Hi everyone, my name is Rich Truesdell and I am the owner of a new iPad 2 16GB WiFi. (It's the first Apple product for me.) I am also the founder and editor of an online-only magazine called Automotive Traveler, which as the title suggests is about cars, travel, and great road trips.
Our magazine is browser-based rather than app-based. We've developed a universal viewer that works inside your browser to view each issue which is stored on our server, like a web page, but different.
The difference is that each page is an actual magazine-style layout so it is fixed. Each page in Automotive Traveler Magazine and on AutomotiveTraveler.com is laid out like a double-page spread in a magazine (horizontally/landscape-style). The size of the font used in the layout is selected so that on devices with screens eight inches and up, you should be able "read" the entire "page" without the need zoom or scroll. If this seems hard to understand, just click here.
(I believe that our presentation is enhanced by viewing Automotive Traveler using a full-screen browser. The first thing I did after setting up my iPad 2 was to install the full-screen browser Terra.),
Right now we're trying to determine if we need to develop a dedicated app to reach a wider audience. Right now we have almost 50,000 unique visitors to the magazine and its companion website each month but based on our analysis, less than one percent are using an iPad as opposed to almost four percent viewing on an iPhone.The rest are viewing the content on netbooks, laptops, and desktops with less than 10 percent using Apple operating systems (but that percentage is growing which is one of the main reasons for this post).
Right now we're finalizing the next issue that will publish on Wednesday but are already deep in planning the following issue that will publish in May as we ramp up to a monthly publishing schedule. I'm writing to get feedback from iPad owners and suggestions as to how we can improve our presentation and to determine from iPad owners the need to develop a dedicated app.
I'd like to use something already developed, off the shelf, instead of having to develop one from scratch. I like things simple so what I am looking for is a solution that will offer me an optimized full-screen presentation that will allow a swipe function while allowing me to embed active links, and to be able to open separate video windows. Is anyone aware of an existing solution that you think might work for us. (I am open to hearing pitches from iPad app developers out there reading this.)
Because we plan to remain a free publication that ultimately will be fully supported by advertising, we're staying clear of the battle between Apple and the big publishing houses over subscription revenue and subscriber data. With that being said, what are the thoughts here of having a free app and a 99 cent per issue price for a paid version? I see many magazines doing this.
While I look at the short-term situation with more than 10 million iPads sold here in the US, I'm looking at the bigger picture, long-term, when there will be an installed base of more than 50 million tablets (iPads as well as competitors) and what we need to do to reach a meaningful number of readers to not only be attractive to the advertisers that we need to support us, but essential to their overall marketing plans.
I hope that many of you will take a few minutes to view the current issue of Automotive Traveler as well as the six previously published issues. If you like the content, please let me know. If there's something that you think we should be covering, I want to know that as well. If there's areas for us to improve -- I know that we're at the beginning of the process and our success long term will be driven by our readers -- please, give me your comments.
To make things easier, I have included a poll below and I hope that you will participate after taking a look at Automotive Traveler. If you would like to make contributions to Automotive Traveler, in either the car or travel categories, please contact me directly via E-mail. I love working with new or aspiring writers and I hope that you'll agree that after viewing Automotive Traveler, that it is content that stands apart and above our online competitors, that it is much more like reading a "real" magazine than just another website or blog.
Have a great weekend,
Co-Founder and Editorial Director, Automotive Traveler Magazine, AutomotiveTraveler.com