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I’m a longtime subscriber to both Book Business and Publishing Executive magazines, so I was happy to see both recently released as free iPad apps (iTunes links here and here).  Like most magazine apps to date, they’re simply digital reproductions of the print edition.

One of the nicer options is that anytime you see an url on the page you can touch it and quickly jump to that website.  Unlike most ereader apps available today, you go directly to the site without leaving the app; a built-in browser appears on the bottom half of the screen, resulting in a user experience that’s far better than any other I’ve seen.  Amazon and Apple, why are you guys unable to offer something as simple as this in your ebook reader apps?! (This is exactly why I’m pleading with Amazon to open source their ereader app.  They could offer a much richer reading experience if they’d just let the community help.)

As much as I appreciate having these two magazines as apps there’s one key feature that’s missing: the social aspect. I’ve never been one to write letters to the editor but I guarantee you I’d be more engaged if I could just touch the screen and post something about the article I just read.  I’d also love to see what other readers have to say using that same one-touch access.  They could use the same pop-up window approach they used for the browser so you could see the article and comments on the same screen.  Reader comments are a basic of every newspaper and magazine website, so why isn’t it built into apps like these?

Via Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 blog

[Full disclosure: Book Business and Publishing Executive are publications of NAPCO, which also owns TeleRead.]