Though I blog (at the behest and urging of my colleagues), occassionally Twitter and often use Facebook and social bookmarking tools such as Delicious, I am a self-defined “late adopter” when it comes to technology. I was the last one on the block to switch from a walkman (yep, with the tapes) to a portable CD player to an iPod, didn’t get a cell phone until mandated by my job and yes, I still enjoy reading my magazines the old fashioned way – in hand, hard copy, please.
I relish the few minutes I get alone with my magazines, pouring through them, dog-earing pages and sometimes, tearing out articles, recipes and designs of interest. You can’t do this with an iPad, so why would I ever get one?
Well, maybe because as of yesterday, that’s the only way one can read Gourmet magazine. The pub which ceased publication about a year ago is back and it sounds like it will be better than ever.
The Gourmet app will include articles, menus, photos, and video, and will also contain strong social networking component, linking up with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the Gourmet name as far as possible on the Web. Best of all, it will be free.
One has to question whether Gourmet is taking too much of a risk by creating an app for a publication whose former audience doesn’t quite match that of the average iPad use. Like most epicurean magazines and magazines in general, Gourmet saw its average readership age rise between 2001-2009 (by 5.7 years for Gourmet). Will that audience use the iPad? Perhaps the bet is that by offering the publication in a new medium with a new, interactive format, they will attract a younger audience. Still initial usage of the iPad is dominated by men in the 35-44 age group, fitting the standard profile for early adopters. This is not the average Gourmet reader.
According to engadget.com, Gourmet will not be the first publication to develop an app specifically for iPad. Wired magazine’s first iPad edition sold more than 90,000 copies at the regular print newsstand price of $4.99 each — an accomplishment considering that few publishers have been able to charge for their content online. Others include:
- The Wall Street Journal (free app, $3.99/week subscription required for full content
- New York Times Editor’s Choice (free)
- Associated Press (free)
- USA Today (free app, will require paid subscription after July 4)
- Thomson Reuters News Pro (free)
- Le Monde ($.99 app, today’s paper free, archive requires purchase)
- Time ($4.99 per issue)
- Popular Science (free app, $4.99 per issue)
- Zinio (free app, magazine pricing ranges)
Is the iPad water, heat and flour proof? If not, I think I’ll still stick with my hard copies – particularly for epicurean magazines. I’m a bit of a messy cook and I enjoy reading them my own way – from back to front, with dog-eared pages.