Last week a guest post by Jon Lund appeared on GigaOm with the titillating headline, Why Tablet Magazines are a Failure. The article (and the 50+ comments from very smart people) is worth reading, though I disagree with the overall premise. Indeed, the tablet magazine can and will be the future of publishing once the industry completely embraces the full potential of the medium, which is only now just beginning to happen. To claim that digital magazines are dead is akin to proclaiming your kid is not college material because he didn't walk at 9 months. Lund's statistics aren't wrong; they are simply not yet a reasonable predictor of success or failure.
"Immersive content" is not just a catchy phrase. Reader engagement levels in tablet magazine apps are proving that quality content has the power to draw readers in, hold their interest and motivate them to pay for app subscriptions.
I graduated from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in 1982 having never used a computer during my undergraduate education. When I began selling for Popular Science and Times Mirror magazines in 1987, our offices at 380 Madison Ave. had rotary dial phones (clearly without voice mail). We had no fax machines or Federal Express; insertion orders came in via the U.S. Postal Service. No computers, no database-management systems of any kind, no Internet—and obviously no iPods, HD flat-screen TVs or smartphones. My secretary actually took dictation.