Wired reports that Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin conglomerate, announced plans for an iPad magazine, Maverick (headed by his daughter Holly), which will have no printed counterpart the way many other iPad magazines do. Branson thinks this will be an advantage in terms of marketability:
AdAge’s insiders (via Columbia Journalism Review) said Richard Branson thinks his iPad-only Maverick magazine will have a big advantage over traditional publications when it launches in the fall because it lacks a paper version. By Branson’s logic, the publishers of print magazines cannot price their digital versions low enough, because they don’t want to compete with their higher-priced print editions.
(Amusingly, Wired takes pains to point out in the very next paragraph that this isn’t always the case, given that Wired makes magazine content free on the web—but then admits in the very next sentence that it will be cutting back on that content as part of its new focus on the iPad.)
Certainly one major complaint about most iPad editions of magazines so far has been how overpriced they all tend to be. Branson might well be onto something.
Wired points out that the iPad’s multimedia capabilities represent a considerable advantage to magazine publishers over the Kindle’s “just-like-a-book” display. Magazines have long been about wowing the consumer with lots of color and slick, glossy pages—exactly the kind of thing that the Kindle can’t do.
In the rest of the article, Wired mentions some writers who have experimented with publishing magazine-like multimedia editions of their books, and then gripes for several paragraphs about Apple’s rejection of Flash, which meant Wired had to have Adobe create a separate edition of its magazine for the iPad. (Really, guys, Flash on the iPad is just not going to happen for the foreseeable future. Get over it.)