Saturday, January 01, 2011

Time Magazine, why more expensive on iPad?

Screen shot 2011-01-01 at 1.01.03 PM.pngMany years ago Time Magazine purchased a site license for some Mac software I wrote. I was grateful and in return took out a five year subscription to the magazine. The weekly overview of what happened is a cycle I like, it tends to overcome the daily need for news reports to come up with a big story when perhaps there isn't anything.

After a while though Time seemed tired and old so I let my subscription expire. Having been a subscriber I now get amazing offer letters from them trying to woo me back. They offer a deep discount on the cover price combined with a free gift. (The gifts look bad even in the picture they provide). The current price offer is $1.85 per week delivered in "dead tree format". The gift is a travel bag and binoculars.

Despite their obviously poor editorial judgement in choosing Mark Zuckerberg over Julian Assange as the person of the year, I thought I'd grab the iPad app and have a read.

Screen shot 2011-01-01 at 1.08.30 PM.png

First up, the iTunes store is awash with bad ratings and comments for the iOS edition. Secondly they want you to pay $5.99 per copy to read it on a tablet. This smacks of a paper based publisher that wants to appear to track the trend to e-publishing while engineering a failure.

Why on earth isn't it cheaper to deliver electronically than printed to the door?

I bought an issue and the magazine looks great on the screen. The app uses a side swipe to move story to story and a vertical drag to read an article (there's no "pages" as such).

So, note to Richard Evans, President TIME International, who writes to me each year, I like your discount price for subscriptions but please let me have that in my iPad. By the way, I love the way they want you to peel off a "Yes" sticker and stick it in the FREE gift box - so oldey timey.

While I'm here, it's clear that Apple needs to come out with a bundled iMagazine app that avoids every magazine publisher re-inventing the wheel.

Update: cheap on kindle

I've just noticed that Time is $2.99 per month on the Amazon Kindle so that's about 75 cents a copy compared to $5.99 a copy on iPad. Also the 75 cents include delivery via wireless broadband.

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