What will the iPad mean for publishers? – a few opinions

April 1, 2010

Interview magazine april_cover_V2a

We have out a piece which looks  at the hopes and ambitions of  traditional publishers of newspapers,  magazines and books  in the run-up to the unveiling of Apple’s  long-awaited iPad tablet device on Saturday. The consensus seems to be that the iPad will be a great boost for the industry.  Pictured above is the April issue of Interview magazine‘s version which will be available for 99 cents on launch day.

Here are a few more thoughts we couldn’t get into the  piece:

What does the iPad mean for Amazon’s Kindle?

Brian Murray, CEO Harper Collins:

“People love their Kindle but I think there’s room in the market for both a dedicated book reader like the Kindle, Sony Reader or (Barnes & Noble’s) Nook. But there’s room for a single device that can accommodate books, magazines, and newspapers and surfing the Internet like the iPad. My view is the price of the Kindle,Nook and Sony Reader is going to drop dramatically I suspect to under $100 so there will be a market for certain.”

John Makinson CEO Penguin Books:

“I don’t think there’s likely to be one dominant provider because the Kindle is a very competitive platform.”

Yesterday venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers doubled its iPhone app developer fund to $200 million as it eyes new opportunities from the iPad. Does the iPad create a new opportunity for investors?

Scott Singer, media investment banker at BankStreet and author of “How to Hit a Curveball”:

“This is a good time for investors like private  equity to  invest in local newspapers and national magazines where brands and content matter more than anything. If you can make the technological transition with devices like the iPad and bring in investors, capital and new management willing to make those changes, you have a potential recipe for monster success because prices of media assets are at rock-bottom lows.

What will be the impact of Apple’s entry to the publishing business?

Monica Ray SVP, Strategic Planning & Corporate Development,  Time Inc publisher of Time, Sports Illustrated and People:

“I think Apple makes beautiful products they have a great track record. Our whole goal is for these sorts of products to be successful across many different manufacturers. For us the real ‘ah ha’ moment was that combination of color and touch that makes a very different feeling from a pdf-type reading experience. It’s much more intimate, it looks tremendous. We realized people really will read our magazines on this device.”

Could e-reading magazines see traditional newspapers/magazines format broken up on devices like the iPad? We asked Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, chief marketing officer of Skiff, an e-reading software company backed by Hearst Publications, that has worked with devices like the iPad and new devices from Samsung.

“We’re going to focus on the full publications at launch but we’re also going to be experimenting with offering consumers different choices in terms of purchasing articles and snippets withing newspapers and magazines. But we’re going to need to explore that fully because some publishers are in favor of it but it makes some others concerned.  We’ll be experimenting with offering consumers different choices.

What does the independent magazine publisher think? Derek Butcher is chief technology officer of 8 -month old Afar print magazine an experimental travel magazine which features longer articles with a circulation of around 75,000.  Unusually the magazine will launch its iPad e-magazine before it launches it magazine content online.

Derek Butcher, CTO Afar magazine:

“As we became more aware of the iPad post Apple’s launch. We realized it’s a perfect opportunity to make the magazine digital but keep it in a format that’s still very magazine-like as our magazine is more of sit-back read than a lean-forward PC reading experience. On our app you can turn the pages like a magazine but you can also search for articles by location or category. We’re allowing people to buy a single issue or a subscription.”

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