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 found computers & the Web in grad school in the 1980s (Wesleyan) and '90s (UNC); taught journalism, media studies, Web production; retired to write, make music, photograph sunsets & walks in the woods.

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

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