Magazines on the iPad, A floundering Business?

So The Daily and Huffington are having a hard time making ends meet. While some think it has to do with a flawed content model I think it has to do more with experience.

I’ll admit up front that I have not ever tried Huffington or The Daily. Judging from their demos they seem to be similar to the experience of Wired. I was a Wired reader but deleted the app from my iPad months ago.

Wired had a great reading experience (fonts were a proper size for iPad reading) and extra content (videos, web links) were there and were of high quality. I did not stop reading Wired because of the experience of the content. I stopped downloading Wired issues to my iPad because of their sheer size.

Many hundreds of MB per issue is simply way to big to deal with. I have a 16gb iPad 2 which means I have to manage my device storage. Part of that is my fault for purchasing a device with the lowest storage, but part of it is the fault of content providers as well. I’d never deliver a web page near the size of an issue of Wired, so why to they think it’s acceptable to do the same?

No a single web page is not the same as a whole magazine, a whole magazine will be larger no matter what but I don’t think it needs to be anywhere near as large as it is. Using HTML 5 and other web technologies these could be delivered with the same type of experience but with way less weight.

Magazines on the iPad in general don’t get it, if anyone has part of the equation right it’s Wired, The Daily, and Huffington. At least they have a decent reading experience. Magazines like Bicycling, MaCleans, MacWorld (really they should get it), and Velo are big downloads and they provide a ‘shot’ of the PDF magazine. That means the reading experience is a bunch of double taps to zoom and then scrolling to read the article. I’m dropping all of those as well.

I have by no means stopped consuming longer form written content on my iPad though. I have a stack of books in iBooks and the Kindle app. None of them are huged and they all offer a great reading experience. I’m not sure what the solution is. I’m willing to pay for content, I’m just not willing to jump through stupid hoops to consume it the exact way the publisher prefers.

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