The last thing I’d want is for a bunch of The Magazine lookalikes to flood the App Store with mediocre articles that haven’t passed through an editor and should just be (or already are) someone’s mediocre blog posts, just so they can easily charge for a subscription. There’s a time and a place for less-formal, less-polished blog writing — here and now, for instance. But there are plenty of reasons why The Magazine isn’t just Magazine.

This is why the resurgence of newspaper paywalls makes no sense to me. The majority of articles that the majority of news publications produce are space-filling garbage. I might be willing to spend a few seconds on frivolous writing, but not a few dollars.

A publication’s app should be designed and built with purpose and consideration. The Magazine works because I based decisions not on what everyone else was doing, but on what would be best for this magazine. Every publication has its own unique needs, audience, economics, and style, so their apps should reflect that

And this is why the numerous "platforms" to publish your own iPad magazine, mobile app, mobile website, Nook app, or whatever the hell else make no sense to me. The skills needed to plan, design, and produce apps aren't as commonplace as writing (or editing, or graphic design), but they're hardly unavailable in the market nor even particularly difficult to learn. Every dollar spent on a forgettable and non-special turnkey app solution1 is a dollar you didn't spend on educating your people how to do it themselves.

1 - Hint: if someone is offering you a one-and-done option for going mobile, Android, and iOS with the same tool, run away. iOS, Android, and the mobile web are platforms, not filetypes to be saved out to at the end of a "design" process.

AuthorScott Kubie