Magazines Technology

Vogue UK on iPad Is Pricey

Vogue UK for iPad has just been released, and as much as I’d like to get it so I can review here, I’m just not willing to pay the $7 asking price. Here then is a video that teases the issue that was “ninety four years in the making,” and I’m sure we can expect some impressions from Jeremy over at MagCulture soon enough.

And speaking of Jeremy, do take a look at his recent post covering this past week’s big title releases on iPad (New York Magazine, Wired UK, and Eureka). I’m late on my reviews of Wired UK and Eureka, but will try to have something up over the weekend (and I do pretty much agree with Jeremy’s views).

Let me also mention that I’m very open to getting some review copies of iPad magazines (download codes) to cover here — it’s getting expensive for me to properly review everything I’d like to cover.

Magazines Meta Web

From Blog to Magazine

Over at Magtastic Blogsplosion, Andrew goes over a few examples of magazines that have been produced using blog content — mentioned are of course Michael Bojkowski’s Lineread and Jeremy Leslie’s (pictured). Although not mentioned, It’s Nice That is another great example of this — and hey, issue 4 just came out.

It’s certainly a proposition that makes sense — as Andrew lays out, with print-on-demand services taking care of printing and distribution, all a budding magazine creator needs these days are the words and the design, and a good blog can take care of the former (with a bit of reformatting, expansion, etc.) It’s definitely something that comes to mind when I think of SNOW Magazine, and what I could do to expand on the site.

Design Magazines Technology

Wired Is Disoriented

Today finally marked the release of Wired‘s October issue on iPad — as I noted yesterday, it’s later than usual — and I of course have a few things to say. First off, they again go ahead with their trick of making you update the app to get the new issue instead of just using notifications, something I’m assuming is to help them rank again on charts when a new issue comes out. Are they (Conde Nast) going to be doing that with the New Yorker as well, on a weekly basis? Oh, and in the “what’s new” notes they include “issue size improvements” as a feature — the issue download was around 290MB, compared to the 400-500MB of past issues.

But what I really want bring up this time is the question of orientation. It’s a topic Jeremy has been bringing up a lot on MagCulture — most recently in his review of the New Yorker — and it comes down to the hard fact that supporting both of the iPad’s orientations means having to design your magazine twice, which means more work for the design staff.

Since the release of its first issue on iPad, to its credit, Wired has been having some fun with the dual orientation layouts, often using completely different photos to illustrate the same story, like in the example above. That’s all fine and dandy, and it can be a neat little “easter egg” to discover, but I’ve been noticing quite a few errors creeping up in text as well, as it relates to orientation changes.

In the example above, the “FACE-OFF” sidebar, the intro text refers to the chart “below” in both instances. That’s correct when in landscape mode, but not in portrait mode. In some cases, they’re just plain wrong no matter what orientation, which could be a remnant of text referring to the print layout, but that’s not something that should be creeping in the digital edition. As an example, the text in the “Safe House” article (below) refers to the pod shown “below,” even though in both cases it appears in different spots (above, and to the left).

This may be nitpicking, but for me it amounts to having the wrong caption under an image. When I was reading the “Safe House” article in portrait mode and hit on the mention of the “pod shown below,” my immediate reaction was to swipe down to the next page.

But another point to bring up is how all of these double layouts are affecting the text formatting. It’s an important point: Since you have to keep the same amount of text no matter the orientation, it can result in some forced constraints. Look at the text below, the second line of the paragraph — the tracking on it is horrendous. The text is fine if you’re reading in landscape mode.

I’m not sure if I’m siding with Jeremy just yet though. Even though I tend to read in portrait more, I do like having the option, and I do often find that the layout in landscape mode is a tad more attractive (but I do realize this is just subjective). But more care has to be done for it to work properly, or else depending on the orientation you pick, you’re going to end up with a different — and possibly subpar — reading experience.

Let me end with an ad from the issue that I rather liked. I don’t know if the same ad appears in the print edition, but it obviously works very well when seen on an iPad. It’s also in keeping with the theme of this post: You only get it in portrait mode, with the landscape version featuring a different image.

Magazines Technology

Adobe vs. WoodWing, Round 1

The Adobe editing tools used by Conde Nast for their Wired and New Yorker apps get a lot of attention — often in conjunction with the resulting bloated file size they produce — but let us not forget that there are other iPad magazine editing tools out there (working within InDesign), with WoodWing probably being Adobe’s main competitor. Its Digital Magazine Tools are behind quite a few big titles, including Time, Sports Illustrated, People, and Fortune. This video gives you a peak at the latest additions to their software, and there’s plenty more to see in this YouTube channel.

All these links come from this MagCulture post by Jeremy, which includes a few more iPad magazine links of interest.

Magazines Technology

The New Yorker on iPad

The big news in the digital magazine world this week is of course the release of Conde Nast’s The New Yorker app. It was designed by the same team behind the Wired magazine app — creative director Scott Dadich is in fact now in charge of bringing all of the publisher’s stable of titles to iPad.

The first thing I’ll suggest is that you take a look at Jeremy’s great write-up over at MagCulture — he also posts the terrific video intro produced for the launch, directed by Roman Coppola and starring Jason Schwartzman.

In terms of my experience with the magazine so far (I’m not yet done going through it), it started out badly with a crash as I tried to play a video from the front cover that is supposed to show that cover being drawn. No matter how many times I exited and re-entered the app, it would just show the video screen, and I couldn’t get back to anything else. After deleting the app and re-installing it, and then re-downloading the issue, I was able to start reading the magazine, but that video still refuses to play for me.

As Jeremy mentions in his review, what you get here is very similar to the interface used in the Wired app (menu functions are all the same), and the biggest change lies in the page design, which is much more simple — in keeping with the source material — with text that is less formatted as well (columns of text run down until they’re done, not necessarily at the bottom of the page).

It also uses free scrolling more than in Wired, where you only see it in the table of contents and credits page at the end. As I’ve said before, I’d really prefer if they just kept to the page scrolling, which I rather like — maybe in part because it feels more magazine-y to me.

It was interesting to see a bit of live content appear in the magazine. Pictured above, you see that “This Just In” section is made up of tweets with updated event information. Even Wired hasn’t included any live content yet.

Looking at the ads, The New Yorker app introduces another first for the Conde Nast interface, and that’s the inclusion of ads within an article, as you scroll down — so far the Wired app has kept ads to themselves, in-between articles.

I also had to share the ad pictured above, for a Russian magazine I’ve never heard of, with a title I have no idea how to pronounce, but that I now want to read. What a great tagline!

My biggest gripe right now is the pricing, which is $5. I’m sure they decided to charge more than they do for Wired ($4) because they don’t expect to get the same sales numbers, but I think a lot of people are going to be turned off by the price, especially for a weekly, and especially with so much of the content being city-centric (it did make me want to make a move to New York though, I’ll give them that).

Let me end this with one of the comic strips (above) found inside. The joke for me and my wife is that our dog has escaped from his cage so many times that we’ve given him the nickname Houdini, and so you can imagine how much of a chuckle I got when I saw that strip.