That shovelware tablet edition might be killing your mag

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Country Walking on iPad

Just came across this explanation of why hobby magazines no longer have broad appeal, by a former editor of various outdoor magazine titles:

So why does someone with a long-term background in outdoor magazine publishing suddenly become bored with them? Probably for the same reason I haven’t bought a newspaper in a couple of years. I now get all the information, news and inspiration I need, things that I used to get from papers and magazines, from the Internet.

Websites like this one, social media and a handful of blogs serve my purposes these days, and they are all free. You also don’t need to chop down an Amazonian rain forest to provide the paper…

And that’s the challenge to traditional consumer publishing, in a nutshell. The problem with publishing for enthusiasts is that, now that publishing tools are widely available, enthusiasts are more likely to publish. And free, expert material from people publishing for the love of it will trump paid, journalistic material published by people who are doing it for money.

This is a terrible time to be a non-expert journalist.

Ironically enough, I found that post through a really bad review of one magazine’s attempt to go digital:

“The app is rubbish though. It’s basically the world’s simplest PDF viewer with no features to make use of technology – no links, no bookmarking, no navigation, no notes or annotation – just a bunch of pages you can only view linearly. Almost completely pointless.”

5* for the mag, 1* for the app.

I can’t help but wonder if some magazine are actually sabotaging their own futures by doing half-hearted shovelware tablet editions.

consumer magazinesiPadmagazine publishingmagazinesshovelwaretablet appstablets

Adam Tinworth Twitter

Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.