in business, though it obviously reduced the number of readers we could reach, which is why I soon launched a free monthly magazine to compliment the newspaper.

As someone who had a print paywall, if you will, I still think that this is the key to whether you can get a reader to pay for the web – the content has to be that compelling, and it helps that readers find it financially important. That is why financial publications have had the best luck with paywall, and newspapers generally have struggled (not every paper is the NYT).

Although I was not willing to pay £499.99 to try out the digital edition, the app provides enough of a preview to tell that this is a very professionally done app, one that readers of the print edition will no doubt appreciate.

The other two apps are also interesting, though far less professionally designed and executed.

Read Multiplex is from First American Resources, Inc and The Brand Brains appears under the developer account of Samantha Clare Blindell.

While Legal Business is perfect for the iPad, as it can be read in landscape, the other two new apps – both released this month – are more mobile-first in look and feel.

Multiplex Magazine will require a 6-month subscription for $29.99, while Brand Brains is selling a 1-month subscription for £6.99.

Both apps provide readers with a readable digital edition, and are far better alternatives to the standard PDF replica far too often used by publishers.

In fact, when you check out the vast majority of new digital edition apps being released you will find that most are for non-US or UK titles, and are usually PDF replicas. Most importantly, most are being released through vendors who offer revenue-share models and will release the apps under their own name rather than that of the publisher (many of these vendors do offer an option to have the app appear under the publisher’s name – though that would, of course, require the publisher to sign up for their own developer account with Apple).

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