David Hepworth sounds a note of caution on the iPad. Yes, everyone wants one, but publishers should be wary of creating expensive content which they can’t sell in enough quantities to turn a profit. We’ve all seem some pretty impressive demos of new magazine apps, but people are also already baulking at the cost of the new iPad version of Wired magazine, which seems shockingly expensive at $5.99. There’s a tendency for people to think that not having to pay for the physical paper, the shop, and the distribution should make things cheaper. But that’s just not true if you’ve replaced all that with expensive and whizzy motion graphics.
Attempting to translate the entire contents of a paper magazine to a screen is certainly a lot of trouble and it’s by no means certain the effort would be worth it. However, there are elements within that content that scream out to be delivered differently, either more frequently or in more depth or via a different carrier. I note that Men’s Health is selling workout apps for the iPhone, apparently with some success. There could be many others like that. Magazines have close enough relationships with their readers and detailed enough knowledge of their passions to be able to come up with them. The early indications are that people may pay for them via their phones.