In this week’s web publishing roll up, Tina Brown, former editor of Tatler, Vanity Fair and Talk, wants you to know that “American newspapers are dying mostly because they were so dull for so long a whole generation gave up on them” and not because the internet is killing them.
Reversing the Print-to-Web Trend
Keeping that in mind, I wonder what she’d say about Condé Nast, Meredith and Hearst who are making attempts to bring back their defunct print rags or create print versions of popular websites. While this seems to go against the print-to-web trend of the past few years, it might just be an effort to capitalize on a slightly better economic outlook.
Most of the magazines looking to resurrect themselves in print are food-themed, such as Gourmet and Domino, a niche that has a loyal and often economically-viable following.
Some of the new publishing endeavors may come back as bookazines -- a term that refers to a hybrid between a magazine and a soft-cover book, which often cost more and includes user-generated content from their websites.
Press+ on Track to Innovate Online Payment Model
Journalism Online’s Reader Revenue Platform is slated to launch very soon. Press+, as it’s better known, could innovate the online pay process for newspapers. The payment flexibility that Press+ is slated to offer makes it attractive to affiliates who can choose to charge readers outside their traditional circulation, or set up a voluntary fee process. As well, it aims to let any consumer with a Press+ account enter payment information only once to use the account for any publisher taking part -- similar to the way Amazon and other ecommerce sites do.
Press+ has been in private beta for weeks and has kept the list of affiliate testers hush-hush, although it’s known that the New York Times and GlobalPost will are among the publishers who plan to incorporate Press+.
A recent memo from Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, the brains behind the new platform, indicated that everything is ready and their eventual launch will “equip [publishers] with market intelligence and experience so that you can incorporate best practices in your own careful launches.”
Apples & Stanzas
Last week Apple introduced iBooks, an anticipated feature of the iPad that will provide readers with more e-reader options. Less than a week later, the Amazon-owned Stanza iPhone e-books app released an upgrade in which the version notes stated: “Removed ability to share books via USB as required by Apple.”
Stanza, a leading iPhone e-book app, had previously allowed users to transfer books from their computers to the handset using both cable and WiFi via an accompanying desktop application. Only the WiFi sync feature remains.
The update confused plenty, and speculation spread about how Amazon’s prominence in the e-Book app market may prove to be one of Apple’s biggest challenges. In the end however, Apple made it known that they had “requested Stanza remove the USB functionality in their app as it was a simple case of the developer using private APIs in violation of the developer agreement.”