Why Monthly Periodicals Still Have an Uphill Battle


This isn’t another post about Zinio on the iPad. No, this is a post about why certain types of magazines will continue to have an uphill battle in an always- connected world. All the magazines I looked at on my iPad since the Zinio app was released look great. The colors a brilliant, the navigation is simple. And there is no lag when moving from page to page or from magazine give to text view. It is a gorgeous way to read eMags. But it has one fatal flaw. Let me explain…

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Last a week, March 31st to be precise, I was notified that my May edition of Macworld was available for download. (See, I really DO use Zinio.) It had arrived just in time for my to try out on my iPad. Last month the iPad was on the cover. This month it was back to basics with an iMac on the cover and a good split over coverage between devices running OS X and iPhone OS. Yesterday I loaded the edition on my iPad and started reading. It was, as expected, a great reading experience.

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One of my favorite parts of MacWorld are the Application Gems and the quick Reviews such as the ones in the above picture. I cannot tell you how many great applications or accessories I have stumbled upon thanks to this feature.

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The blurb about NowX caught my eye. I am always looking for a better way to integrate my calendar, contacts and tasks on my Mac and I figured it was worth a look.

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I read to the end of the blurb and, as usual, the piece offered two hyperlinks. [That is one of the things I like most about reading an eMag- if you see something of interest you can simply tap on the included link and the product site or other online content immediately opens in the browser built into Zinio. Tap it again and you go right back to your article.]

The first hyperlink took my to Macworld’s site and their review online.

The second was a hyperlink to Now Software’s site. “Great,” I figured, “I’ll just jump over and see what the software looks like. $130 is a bit pricey but if it is awesome…”

So I clicked the hyperlink and got this…

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Yup, Now Software is gone… fin… ????… finito… ???… klaar… or as Elana says, “It’s over Johnny”.

The magazine only came out a few days ago, yet an item they reviewed is already shut down. And while this was bad, it can be far far worse. For example, last year I got a copy of the magazine iPhone Life (which is quarterly) and by the time the edition came out, much of the application information contained within was laughably out of date. Yes, things move that fast.

And THAT is the Achilles heel of monthly periodicals. Whether in eMag or dead tree format, the information contained within can change too rapidly for the magazine to stay relevant. A periodical that contains news and other time-sensitive content is at a severe disadvantage if it only comes out once a month or, as in iPhone Life’s case quarterly. When information contained in my RSS feeds can be out of date by the time I read it, it makes me think that the monthly cycle is best left to opinion pieces and other information that is relatively static.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.