An article by A.T. Faust III on the AppAdvice site (cool site for keeping up with iPhone and iPad apps, by the way) talks about why magazines on the iPad have failed to take off.
Read the article: On iPad, Publishers’ Magazine Efforts Are Barely Past the First Page
Faust writes, “…Though Apple’s Newsstand initiative continues to build up steam, the actual experience imparted by its member publications is decidedly subpar. Even more unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why.”
To sum up, they are:
1. Publishers haven’t embraced the iPad. Much of the reason may be because Apple takes 30% of their revenues. So until it brings in more money, publishers won’t invest in iPad.
2. It’s not easy to design an interface that is easy to use. Just as Apple created the new iBooks author software to make it easy for anyone to publish a book, Apple should create similar software for magazine publishers.
3. No in-app purchasing. Again, iBooks makes it easy to organize and purchase books as well as read them; unfortunately the Newsstand app requires purchasing each individual item in the App Store before doing the reading in Newsstand.
In my own experience it’s reason #2 that has been a challenge. For magazines that I get for free on the iPad because I have a print subscription, it’s much easier to read the print version than the iPad version—on the iPad, some pages scroll horizontally, some vertically, the text isn’t big enough or it’s too big, it’s hard to tell what’s interactive.
What I’d like to see are more iPad-only magazines that really take advantage of the format to provide a special experience. I hope we’ll return to the days of lots of DIY ‘zines—but instead of cutting and pasting, photocopying them at Pop Copy, and selling them at indie bookstores, people will be creating and disseminating them through the App Store. And yes, this will require an iNewsstand that has room for thousands of different magazines of all kinds. Apple, it’s up to you.