Reading on the iPad

Shawn Blanc:

And so — perhaps intentionally, or perhaps unintentionally — digital magazines that replicate their printed versions are, in some ways, feeding on the mindset that printed content has a higher value and novelty than digital content does.

I think it’s simply a reflection of what the magazines’ editorial staffs actually believe: that the print edition is the “real” version of the magazine.

To Blanc’s list of things he seeks in iPad magazines, I’ll add two:

  • Reasonable download sizes. A copy of The New Yorker should not weigh 150 MB. That takes way too long over a slow Wi-Fi connection, let alone 3G (and 3G is metered on the iPad — some iPad 3G users only have 250 MB total data per month). Books from the Kindle and iBooks stores generally weigh in at 10 MB or so. You should be able to download a copy of magazine quickly over 3G. Condé Nast would never ship the paper magazine in a box that weighs 50 pounds. But that’s exactly what their digital editions feel like.

  • Resolution independence. These magazines and newspapers that render each “page” as a static 1024 × 768 image are going to look like utter ass on the iPad 3’s 2048 × 1536 retina display. Plus, it’s the fact that these pages are rendered as static images that makes the issues such gargantuan downloads.

Monday, 18 July 2011