updated 10:20 am EST, Tue November 24, 2009
Publishers' online mag store due in weeks
A coalition of magazine publishers is getting close to producing a digital storefront of its own that would produce a centralized portal for their titles, a leak hinted late Tuesday. Anonymous sources for the New York Observer claim Condé Nast, Hearst and Time are within weeks of a deal for a store that would offer both digital versions of their publications as well as physical copies. Time executive VP John Squires would leave his company to head up the new venture and is believed to be the originator.
The shop wouldn't strictly sell e-book versions and would optimize the largely unknown format for multiple platforms, including iPhones and other mobile devices. One contact likens it to iTunes, where multiple publishers come together into one single point of contact that makes more money for each of the outlets than they would with separate portals.
Taking action would at once help protect magazines against declines sparked by the web as well as prevent segmentation in the market created by the use of proprietary standards. Amazon's Kindle was the first e-book reader to fully support a subscription model but also prevents these titles from migrating to platforms that don't have specially-built software.
News of the strategy has appeared just as Wired, one of Condé Nast's key publications, has said it's developing for Apple's tablet in advance without knowing its specs. The format, which may need to be changed if or when the tablet appears, would enhance magazine content with detailed photos and graphs as well as online components. A video demonstrating Wired's tablet is viewable below.