We have reached an interesting point in the development of iPad magazines. Companies that had initially been hugely enthusiastic about the format, like Condé Nast, are having second thoughts and slowing down their adoption of the platform. At the same time companies like Future Publishing are citing the iPad as one of the key reasons for significant growth of its digital division.
We are also starting to see indie publishers begin to create dedicated content for the iPad, including, I should add, my own company Sutro Digital which unveiled its first iPad magazine Technode a couple of weeks ago.
Up until now almost all mainstream media companies have charged for their iPad editions. Early on those fees mirrored the price of the print versions, though this has changed a little with some publishers dropping their prices.
However, the indie sector has by-and-large offered their magazines for free and looked for other ways to fund their iPad projects. Publishers obviously lose out on sales revenue, but offering iPad magazine content gratis does have some very significant advantages over charging for it.
Firstly, the number of downloads should in theory be higher than paid for ones, especially as the new titles establish themselves.
Secondly, it means that the magazine content can be offered in a variety of options. So Technode, for example, is available on other tablets PCs as a PDF via HP’s Magcloud service, or as an online read or download via document site Scribd. This has given the title a reach it might otherwise not have had if limited to the iPad.