Publishing on the Pad

by Steve Watson in January 2010
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So now we know what the iPad looks like, and a few people at least know what it’s like to use one. There’s been lots of excitement around the idea that Apple’s latest launch will point the way forward for magazine publishing, and while the majority of reports have sounded deliberately cautious there’s a definite feeling of great things to come. Luke Hayman of Pentagram has some particularly interesting ideas on how the iPad could change magazine design (thanks Jeremy).

But this is Stack, so we’re interested in the little man. What do small independent publishers make of the iPad?

Stack editors Allie Baker-Reggio and Beatrice Gullstrom had a go at finding out, contacting editors and publishers of independent magazines and asking, what does the iPad mean to them? We got a wide range of answers, with people focusing on everything from interactivity to distribution to what magazine publishing even means today.

A selection of the answers are included below, so take a look and let us know what you think – are you looking forward to reading your magazines on a Pad?

If Apple’s reader presents us with a means to reach a larger audience, then it means a lot. I like the idea that quality magazines that have trouble with distribution can suddenly reach just as wide an audience as the Elles, Heats and Men’s Healths of this world. Of course we only want this to happen so that hopefully people will go buy, or subscribe to, the print edition, but it’s nice to think that they’ll get an enjoyable reading experience from a decent sized shiny screen in the meantime.
Danny Miller, Little White Lies

We’re a little confused by the state of publishing business and the iPad will probably add to the confusion. What business are we in, and which is more important – creating content or delivering content? And what kind of content? I guess we’ll have to come up with a hybrid model, which will function like a club, where club members (subscribers) will have access to premium content via all mediums and where general audience (non-subscribers) will have access to truncated version.
Ilya Merenzon, Russia!

A big part of the allure of The Ride Journal is the feeling in your hands. The smell of the ink, the weight and texture of the paper. Also the subjects we feature are not time specific, which is where media readers really excel. The technology is exciting and we’re looking forward to using it. It’s just not suitable for this project.
Philip Diprose, The Ride Journal

All I can say from reading the press hoopla around the launch is that it’s going to try to be everything to everybody, so that its e-reader side will be drowned out by the multitude of other functions it boasts. It’ll be more a reader-friendly version of a video game console for an older generation than anything else.
Vijai Maheshwari, B East

We think it will get a lot of attention. With its iPhone-like OS it will surely create a lot of opportunities for content providers and magazine startups. We have always thought about adding interactive elements into IdN articles; perhaps this new Apple invention is what we’re after!
Chris Ng, IdN

On one level it’s about the possibilities of a platform that’s more portable than a laptop and more flexible than a mobile phone. On another level, it’s whether Apple can create the same economic and cultural shift with a media player that they’ve certainly achieved with the iPhone.
Simon Esterson, Eye

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