Any tool that allows an Insurgent Creative to compete on the same playing field as large gatekeeper companies gets my attention, and I’ve been impressed by this one in particular. Mag+ is a service that offers free software for production of publications for digital tablets, without coding, and fee-based publication of that tablet content as a branded app on the app store of your choice.
In early 2010, the Bonnier Corporation, the publishers of Popular Science, partnered with London-based design firm BERG to create Mag+, a magazine publishing platform for tablets, and launched in April 2010, with version of Popular Science available in the iTunes store the same day the iPad launched. The Mag+ platform offers free plugin software for Adobe InDesign (the industry-standard desktop publishing layout software), as well as a free Preview Reader allowing you to check your work on your own tablet. Once you’re ready to publish, that’s where the fees kick in. Mag+ will publish your magazine app as a single-issue app for $199 (for a single type of tablet — iOS, Android or Kindle Fire starting in 2012), or you can publish unlimited issues from your own in-app storefront for $2500 (with expansion to another tablet OS or another language for $500). There’s also an enterprise-level feature at $3000 per month, which entitles you to hosting, free personal support, etc. — but that’s pretty much the corporate level. The first two levels, though are certainly doable by an Insurgent Creative, given the one-time fee. The pricing and features are detailed here.
Here’s an overview of the service:
What is Mag+? from Mag+ on Vimeo.
There have been a lot of digital publishing roll-outs over the past year and a half, and most of them have been solidly aimed at Corporate clients, unfortunately. I was especially disappointed by Adobe’s official Digital Publishing suite, which was priced at such a way as to actively discourage Insurgent Creatives from participating — a move which I felt was antithetical to their previously-established philosophy. I’m very glad to see Mag+ taking up the seemingly-abandoned niche of offering high-quality service to individuals and small businesses as well as larger corporations, with tiered pricing. Any Insurgent Creative can afford $199 in production cost to get onto the largest app stores in the world… and if you’re planning on a project with more than 12 releases, the $2500 level makes economic sense (less than that, you’re better off paying the $199 per release).
You’re not limited to “magazines” either — there’s no reason why an Insurgent Creative couldn’t use Mag+ to release a comic book, or a role-playing game, or even a unique digital story, using the format and tools (embedded HTML5 functions such as video, etc. — again, all achievable via Mag+ without coding) to create an entirely new product category. I find the possibilities of this platform really exciting!
We’ll be back tomorrow with another entry. In the meantime, as always:
Storm the gates!