Is it just me, or does it seem that European magazines are way more active in developing iPad and tablet digital publications?

Recently there have been a slew of digital magazines released in Europe, and Axel Springer Verlag is just the latest examples of this. It would also appear to me that the pricing and subscription models are more consumer friendly in the EU compared to the US, where publishers seem determined to set an example and train tablet users to expect high pricing models for Magazine Content.

So which is the better strategy? Attracting loyal readership with low pricing and making money through sales volume is one way, or hold out for higher pricing and risk fewer readers of the digital editions?

While I think the production costs for digital content may seem high to publishers initially, I feel the exponential growth of the tablet market on multiple platforms is being ignored in the US approach. Production costs may be high, but ultimately the distribution costs are not when scaling to potentially millions of readers. To me the scalability of the digital platforms are the real differentiation to print, where each additional copy costs extra ink, paper, packaging, transportation, distribution, warehousing, inventory and waste copies.

So I guess personally I come down on the side of lower pricing and future volume, even if this initially means subsidizing the effort slightly. Plus, establishing and automating digital publishing work flows is an experience best had in the beginning of the upcoming rush to tablet publishing.

What do you think?


There is clear demand for good content on mobile devices as evidenced by the amazing growth of e-books and the terrific response to the magazine ‘apps’ launched on the iPad” says Mark Edmiston, Nomad’s CEO. “We believe that there is even greater potential for content designed from the ground up for mobile rather than taking an existing format and converting it to mobile. For example, freed from over-dependence on advertising inherent in printing monthly magazines, Nomad Editions are produced on a natural cycle of once a week.

Nomad Editions is attempting to moneytize a weekly digital magazine concept and introduce a new publishing industry business model in the process.

It is being started by former Newsweek president Mark Edmiston, and I’d encourage you to follow the link to look at the 4 initial topics that have been chosen for weekly publishing format:

Real Eats: Stories Behind the Food (Sean Elder, editor)
Wide Screen: Inside the Movies That Matter (Glenn Kenny, editor)
Wave Lines: Your Brain on Surfing (Jon Cohen, editor)
u+me: Voices Behind Videos (Nancy Campbell/Trevett McCandliss, Chris Kaye

Also interesting is the FAQ section which attempts to address potential public reaction to being asked to pay for digital weekly content: