Uh . . . Books?

The New York Times finally awakens to the fact that the magazine experience on the iPad is less than it could be. The key culprits: high prices and the inexplicable need to repurchase the app over and over again, instead of offering a subscription option:

“If you look at the Apple store,” said David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, which offers five publications on the iPad, “the most common reason that people give an app a low rating is that it lacks a subscription option. They want to subscribe, and they don’t like the idea of paying $4.99 a month.”

Many applications cost almost as much as a printed copy of a magazine . . . The New Yorker, for example, costs $4.99 an issue in Apple’s App Store but $5.99 on the newsstand. Esquire is also $4.99 an issue, the same as the cover price on the newsstand.

Subscriptions are another sticking point. A vast majority of magazines available on the iPad must be bought per copy. Customers cannot subscribe and have it delivered as they can with other publications available on the iPad like The Economist, The Wall Street Journal or The Daily, the News Corporation’s new iPad-only venture that is to begin within the next few weeks.

The Times also notes that tablets like the iPad offer a potentially huge upside for magazine savvy enough to figure out how to sell people associated content while they’re reading on the iPad. Indeed–with enough ingenuity you can turn each e-copy of your magazine into a storefront.

To which I say: publishers, are you listening? How about a revival of the subscription method of book-buying? How about Archipelago building an app that lets you subscribe to a year of their wonderful books delivered electronically, just like you can now subscribe to a year of the print books. Obviously no one wants ugly, invasive calls-to-sale being stuck within what should be a pristine, unencumbered reading experience, but if magazine publishers are figuring out how to monetize apps, publishers should be looking into it as well.

Recent Posts

Criticism Isn't Free

CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

You could also purchase one of my acclaimed ebooks.

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.