John Biggs has a really nice write up on why he is leaving his New Yorker paper subscription in the dust for the iPad only version. Since as long as I can remember my house was always filled with magazines. My parents both got a ton of subscriptions and I would always get to peruse through my dad’s car magazines when he was done. As I got older and my parents divorced and I started to get my own magazine subscriptions — mostly car magazines — but I loved reading all that information.
Those magazines subscriptions had Newsweek and Businessweek added to them late on — among others. The one thing I hated about magazines was that they take up far too much room if you want to hang on to them for archives and reference. In 2004 I started using Zinio — an online magazine distributer — who for the same price as the print subscription would give you magazines in a DRM protected, Adobe laden, PDF that you could use their (not so stellar) viewer to read.
To this day I still use Zinio and while it has gotten better over the years the DRM has always been a problem for the service. To my knowledge all those archives of Zinio magazines I saved are unreadable at this point because they switched to a new viewer that uses Adobe Air — lovely. Their iPad app is ok, but really it is just an extension of the often crappy Adobe Air app that they have for the Mac. I have been pretty reluctant to wanting to switch full on to iPad only subscriptions because the pricing simply was not competitive — $4.99 an issue is just too much if you want to buy every issue.
Luckily Apple introduced subscription pricing and like all of you I have been watching closely to see how publishers are reacting to it. Our first taste was a sour one that The Daily offered. One app that I have really taken too is Bloomberg’s Businessweek+ app that allows you to subscribe to the weekly periodical for a seemingly low price of $2.99 a month, or $36 bucks a year. It’s not the best pricing, but it’s not the worst either.
The content of Businessweek has always been hit or miss for me, but it is typically news that I don’t seek out and that I like to know (even if I get to it much later than I could on the web). The fact is that I find the content valuable, you may not. What intrigues me about Businessweek is the app itself, which you can see my thoughts on here (I like it).
Outside of Businessweek and the few Zinio magazines that I still subscribe too I haven’t been too enamored with iPad magazine apps. Then the New Yorker wrote something that I really wanted to read — really wanted to read. The end result of which is that I am now a yearly subscriber to The New Yorker in e-format only and I am quite pleased with it.
The New Yorker really raises the price at $59.99 a year — something most iPad users are going to need to think about. I have never had a subscription to The New Yorker, but I have read articles from it on occasion. As far as the content is concerned: it is top notch and that is almost not debatable.
The app itself is what intrigues me the most.
The app seems to take the idea of adding eye candy and throw it out the window. This is not an app designed for Apple freaks, or iPad users — this is an app that has been very intentionally designed for readers.
I love that.
The font is crisp, clear and readable. You don’t get fancy carousels that don’t work, or multimedia enriched everything — you get quality writing displayed in a quality reading manner. The navigation is straight forward and an expanded view shows you where you are in everything, lest you get lost. Everything in the app is smooth like butter, everything just works. Sure the text isn’t zoomable, or selectable, or shareable — but it is highly readable and in the end that’s what I bought it to do.
It’s safe to say that I have tried a lot of magazine apps and that, of all of them, I hope more publishers model their apps after what The New Yorker has done — they have won me over.