I used to have plan to used iPad2 as a replacement for buying monthly magazines. I see (and assume) that e-magazines are cheaper than the real one (from my experiences with Kindle), save space to keep the hardcopy, more interactive, can bring it anywhere and there are many Thai magazines available on iPad platform (and keep growing, yeh from my assumption again).
After I have chance to proof it by myself, below are the truths that I found.
1. Yeh, it save space in your room to keep the hardcopy but you still need to have spaces to keep it on your iPad. Differ from Kindle books, iPad magazines are a lot bigger. We may bring 100+ (if not reach 1,000) books with us on Kindle, but we can’t do that with iPad since the e-magazines mostly size 200-300 MB and upper. If you own 16 GB model, you may have limit to take around 30 magazines with you.
2. Due to its size (200-300 MB), you will need hispeed wifi to download new issue of the magazine without too much stress. I need to spend at least 5-10 minutes each to fully download the whole magazine without doing any other thing (working on mac while let iPad downloading) since if we swap to use other applicatiion, the download process will automatically been paused. Again, differ from Kindle that we can buy and downdoad new book anywhere we want in just minutes or two, that not yet possible for iPad e-magazine.
3. For the interactive advantages of e-magazine on iPad, that currently be seen only from international magazines like Wired, they really do great job on this. But for Thai e-magazines, it’s kind like a digital scanning version of the papar version. Think about reading e-magazines in PDF format, that it currently feel like for now.
4. About the saving money issue, some Thai magazines give discount for the iPad version, but some not. I feel a bit surprise to find out that many publishers sell digital magazine on iPad in the same price (if not more due to the exchange rate) with the hardcopy version. I never saw this with international publishers yet.
5. For the availability, yes, many of Thai publishers now selling their magazines on iPad, for example, GM group, Men’s health, etc. But some not yet start selling even they said in they hardcopy magazine that “found us on iPad today”. It’s a bit trickky, yes I found them on iPad, they currently provide app on iPad, but with only preview issues without update or some with only preview content and tell me to buy the hardcopy version ?!? And only Thai fashion related magazines that goes iPad, not yet for any Thai Marketing related magazines (saddd..)
6. When new issues coming, it also make me surprise that the digital version magazine are slower available than the hardcopy. What it feel to see the magazine already on sell (hardcopy) but not yet seen any sign for the iPad version. Some publishers take around a week after the hardcopy version released to have the iPad version released. Or this is intention due to they don’t want the digital version to canibalize their hardcopy business? But I heard some info that it may due to the iPad version need to wait Apple to approve for each issue.
7. Let’s talk about Apple own iBook store a bit. This store was great but not yet for Thai people. Same like iTune music store that only US people (with US credit card) can make purchase. So, although we want to read it on iPad, the only choice now for international business e-books for Thai people is still Kindle. Anyway, you can read your Kindle books with color experiences on iPad without to pay any more money for the books you already purchases.
So, in conclusion, for me, it’s not yet the time to stop buying hardcopy Thai magazines and turn to iPad. But i really enjoy Wired magazinez on iPad a lot. 😉