Recipe for iPad magazine success: Interactivity and additional content

Although Apple’s new subscription option for magazines published on the iPad has led many publishers to jump in the melting pot, the recipe for a successful iPad magazine is still being ironed out. Business Insider recently published a list of the Top 10 magazines available on the device – providing a rough guide for publishers stirring up their own digital editions for the device.

Additional content is No. 1 for any magazine published on the iPad. Why would subscribers bother with the iPad subscription if it’s exactly like the print edition they can pick up at the grocery checkout or features nothing more than what is found on a publication’s website? Even weekly magazines such as The New Yorker offer additional photo galleries. Another weekly pub, PEOPLE, offers exclusive content such as celebrity video interviews on its iPad edition. Sports Illustrated serves up exclusive interviews and live sports updates over the iPad.

Interactivity is one area where an iPad edition can surpass a print version. Publishers must think, “What can this version do that paper cannot?” Besides read the magazine to you, the options are virtually and actually limitless – from videos to maps to links. Wired’s iPad edition has interactive diagrams, while O, The Oprah Magazine offers video introductions straight from the daytime diva herself as well as links to products featured in the publication. Other top magazines with interactive features include Popular Mechanics, Esquire and Self.

It certainly doesn’t hurt if a publisher offers all these additional features – and does it all for free. TIME Magazine serves up its multimedia content as well as all of the content from its print edition free for print subscribers who also use the iPad. The same goes for The New Yorker, although the publication does not provide quite as much interactivity.

Once these basic ingredients are mixed in, publishers can choose how to spice up each magazine’s iPad edition based on audience, available resources and content. A publication’s digital edition should remain true to the style and form that has roped in print subscribers to start with – but with a few dashes of additional iPad-friendly flavor.

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