iPad in Publishing: Is the hype for real?

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Last week, we were busy starting off an engagement with an East Coast based publishing firm to publish their magazines as an iPad app – and hence missed out on my regular blogging schedule. However, that helped me finalize on one of my blog topics for this week as iPad in Publishing.



We have always been bullish on mobile being an interesting new channel for media players with the coming up of ew generation smart-phones. However, release of iPad brings a whole new level of energy into this space.  I will use the term iPad to refer to all the new gen devices like iPad, say the rumoured gPad and any similar device from HP.

iPad solves a few problems that publishers had always faced in the digital media, and hence could be that elusive key to the new evolution of publishing in digital media.

1)      Ability to Monetize: By the virtue of the fact that websites are interconnected, it was hard to create walled gardens in the internet, which was necessary for monetizing through subscription.  iPad through the paradigm of apps, which are stand-alone, now provides an ability to secure the individual publication, and maintain them as monetizable apps. Of course, how this hypothesis would fare in the HTML5 world needs to be seen.

2)      Mobility: I was never a fan of reading an online magazine on a  laptop – A real magazine provided the convenience of reading in a flight or in your bed, which was hard to replicate with a laptop. However, iPad solves this issue and provides a convenient way to carry your magazines and read them on the go.

3)      Offline Capability: One of the other issues as to why I always bought a physical copy of Time magazine right before I boarded the flight – my laptop was useless while in a flight – these days, it is not very often to not have an internet connection – however, you need your content with you most when there is no internet connection and cannot do anything work-related like checking email.

4) Usability – Personally, I always thought a website of a newspaper of magazine was much less usable than the magazine itself, mostly because of a large number of cross-links – I am sure there are a number of people who prefer that level of cross-linking – but for me, an iPad magazine brings in a simplicity similar to a physical magazine, which i would call a “linear reading experience” for lack of a better term. Of course, I agree this is very subjective.

5) Start-up Speed – How many times have you opened a magazine and waited for 3-4 minutes for the first page to open up? Would you ever read a magazine if you had to do that? A number of readers use their mobile devices from their home to access content – The key reason is that there is no start-up time involved – which is something the iPad provides – start-up in 3 seconds.

All in all, I am planning to use my iPad to read magazines – even though i still may not completely throw away my physical magazines. How about you?

Please let us know your thoughts on how the new generation tablets would impact the publishing industry.

Rajesh P

RapidValue Solutions

www.rapidvaluesolutions.com

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