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Publishers closer to 'iTunes for magazines'

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    at least somebody is trying to learn

    from the awful example of the recording industry.

  1. psdenno

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2003


    Newspapers and magazines....

    ... have been migrating to on-line delivery for a while. When that format becomes better accepted, school textbooks will soon follow and kids won't be lugging 40 pound backpacks - just a 10 ounce eReader or slightly heavier Mac device.

  1. dagamer34

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007


    Good and Bad

    Good because it will save newspapers. Bad, because one device means Apple has all the control. I hope the boards of newspapers are encouraging comeptition so that Apple doesn't have them by the balls a few years down the road.

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002


    digital mag's

    are great. i get two from exacteditions and one from zinio. i prefer the exacteditions format, easier on a laptop to get around though zinio has more mag's.

    i can see this as being a game changer if done right.

  1. robin.jewsbury

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2009


    Magazines on Phones

    It's great that the concept of magazines on phones is being accepted and using apps and appstores to deliver then is a great way of packages the content and charging for it. Others have tried to; is one where anyone can create, publish and download to any phone (inclusing the iPhone) their own simple magazines. I know they are working on a professional options at the moment too so I think we'll see some of the professional publishers using this option too.

  1. ADeweyan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2004


    Next step

    I think the next step is going to have to be to further mimic the iTunes model by letting people purchase particular articles or content rather than whole magazines or papers.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Next Step

    Nope, because the 'newstand price' of a magazine only goes part way to covering costs. The rest is made up from advertising. And if you just buy articles, there ain't no advertising, and you're just going to end up with the same c*** you get from bloggers.

  1. michaele

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007


    Conde Who?

    Conde and its nasties are moving toward the last phase of their life. Would buy product from a body on life support?

  1. thewebdrives


    Joined: Jun 2007



    Someone is learning

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