All China Review available online!

The brand new title All China Review is now available in the Exact Editions webstore. The magazine describes itself as “essential reading for all those who seek balanced reviews and accurate insight into the world’s most exciting economy and the largest democracy in the world – China”.

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All China Review appears every two months and covers business, politics, arts, lifestyle and international relations. Buy your digital subscription here http://www.exacteditions.com/allchinareview

Latency, bandwidth, distribution, and discovery for digital magazines

BenEvansNewsstand

The other day Benedict Evans, who now works for Andreessen Horowitz, put up an interesting photo on Twitter. A traditional magazine kiosk in a newsstand or bookshop with several hundred magazines in the  frame. His tweet:

“High latency, high bandwidth, inefficient distribution, efficient discovery.”

His implicit message being that the industry has changed and the kiosk proposition has changed, because digital magazine work in a different way. Lets take a look at how the proposition has changed, bearing in mind that the changes effect both the consumer, the medium (magazines) and the sales outlet (the kiosk or newsstand).

From the consumer’s point of view one could say that the features that Benedict highlights have simply reversed. Magazines are now instantly available to the consumer who has access through a tablet or the web, there is really no latency when it comes to purchasing or access. This is especially impressive in the case of back issues, where a large heap of digital back copies can be searched and browsed immediately (assuming the app and the publisher makes this possible). Latency is very low there is no delay. Bandwidth also appears to be upending, magazines as digital objects used to be considered rather large, but many devices can now ingest or sync in less than a minute and as memories expand, the individual magazine issue turns out to be a digital shrimp. Distribution is a big change, printed magazines from the customer’s point of view are dependent on an extraordinarily precarious and inefficient process. Either the customer subscribes by post or the customer has to trek to the nearest store or kiosk. On the final parameter: “discovery” it again looks as though the tables have been turned. We hear so many complaints about how hard it is to find stuff in app stores or newsstands, that one might conclude that we now have a strikingly inefficient system for discovering digital magazines. But, whatever its shortcomings, this is being unfair to the iTunes newsstand. Titles are now relatively hard to find in our digital newsstands because there is now so much available to be discovered. If the consumer has her wits about her, digital magazines are surely much easier to find than their print equivalent. So if we look at a typical digital kiosk, I think our refrain would be

“Latency low, bandwidth low enough, super-efficient distribution, discovery so-so” (tweet)

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So what lessons should a digital publisher take from this reversal of roles? This inversion of highs, lows and inefficiencies? First, we should check up that we are not publishing magazine apps that take an inordinate time to download or fire-up (some still do, which is very lax, since an app can be designed to fire up and continue syncing in the background); second, digital publishers should be thinking hard about how their apps can be made even easier to find. Discoverable not only by those in the know, but discoverable by those who would be delighted….. It is no longer necessary to go to a physical newsstand to discover a new magazine. The consumer’s device, phone or tablet provides immediate access to an amazing choice of apps and web services. That is a huge step forward, but discovery is still a challenge because the competitive landscape is now vastly larger. Precisely because every title should be available if you want it.

 

The Football Pink joins the Apple Newsstand

The Football Pink is a quarterly collection of engrossing stories, opinions and musings from around the world of football and is now available in the Exact Editions webstore and the Apple Newsstand.
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Packed with all the features you’ve come to expect from Exact Editions, the app also incorporates ByPlace™technology, so keep your eyes peeled for exclusive free access!

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Five New Titles!

Exact Editions are delighted to welcome five new titles to our webstore and the Apple Newsstand, all from Progressive Media Group: New StatesmanWorld of Fine WineSpear’sFX and Blueprint.

New-Titles

All apps incorporate the usual Exact Editions features such as in-depth text search, social media sharing and of course the ByPlace™technology.

Head over to the App Store now!

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Magazines need to do some permissionless innovating

Steve Cheney has produced a fascinating essay On the Future of Apple and Google. You need to read it, but the gist of his argument is that the iOS and the Android operating systems are now the only games in town and they are pitched in a deep but asymmetric struggle. Google through Android will be powering most of the clever devices that will now be running our lives (fridges, cars, thermostats), but Apple has a deep axis of control through the highly integrated devices that they manufacture which will end up managing much of our environment. Android is becoming pervasive but Apple is winning at the high end, and even lengthening its lead and building on its dominance.

Although the piece is focussed on the battle between these giants, Google and Apple, it is also clear that nothing can be discounted, a lot will be made possible within and between the ‘tentpoles’ of their operating systems. As Cheney says

All of this innovation is underpinned by software, software that is figuratively eating the world. But to me the most exciting thing in tech today is not whether we’ll all be wearing smart watches a year from now. It’s that innovation will continue accelerating through the golden era of mobile and well beyond, to what none of us can quite see next.

Precisely because Apple and Google are both winning, but each of them moving off in different directions, there is enormous scope for innovation. Cheney coins the term “permissionless innovation”, which means that we don’t need someones permission to introduce an innovation. Just do it. Here are some ways that Exact Editions now drivespermission-less innovation:

  • Make magazine apps free ByPlace
  • Magazines and newspapers can sell subscriptions to institutions (college libraries etc) that want to have access online and through the magazine apps. Yes that works. And a publisher can do this by offering a subscription that provides access through the web, as well as via an app for the publication.
  • Magazine apps can promote a product in a specific geolocation. That is the application can support a ‘call to action’, a logo or an ad that pops up in a specific place
  • Apps can be built for third parties — so that a collection of appropriate magazines and newspapers is available to the travellers on an airline, or the guests of a chain of hotels. At Exact Editions we are now really excited by the potential for magazine apps that serve third parties with a collection of content.

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