Book and Magazine Publishing and the iPad

Well, I have had my  iPad for a little over three weeks now and I have to say, I love it!  At this point I am just trying to figure out how to use all of its features, buy apps that will work for my students and classes and letting my kids use it to read and play games-which, might be the biggest learning experience of all so far.  They just naturally get it!

My plan is to use the iPad to guide my students next semester as they intern and write their thesis papers.  My students work in both the book and magazine publishing industries and obviously, the iPad is having a huge impact on both industries.   I am hoping to get a few more iPads for students and faculty mentors to truly assist them in the classroom for next semester but at the moment, I am trying to get a real sense of what publishers are doing with this new technology and to develop my classes  with a strong iPad component/focus next semester.

The first books I downloaded were from rather large list of free books-Some of them were pretty great to have-like the iPad user guides and a copy of Henry Ketcham’s The Life of Abraham Lincoln.  There were a couple of free children’s books, like Bella the Dragon and Winnie-the Pooh and while my 8 year old loved making the pages turn, they really were just books on computer.  Then, I downloaded the Alice for the iPad app.  We all loved it and while I think books for children could be even more interactive, one can see the future when looking at this app.  What fun to make Alice grow larger and larger with a swipe of your hand!

Since this is my first “ereader” I was kind of excited and anxious about buying and ebook-I really wanted to get Keith Richard’s autobiography, LIFE, the kind of book I love to keep on my bookshelf.  Well, the price was right-$12.99-and I bought the electronic version.  The reading experience has been great.  I forget it is not on paper and I love being able to swipe through the photo inserts-and, my house won’t be bursting at the seams with books that I don’t really have a place for.  By the way, it is a pretty interesting read!

I still have more to do in terms of investigating what book publishers are doing but clearly; ebooks are here to stay-especially if electronic reading devices become more accessible to the masses (and not just the affluent or techies).

Regarding magazines—I was really excited about buying magazines on the iPad-to me is seems like the perfect medium and really a way to bring stories to life with layed content and vibrant photos and videos.  The first magazine I downloaded was Chris Anderson’s WIRED Magazine.  Since Conde Nast and Mr. Anderson in particular, are on the forefront of technology and one of the first to make their magazine truly “wired” I had great expectations.  While I found the content compelling, it really was just a magazine in an electronic format.  The next one I downloaded was the New Yorker-same thing.

Then, I downloaded the new edition of Martha Stewart Living Digital Issue-amazing.  This is what the iPad was meant for!  It is truly amazing and fully utilizes all of the technology available in the iPad-the cover is interactive (great to see a peony blossom), there are videos of Martha in her garden, 180 degree views of her garden, layers to the stories, a well organized toc, and a great interview with Martha about done by John Maeda, the President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).  It is a really interesting interview and gives some insight into what the future holds in terms of magazines.  I am also going to buy Oprah next to see what they did with their magazine.  I would be very happy to get only the electronic versions of both of these-to archive on my iPad instead of sadly sending them to be recycled.

My thinking after looking at what Martha did in relation to my students and classes is two-fold-1) I really want to reach out them and a Professor and as the Director of Corporate Outreach to get our students involved with the work they are doing on a deeper level.  We do have one graduate over there already so, that is an in but I have feeling that they would be interested in having our student work with them specifically on the iPad versions of their magazines.  2) The interview done by Mr. Maeda really made me think about our curriculum and what we need to be offering in terms of Magazine Production and Design.  While we are not a RISD, we do have the facilities and resources to “beef up” that aspect of our program by developing new courses that are specifically related to iPod apps.  Lots to think about

On another note, the same day I downloaded Martha, an interesting article was published in AdAge that stated that “Magazine apps aren’t big among consumers’ interests on the iPad”  The link to the article is below.

Other findings from the study showed the following:

People in the market for an  iPad aren’t all consumer technophiles: 45% own four or more other devices such as a DVR, an HDTV, a Smartphone or an MP3 player, but another 40% own just two or three and 15% own one or none. “It starts to indicate to us what the potential market is for these devices,” Mr. Shiffman said.

People expect to get new experiences from the iPad. “There’s an expectation that experiences will be different even with familiar media products and brands,” said Kelly Andrews, senior VP-research at MediaVest.

But consumers will tolerate misfires from marketers and media companies better than usual. They want to experiment with these companies, Mr. Shiffman said.

Advertising needs to appear in the proper context on an iPad, even more so than in print. When people can be so selective about the types of content they consume, the importance of fitting advertising with the context ramps up, according to Mr. Shiffman.

The audience with the most interest in the iPad skews a little bit male and toward 18- to 34-year-olds, but not overwhelmingly so, and tends to live in the largest cities.

So, that is where I am at right now.  I am going to turn my attention to features of the iPad that will help me teach and organize my classes next.  I love the Apps of the week featured in the blog and hearing about what everyone else is learning/doing with their iPads.