New iBook – iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet

In the field of newspaper design, Dr. Mario Garcia is a bit of a legend. Having worked on more than 500 projects including working with some of the biggest news organizations in the World, such as Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Die Zeit, his experience and expertise is unparalleled.

As I started working on the OC Register iPad strategy, I became an avid reader of Mario’s blog. You see, Mario “got it” early on. He knew that the iPad would open new doors of opportunity and the time was ripe to start experimenting with this new and exciting canvas.

So, it’s very fitting what started as individual blog posts about iPad design now has become a full-fledged, multi-touch iBook (buy it in iTunes) dedicated to the exploration of tablet design for news apps.

Mario describes his book as a

“digital book for our times, whether you are a reporter, editor, designer, teacher, student, or just a tablet user with curiosity about strategies that lead to good storytelling in this marvelous new platform.”

Check out the intro video:

The book is chockfull of good information. Really, it should be required reading for anyone in news and content industries just starting to explore the tablet canvas. Mario covers these topics in the book: Storytelling, Navigation, Look & Feel, Pop-Ups, Advertising, Economics, and Media Quartet.

Of course, true to his tablet design beliefs, the book has an abundance of photo slide shows, audio and video files, hyper links, and much more. But the multi-media never get in the way of the written words. Fortunately, words still play an important part in the New World.

I’m honored to have contributed a case study for the book in the form of video interviews with my fellow colleagues at Next Issue on topics ranging from introducing Next Issue to talking about creating navigation paradigms for digital magazines. Case studies are a big part of the book by the way. And that’s great. We are all learning and experimenting together.

Congratulations Mario on a great and educational book! (Also congrats to Reed, who I know worked very hard as editor and art director on the book).

Buy iPad Design Lab in iTunes for $9.99 (you can get a sample for free too)

What is Next Issue all about?

Haven’t really talked about my day-time job at Next Issue too much on this blog, but here’s an opportunity to share. In a nutshell, we offer enhanced editions of the world’s most popular magazines, optimized for tablets.

At CES last week, I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Ian Hamilton, my former colleague from OC Register and writer for the OC Unwired blog. In the interview we discuss where Next Issue fits in the digital publishing space. Specifically, Ian asks why we are focusing on Android tablets. Check out my answer to that and my pointers on what makes Next Issue unique. We are just getting started and 2012 will be an exciting year for us. Stay tuned for more news.

Let me know what you think of the video.

Check out Ian’s blog post here.

Four digital strategies publishers should pursue in 2012

It’s that time of the year. The time for top ten lists and predictions about the future. I’ll settle for four digital tips to help guide publishers’ digital strategies for 2012. One for each category: Revenue, Content, Design and Platform.

Revenue: Get serious about e-commerce

I’ve been advocating for quite some time that publishers should get serious about e-commerce, and with the rise of tablets, the opportunity is just getting bigger and bigger. E-commerce on mobile devices alone will top $6 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $31 billion in 2016.

In particular, tablet owners seem excited about shopping directly from their devices. Even better, they want to shop from within publications. In “The Magazine Mobile Reader” report released by MPA a couple of months ago, 59% of respondents said they would like to buy directly from adverts in digital magazines and 79% said they want to be able to purchase products and services directly from editorial features.

eMediaVitals’ Rob O’Regan sees three ways for publishers to pursue e-commerce:

  1. Sell your own stuff
  2. Sell other brands’ stuff
  3. Recommend other brands’ stuff

Whatever the path, it’s time to take advantage of the relationship publishers have with readers and start selling. Continue reading “Four digital strategies publishers should pursue in 2012”

A Publisher’s Guide to Tablet Innovation

The tablet market was established one year ago with the introduction of the iPad. No publishing company can say they have discovered the right strategy for serving audiences through this channel. The technology is evolving rapidly and new tablet devices are coming on the market every month. To remain relevant, you have to be able to change course faster than ever.

Recently, we launched The Orange County Register iPad app. The app is just one publisher’s experiment among many others to create a relevant news experience for tablets. I am 100% sure we did not hit the bullseye with the OCR app. Our readers have told us so. And that is great. A runaway hit would have been fantastic, but it was never expected. Rather, the idea all along has been to release the app, ask for feedback, then improve the app accordingly. Quickly.

We have created a framework for innovation to help us do two things: 1) Ensure continuous product development, 2) Set us up for the next breakthrough idea. This framework is specific to the tablet space, but it could easily be adapted for any other industry. Below, I am describing our framework in detail. Continue reading “A Publisher’s Guide to Tablet Innovation”

E-commerce Represents New Play for Local Publishers

Local news publishers have always been in the business of enabling transactions on behalf of advertisers. It started with preprints in the newspaper, then digital preprints, and then coupons on news websites. The next frontier for commerce lies in mobile. Mobile innovation is required in order for publishers to remain relevant to local advertisers, a topic I covered in an earlier blog entry. How can they help advertisers take full advantage of location-based services? How can they help advertisers connect with mobile users when they are comparison-shopping inside the store? For further reading, check out a recent article from Mashable: “5 Ways Mobile Will Transform Commerce.”

In this blog entry, I am proposing taking it a step further. As publishers continue to look for new revenue streams in response to declining advertising and circulation revenue, commerce represents an attractive opportunity. Continue reading “E-commerce Represents New Play for Local Publishers”