Considering the future of the Mag-App-Book

Khoi Vinh (, former design director at  The New York Times, offered some design-inspired thoughts the other day on “why most of the current crop of iPad magazine apps have dim prospects for long-term success,” which has prompted dozens of intelligent comments and a follow-up post: My-ipad-magazine-stand and more-on-ipad-magazines.

The combination sent me looking for something I’d read by Bob Stein a while ago,  The future of the app,  and an interview he did on NPR’s On The Media.

Stein’s Voyager company was creating innovative e-books and before that video discs back before the Web was spun. Some of them were so good, I’m thinking of buying an old computer that can still play them.  … which has me worried about the portability, searchability, longevity, archivability and general persistence of material created in the form of “apps” for particular computer, tablet or smartphone hardware.

I suspect folks like Bob Stein and Khoi Vinh are thinking about those issues, too… so I’m posting this here as a reminder to dip back into those discussions at their blog sites more often.

Online magazine or app publishing systems mentioned in the discussion, and related links:

Footnote: Unrelated, but interesting — The Observer on Khoi Vinh’s departure from the Times.

Related: Recent Chronicle of Higher Education article on Michael J. Bugeja and Daniela V. Dimitrova’s Vanishing Act: The Erosion of Online Footnotes and Implications for Scholarship in the Digital Age, lamenting the way redesigns and e-comings-and-goings kill links, even on the open Web. (We were on a panel discussion of related issues at AEJMC six years ago.)

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.

Posted in Future of news, Internet, Journalism, Magazines, Tablets & eBook Readers, WebDesign

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