Join 3,411 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


How to fail at digital publishing
October 20, 2011 3:37 PM   Subscribe

How to fail at digital publishing
posted by nam3d (27 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Should Apple be tighter in it’s approval of such applications and should it disallow straight static ‘PDF’ copies of magazines in to the App store, to retain the integrity of the Newsstand?

I loled.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:46 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apple’s Newsstand Is Already Booming For Some Magazine Publishers
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:48 PM on October 20, 2011


The failure in question is not just that the linked article doesn't load, right?
posted by aubilenon at 3:52 PM on October 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Right, there was also a failure to proofread it.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:53 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The link isn't loading for me, but I just wanted to say how much it bugs me when app stores get choked up with 'apps' that aren't actually applications, just frontends for text files. Don't get me started on all the cow clickers.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:56 PM on October 20, 2011


"Safari can’t open the page “http://postdesk.com/blog/uk-magazine-apples-newsstand-angry-backlash-iphone-ipad#comments” because the server where this page is located isn’t responding."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:57 PM on October 20, 2011


On a related note, I've always wondered why Amazon can get away with charging as much as they do for Kindle eBooks. If an eBook cost half as much as the next cheapest physical copy, my book buying would go up exponentially.
posted by schmod at 3:57 PM on October 20, 2011


On a related note, I've always wondered why Amazon can get away with charging as much as they do for Kindle eBooks.

It's not Amazon. Look under the price of every one of those +$10 eBooks and you'll see something like this:

Sold by: Random House Digital, Inc.
This price was set by the publisher

The publishers pushed for this a little over a year ago, complaining that selling eBooks for lower prices than print books would devalue their product. Before this, Amazon was charging less than $10 for Kindle books.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:04 PM on October 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


If an eBook cost half as much as the next cheapest physical copy, my book buying would go up exponentially.

Hmmm, in my experience they are that cheap. Let's just do a test on the one's I'm reading now.

Extreme Money by Satyajit Das. Amazon's print list price is $29.99. That's about what I'd be paying for it in a bookshop here in Australia, too, if not more. Kindle version, I payed $10.50.

Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks. Okay, this one's closer. Print price is $10.19, Kindle price was $9.98. But I'd be paying closer to $25, once again, in an Australian bookshop.

Australians by Thomas Kennealy. Amazon lists a hardcover version for $29.16. The current Kindle price is $26.24, but when I bought it a month or so ago, I'm pretty sure the Kindle price was about $15.

Okay, the impression I get is I was kinda wrong, then. Amazon Kindle prices are not much less than Amazon Paperback prices. But they are a hell of a lot cheaper than Australian bookstore prices, and since Amazon ain't offering free delivery to Australia, I'm still coming out well ahead.
posted by Jimbob at 4:07 PM on October 20, 2011


Don't get me started on all the cow clickers.

I totally read that as "cow lickers".

posted by Specklet at 4:09 PM on October 20, 2011


Apparently "cow lickers" is a derogatory terms for fans of some particular sports team, and I don't want to know what the sidebar ad,
Cow Suckers
www.ebay.com
Bid on Cow Suckers now!
is about. Not at all.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:12 PM on October 20, 2011


What really bugs me is when the Kindle price is higher than the paperback price. E.g., Bossypants by Tina Fey. Kindle version: $12.99, Paperback: $10.87. I simply won't buy eBooks where that's the case, and I won't buy the physical version, either.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:13 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


NYTimes

Kindle edition: $28/mo, no crossword, no scores, missing some images
Sunday hardcopy: $15/mo plus the entire paper online.
posted by zippy at 4:28 PM on October 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


What really bugs me is when people assume that producing an ebook or any other online product is just copy-and-paste, no labor required, no additional overhead. Haven't we already debunked this?
posted by limeonaire at 5:20 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What really bugs me is when people assume that producing an ebook or any other online product is just copy-and-paste

Straw man.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:42 PM on October 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Okay, the article loads now.

If your ebook is just the pdf that you already have, as these UK magazines seem to be doing, then it will indeed be cheaper to distribute than the paper version.

But I think what people are really chafing at is not only that these lazy ebooks are highly priced, but also that they're less useful! They're laid out poorly for the device and they don't include the bonus media that paper version comes with! So they're being asked to pay more for less. Which, I agree, is insulting.
posted by aubilenon at 6:14 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


One publisher who's doing the iPad right: Martha Stewart. I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living and not only are the issues packed with extra features like videos and photo galleries, subscribing for a year through the App Store cost me less than buying a single issue, air mailed, here in Australia.

I also love that the magazine is laid out in two dimensions. You swipe sideways to go between articles, but up and down to scroll within an article, which makes moving through the issue incredibly easy. There's also several indexes to help you find a specific piece.

Prospective publishers could do far worse than look at what Martha Stewart's doing. I don't know if they came up with the 2d layout themselves, but it's brilliant.
posted by Georgina at 7:35 PM on October 20, 2011


Talking at work this week, we all agreed that iPads are great tools for much of our IT jobs. Then someone asked what Newsstand was for...and no one could think of any work-related titles. Also, it can't be removed. No, thanks.

Also, what about Zinio? Didn't they have a lock on that Magazines Ripped Straight To PDF market that I never wanted, even when they were free?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:47 PM on October 20, 2011


Bossypants by Tina Fey. Kindle version: $12.99, Paperback: $10.87

Bossypants isn't available on paperback yet. The paperback is for a pre-order, and the Kindle price is essentially for the hardcover version. Once the paperback is released, the Kindle price will drop.
posted by IAmDrWorm at 8:43 PM on October 20, 2011


One publisher who's doing the iPad right: Martha Stewart.
People with an iPad should also take a look at iGIZMO to see digital publishing done well. And it's free.
posted by unliteral at 9:55 PM on October 20, 2011


The Economist on iPhone is great, so I got quite excited about reading magazines as well. The article is right, this is greedy, lazy, unreadable stuff.

Most people can probably can cope with greedy: most magazines aren't about simple value for money, so perhaps we're prepared to pay for convenience and portability.

But stuff that simply doesn't function? I think it's highlighted what's at the heart of much UK magazine publishing: absolute laziness of the type that happily recycles the same content year on year and can't be arsed to stretch itself or innovate.
posted by dowcrag at 12:29 AM on October 21, 2011


Bossypants isn't available on paperback yet.
Now I remember. I was going to buy this for my wife earlier this year, but I thought the hardback price was pretty high (I mean, Tina Fey is great, but I'm unlikely to reread it, or keep it around for a reference).
So I figured I'd get her the paperback version for Xmas. Now I see that it isn't due till next year. Fake scarcity pisses me off. Looks like her publisher missed another sale...
posted by bystander at 1:13 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does this failure involve publishing an article set in light-gray text on a white background?
posted by kcds at 3:53 AM on October 21, 2011


(MeFi's own) Charlie Stross had this to say on the subject of electronic vs. paper publishing. See also the linked previous articles in that series for more on why the cost of a book (or magazine) isn't dominated by the cost of the paper it's printed on -- which is an assumption implicit in the complaint that "it's just electrons, so it should be cheap!"
posted by logopetria at 4:24 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: how to succeed at digital publishing
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:27 AM on October 21, 2011


It will probably improve with time. Although they should have been anticipating this for years, it looks like the publishers went with the easiest route possible by publishing PDF documents. I can excuse them for doing this if they intend to get it whipped up right soon, but charging in excess of the print edition seems like wishful thinking. Just because iOS owners paid a premium for the device doesn't mean they have no concept of value.
posted by dgran at 9:19 AM on October 21, 2011


What really bugs me is when people assume that producing an ebook or any other online product is just copy-and-paste

Straw man.


Well, no—when I say people, I don't just mean the public; I'm also talking about people who commission these poorly conceived online reproductions of magazines. It's really easy for content producers' bosses to say, "Oh, just throw a copy of the PDF up there," only to realize later that either it costs more in terms of money/time/labor than they thought it would to "just throw it up there" (hence the inflated price tag online) or that no one is interested in an online copy with no extras or poorly conceived/broken "features."

It's a double-edged thing. Readers expect that anything online will have interactive features or new content, not realizing just how much they're asking for from content producers. Bosses expect that putting things online or creating new things online will be easy, not realizing just how much they're asking for from content producers. Everyone's unhappy.
posted by limeonaire at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2011


« Older The Super Huge, Detailed Map of the Warhammer Old ...  |  In 1888, German philosopher Fr... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments