The problem with iPad magazine apps

Patricio Robles, EConsultancy

Prior to the launch of the iPad, many magazine publishers hoped that the iPad might do for them what the iPod and iTunes did for digital music: provided a viable marketplace for them to sell their wares. Operative word: sell.

Getting consumers to pay for content has, of course, proven challenging for many magazine publishers. And despite the warm reception the iPad has received from consumers, it hasn’t exactly meant overnight success for publishers that have rushed to develop iPad versions of their magazines.

According to GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram, one reason for this is that most magazine apps are “walled gardens.” In critiquing Esquire’s new iPad app, for instance, he writes:

The new Esquire app also has plenty of “interactivity,” if by that you mean the ability to click and watch an ad for a new Lexus, or listen to cover boy Javier Bardem recite a Spanish poem, or swipe your finger and watch a timeline of the construction of the new World Trade Center. All of those are very cool — but if you are looking for the kind of interactivity that allows you to post a comment on a story, or to share a link via Twitter, or to post anything to a blog and then link back to the magazine, you are out of luck. In fact, if you like the app or any of the stories within it, your only option is to close the app completely and then email someone to tell them that you liked it.

Ingram has a point. Many iPad apps do sort of, as he writes, resemble “an interactive CD-ROM from the 1990s.”

Read the full critique at EConsultancy …