Peter Kafka at All Things D’s MediaMemo has an interesting piece looking at the size problems with Condé Nast’s magazine iPad apps, such as the ones for Wired and the New Yorker. Wired’s app weighs in at half a gig for a monthly publication, and the New Yorker is 173 megabytes for a weekly.
Kafka explains that the blame can be placed on Adobe’s magazine app, which “essentially functions as an image reader”, turning each magazine page into “several big photos” rather than presenting it as text. The problem with presenting it as text in HTML, New Yorker Deputy Editor Pam McCarthy says, is that the Adobe app can’t paginate HTML—it just presents it in one long scrollable sheet, which she feels is suboptimal for reading a 10,000-word article.
McCarthy expects a version of Adobe’s software that supports HTML pagination to be available before too long, but even so the magazine doesn’t appear likely to shrink too much. And unless Apple and magazine publishers are able to iron out some kind of compromise, don’t look for subscription prices to be available either.
iPad magazine apps are pretty much a non-starter for me. I certainly don’t see any point spending too much money for a too big app that I can’t do as much with as I could a web version, and fixing the size issue will only change one of those problems.