Remember the web before Movable Type? If you wanted a blog you had to program one. You had to know databases and webhosts and PHP or Perl. If you were “just” a web designer, or a writer with ideas, you had to hire an in-demand web programmer to make it happen. Publishing was expensive and hard.
Apps like Marco Arment’s The Magazine give me flashbacks to that time. Wouldn’t it be awesome to publish my own magazine on the iOS Newsstand? People could read my articles on their iPad Mini, pay without typing in a credit card, and automatically receive new issues as they come.
Sounds great. But here’s the thing. To be on the Newsstand you have to program an iOS app. The tech hurdle is high, and hiring isn’t cheap. iOS programmers are in extremely high demand.
Now is a great time for another Movable Type. Writers would love a way to push serialized content straight to tablets, and the experience would be a boon to readers. Tablets are the best way to read, and Newsstand is the equivalent of RSS for non-geeks. Hopefully apps like The Magazine inspire somebody to make this happen.
(Inspired by Craig Mod’s Subcompact Publishing.)
John Bartonon 27 Nov 12
Some friends of ours have been onto this for a little while, and have a whole designer friendly app platform at Oomph. Well worth a look, especially as they’ve got an app template marketplace coming soon.
AJ Solimineon 27 Nov 12
Some friends and I built a prototype for a really simple publishing platform on iOS called TodaysNews. Publishers need only an RSS feed to publish and can customize subscription payments. We’re not actively developing it anymore, but if someone has good readership and wants to publish on iOS for free, check us out.
Tomon 27 Nov 12
We use the Baker Framework, an open source framework for publishing Newsstand apps using HTML. It’s free and has a lot of hardworking people behind it. http://bakerframework.com/
Andrey Bodoevon 27 Nov 12
I like it and I have to say there is interactive publishing platform Readymag, which is coming. Here you can look at really nice demonstration how does it work.
Stefan Fidanovon 27 Nov 12
It would be nice to be able to read a magazine on a tablet with an app that does not suck.
But do magazine publishers feel it as a pain? Will it improve their sales?
No matter how easy you, Apple, Google or any one makes it, for the publisher it will be one more medium to support. They will be motivated to make it good only if it brings them substantial profit. Those newspapers and magazines with falling paper sales should be the first to try.
Your analogy with blogging is wrong. In blogging there were many people who wanted to express their thoughts and ideas, but as individuals it was hard and difficult due to the lack of proper tools. In publishing for tablets there is the same lack of tools, but they do have an easy access to expressing due to their established distribution channels.
Martin H. Normarkon 27 Nov 12
Is this what you’re working on? A tablet publishing platform for publishers?
renaudon 27 Nov 12
Tactilize (http://www.tactilize.com/) seems great. “Publish Interactive Content, For iPad. Easily. Instantly.”
Matton 27 Nov 12
Pad CMS looks pretty neat http://padcms.com/
Michael Kazarnowiczon 27 Nov 12
There’s actually a plethora of methods to publish content based apps like magazines to smartphones and tablets without programming skills. For example our tools, which are based on Adobe InDesign and support both iOS (iPhone + all iPads) and Android tablets. And if our tools aren’t what you’re looking for, we’ve gathered some 44 other companies working with tablet publishing right here http://www.magplus.com/companies-that-work-with-tablet-publishing/
buzzon 27 Nov 12
Why limit to iOS? For that matter, why limit to app stores and the Internet? I’m at the airport, I want your publication, I don’t wanna pay their stupid $14.95 for an hour of slow Internet. Why can’t I download directly at the newsdealer or from the newsbox? Publish directly to devices by Wi-Fi. 9 out of 10 tablets are Wi-Fi only.
Allisonon 27 Nov 12
Michael is right, there is a lot of methods to publish content based app. For example, we propose a solution to create interactive content and app for Newsstand without coding. With our system, you can even create games for your digital readers, without writing a line of code! (http://www.aquafadas.com/en/digital-publishing/features/)
Nickon 27 Nov 12
Given David and Ryan’s recent posts and Jason’s hints of a brand new product from 37 signals, I’m wondering with Martin if you guys are indeed working on this. Perhaps using the same system that powers the 37 signals blog itself as a base?
Jared Whiteon 27 Nov 12
Both this post and the one by Craig Mod illustrate a huge market opportunity. Frankly, I’m genuinely surprised it’s still such a wide-open playing field. You’d think the big-name CMSes and companies out there would be jumping on Newsstand or at least coming out with an open-web competitor.
Full disclosure: I run a startup called Mariposta focusing on the latter, combining web-ease blogging with tablet-friendly UIs and content presentation. I’m betting big that individuals and small business are going to start realizing that the “Content First” approach and publishing magazine-like sites that are mobile-friendly by default are a far better way to grow an audience and market to customers.
One comment I’d make: the friction between the Newsstand-style method of publishing, which is very much centered on the periodical and carries the expectation of always custom print-style design (though The Magazine ignored this expectation to good effect), and typical blogging which is centered around a constant stream of new posts all using primarily the same template, is going to be a difficult chasm to cross. Bloggers are used to publishing very fast. Creating a digital magazine with all the trimmings can be much more labor-instensive. Although, again, the apparent success of The Magazine seems to indicate that you can build a bridge between the two worlds and capture some of the best aspects of each.
Ryanon 27 Nov 12
Yeah Jared, The Magazine bridges that gap very well. It takes what’s good about the Newsstand - easy to buy, receive new issues via push, no tech setup. And it drops the bad points you mentioned - complex layouts, long load times, confusing navigation. I would expect a Newsstand platform that aims for simplicity like The Magazine to be far more consumable by writers than complex options like Oomph etc.
Rudy Rudeon 28 Nov 12
For a first stab at any sort of digital publishing, found it to be not to painful using Adobe Indesign Cs6 and their Digital Publishing Suite, a few hurdles to jump through with Apple, but pretty straightforward besides that.
Françoison 28 Nov 12
I thought exactly the same, that’s why i’m scratching my own itch ;) … www.airbe1.com
Hanneson 28 Nov 12
I have a todo-item on my list of ideas to investigate called ‘The Magazine whitelabeled’. A friend of mine I’m working on something else with discovered this, which is in a similar space: http://www.prss.com/
I might still pursue this, out of my love for typography and minimalism.
Alexon 28 Nov 12
“Wouldn’t it be awesome to publish my own magazine on the iOS Newsstand? People could read my articles on their iPad Mini, pay without typing in a credit card, and automatically receive new issues as they come.”
Sounds exactly like what we are doing here at www.pressmatrix.de ... not only for some of the biggest publishers in Germany but also for your very own content.
Robbieon 28 Nov 12
We were just having a discussion about moveable type at Miles Design just the other day. We only design and develop websites on Wordpress CMS’s now, but we were having major flashbacks to the good ol’ days! Thanks for a good nostalgic post, Ryan!
Mikeon 02 Dec 12
Also check out http://presspadapp.com, it’s Polish startup targeting this problem.
This discussion is closed.