Ick! Another Publication-in-an-App: Conde Nast GQ for iPhone Magazine in an App

Conde Nast started selling an iPhone app version of their GQ magazine in December 2009. Their recent press release titled GQ iPhone Issue App Downloads Growing and Consumer Engagement is Exceptional reports that this first iPhone $2.99 app issue was download 6,641 times ($19,856.59 before Apple took their 30% cut). The next issue saw more than 12,000 downloads at the same price ($35,880+ before Apple’s cut). While the app-magazine price will remain at $2.99, repeat customers will be able to purchase future issues for $1.99 beginning with the March issue.

Before continuing with my commentary I should note that I have not purchased any GQ app issues.

Here’s my take:

– Separate apps for each issue? Ugh! Bad idea! Note to Conde Nast: Find someone who can build a magazine viewer app that provides in-app purchases for each new issue of the magazine.

– Based on review comments in the iTunes Store, the GC apps are just network content retriever wrappers. This means that the content of each issue has to be downloaded into the app to read. This process is reportedly a slow one and precludes “reading” the magazine when EDGE/3G/WiFi is not available (for example, subways and airplanes)

– Several customer review comments notes that the app is slow (probably partially due to the need to download content) and difficult to navigate. Another note to Conde Nast: Speed and ease of use are must haves for any e-reader type app.

My dislike for most single-book/magazine/comic-in-app is familiar to you if you’ve visited this blog before. But, that aside, it is good to see legacy dead-tree publishers trying to figure out the e-publishing world. Here’s hoping Conde Nast and other figure out a good model for generation e-revenue soon.