Pete Cashmore, the founder of social media guide Mashable has written about the iPad in his regular column on CNN. While Mashable publishes frequently about the iPad in this column Cashmore is asking questions about the device and the hopes pinned on it by the publishing industry.
Much has been said about the iPad’s ability to reinvigorate the publishing industry. But the first generation of magazine apps on the iPad fall short: They’re an attempt to turn the clock back, rather than move the medium forward. Having splurged on a half-dozen iPad magazines this month, they’re now gathering dust on my home screen, never to be read again.
Putting magazines back into this bundled format completely ignores the atomization of media that occurred with the rise of the Web: Every piece of content is located and referenced using a link. It’s like being forced to download the entire album when you only wanted one song
Cashmore also points to the Techdirt blog that I have referred to on this site a number of times. Techdirt founder Mike Masnick compares the device to the CD-Rom, also once hailed as the saviour for publishers. These excerpts contain a few links to others that are critical towards the iPad.
I’m reminded of that after Tom Teshima pointed us to Michael Gartenberg’s review of Wired’s well-hyped iPad app, where he, too, notes the similarities to CD-ROMness:Gartenberg notes that the iPad version is, in some ways, a worstof both worlds. It’s not like the website, which is easily shared or emailed or discussed with others. Most of that functionality is effectively missing, which is really quite limiting for folks who are used to sharing the news as a part of experiencing it. Second, it doesn’t allow physical notations or markup the way an actual paper magazine does — or, again, the ability to easily share the magazine with others. You could share your iPad, but that’s not quite the same thing…
Masnick goes on to explain how the economics (i.e. pricing of apps) do not stack up. Instead of recognising that digital distribution has reduced cost and therefore content should be cheaper apps are in fact more expensive than their paper counterparts. Masnick thinks this is unsustainable.
What do you think? Are magazines on the iPad a great way to showcase much more rich content or will the trend quickly face out, just like the CD-Rom before it?