While magazine websites have become a complete necessity in our increasingly wired world, portable online versions of mags haven’t appeared to be a priority…until now. Please welcome one of the first paid magazine applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, an e-zine called, simply, The Magazine.
Although far from being a work of art (think thrift store Maxim: scantily-clad women and new gadgets, but only 12 pages of it), this innovation should be discussed separately from its dubious quality. Strangely enough, The Magazine originally started publishing their e-zine through a Facebook app and then moved their wares over to their own website. Now readers-on-the-go can visit the iTunes store to buy a “lifetime subscription” for the current sale price of 99 cents (regularly $1.99), allowing them access to all new issues and the mag’s complete archive.
So, of course, the big question: Is The Magazine an odd one-off idea or the beginning of a new trend for online magazines? Although I love my iPod Touch, I’m not actually a fan of most of the e-reader apps currently available for it, as I find that I don’t enjoy reading a large amount of a text on such a small screen. So for me, personally, I doubt that I would opt to read my favourite mags on my iPod, as I’d much rather read my latest issue of Quill & Quire by flipping the paper pages, and the newest articles on Slate by clicking through on my laptop.
I am, however, primarily thinking about magazines that focus more on long articles rather than briefs and pictures. Would a magazine like Maxim or even the photo-heavy National Geographic work better in this medium? I’m still not sure I’d go for it, but I do believe that there would be a market for it and that it’s increasingly becoming a possibility. How do you feel about reading magazines electronically on-the-go? Would you feel comfortable reading long-form essays or browsing through photo journalism on your iPhone?