Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s a comic book reading App

February 6, 2010

Panelfly have announced an iPad version of their recent and popular iPhone comic book reading application.

Check out the iPhone video above then go and download it, not just because the cute girl tells you to, but because it’s really good.

If the iPad version is like this then it could really make a difference to the comic industry. Comics have had a bit of a decline in the last few years despite the occasional movie inspired resurgence. The iPad and other tablets could help tun that around. Publishers can release titles through the free Panelfly App, which acts like a reader and portal to the vast library of titles available. The App offers zoom functionality, bookmarking and a contents view but most excitingly it can zoom in on comic panels and scroll along in sequence, making it the ultimate portable comic book reader. Except for a comic book obviously. !BANG!

Once again, as with Pixel Mags this could not only help existing publishers but also create opportunities with smaller more independent companies. The only drawback so far is that the damn thing isn’t available in the UK, no doubt down to pubslishing logistics, but it sucks anyway. English people like comic books too! !KABOOOOM!

I love comics; they’re the perfect blend of art and story telling. The protagonist always excels in the face of adversity so it’s great to see Panelfly succeed, it’s a really nice App and the panel reader capability is a perfect solution to the iPhones size. I love this App and can’t wait to see it on the iPad, it’s gonna rock! POW!

Whilst we’re on the subject of comics check out Mal Tokyo, an awesome online comic combining photos, text and videos. As far as I’m aware only one issue was done, and that was a couple of years back. But it is a sneak peak to what could be achieved… Mal Tokyo

(Please note: I make no apologies for writing one of the worst headlines ever.)

Panelfly website

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Imagine Publishing and Pixel Mags get the ball rolling

February 6, 2010

In a bold move that should be saluted, Imagine Publishing have decided to release all their current print titles on the iPhone, using an App made by those rather interesting folk at Pixel Mags.

In the last few days it seems Pixel Mags have gone from little known magazine publisher to the most promising way of getting magazines onto the upcoming iPad.

In a process that can only be described as a piece of piss, print ready PDFs are uploaded and published in a page flip App. Customers download the magazine branded Pixel Mags viewer then download subsequent issues either on a subscription basis or individually. Once downloaded it’s a simple affair of tap to zoom, pinch to get a closer look and swiping to turn a page. Yo can search, send recommendations to friends and add bookmarks to your favourite pages.

It works well despite the App itself crashing on me a couple of times. I do however find it too much of a pain in the arse to read, these magazines just aren’t designed to be read on a screen the size of a squirrels skateboard (official scale of measure). If you can get your head around that iPhone mags are here.

Where Pixel Mags come up trumps though is that it already works on the iPad. Because Mr Jobs built in a pixel-doubling feature it will take up nearly all the iPad screen making it much, much more suitable and no doubt easier to read. My only concern would be how well the PDF pages (especially text) renders at double the size. We’ll soon see.

Imagine publish iCreate, Linux User, Digital Photographer and a whole host of other tech related titles, they are the fastest growing specialist publisher in the UK. It’s great to see people jumping on the iPad bandwagon, the more people that do so, the more likely it is to reach its final destination.

Pixel Mags offer a quick and effective way of getting magazines onto iPhones and subsequently iPads. Zinio offer similar services with more bespoke content like video, but to be honest it’s nice to see a smaller company making good software. In this interesting time for publishing I see a lot more independent companies in a good position to compete with the big corporations, and hopefully that will lead to a resurgance in creativity and better products.

According to Twitter posts Pixel Mags are also working on something top secret. Hopefully I may get a sneaky bit of info about this to share with you all, but I’d put money on it being an improved magazine App specifically for the iPad.

Click to see the Imagine press release
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Google has the answer!

November 18, 2009

Someone posted this to Twitter today, made me laugh!

That is all!


The importance of social networking for eMags

October 21, 2009

Social

Facebook:

Global audience:
305,577,640

Largest users:
1. United States 90,579,320
2. United Kingdom 21,537,820
5. Canada 13,022,640
8. Australia 7,101,920

Average user has 130 friends on the site

More than 10 million users become fans of Pages each day

More than 14 million videos uploaded each month

More than 2 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) shared each week

More than 45 million active user groups exist on the site

Every month, more than 70% of Facebook users engage with Platform applications

More than 250 applications have more than one million monthly active users

More than 15,000 websites, devices and applications have implemented Facebook Connect since its general availability in December 2008

Twitter:

Daily page views 390 million

Daily visitors 58 million

13th largest website on the internet

YouTube:

4.4 billion daily page views

300 million daily visitors

4th largest site

Stumbleupon:

28 miilion daily page views

4.7 million daily visitors

Digg:

57 million page views per day

10 millions daily visitors

That’s a pretty thin selection of stats really but gives you an idea of just how massive these sites have become. The smallest stat there is 4.7 million daily users. That’s an incredible number for anything, anywhere. Nearly 5 million people all focusing on one thing.

Magazines have started to take notice of these sites and are slowly and clumsily climbing on board. They pump RSS feeds into Twitter, they stick any old shite onto YouTube and sites like Digg or Stumbleupon are left to next year. Maybe.

The number of people sharing website url’s is staggering, in email and web its incalculable. The amount of people who send videos recommendations and pictures goes into billions. Billions no less.

Lets not loose site of how large these numbers are.

For an interactive magazine to launch, thrive and survive these sites (and many more) need to be taken advantage of. They can all be used to drive people to your magazine and enforce your brand. And in nearly all cases they are free.

Not only can they drive people to your mag, giving you high open rates which can subsequently develop more revenue. But they can also provide content, news, word of mouth, awesome SEO and also help develop a sense of community among your readership – something magazines used to have back in the day, but not anymore.

I would not launch an eMag without a sound and substantial social network plan in place, it’s just crazy. If you don’t have time then find someone that does, get a work experience kid or an intern. Better yet get a 16 year old kid with a big mouth. Those little douchebags know these sites inside out (you’re getting old don’t forget).

Use YouTube and video upload sites to post half a video with a link and a web url at the beginning and end, and the promise of seeing the whole vid inside the mag, and without the obligatory watermark.

Use Twitter to drive people to specific pages “Did you miss our exclusive Palm Pre review? url…)

If you’re out on a shoot or a press even Tweet whilst you go, use TwitPic to post teasers. If it fits your style, you can also post videos straight to YouTube.

Use Twitter to promote feedback. Post polls or questions, set challenges to get people chatting about you

Make sure your eMags have Digg and Stumbleupon icons easily accessible (like eDition offers within it browser).

Use podcasts and video casts if you have time. Make them entertaining and you’ll stand a good chance of getting a good download rate. Total Film’s videocast has done great guns recently, an excellent bit promotion whilst really upholding editorial principles and personality.

Forums are an excellent way to promote your magazines. iMotor has a great thing going by featuring simple Flash based games within a magazine page. The game relates to a recent motoring news topic and the gets posted on a few forums, and before you know it, it’s gone around like wild fire.

Facebook has become mandatory in 100 countries. Well not quite but it’s an immense resource. A friend of mine recently started a fan page for the Lions Rugby Tour, within weeks he had 10,000 “fans” all of whom are contactable via mail. All of whom can also see your updates and posted links… directing to your magazine.

Use social networks as much as you can. Use it to promote your products but also to create a brand, to get across your editorial opinions and personality  to create a following.

In the absense of Flash on the iPhone social networks are a great tool to keep your readers in the loop and entice them into visiting when they find something capable of Flash (ie, everything else!).

It’s all about open rates and getting subscribers to your ever important email list.

Don’t underestimate the power of social networking. Or the Force, that’s pretty powerful as well.