PaidContent has an article on “the anti-web movement”—the trend toward moving electronic versions of magazines away from the web and into salable apps that offer the lure of easy revenue and a different form factor from what the web can currently do.
After the desktop OS and browser wars of the late 90s settled down in to uniform web standards, many of us had thought the web, which runs through my veins, would become the mobile platform of choice in the same way. But, the rise of the revenue-making app store sales channel has coincided with publishers’ realisation that, if there are precious few ways of monetising content on the desktop web, then little would be different on the handset or tablet flavour.
But at the same time, another PaidContent piece notes that Scribd is calling out publishers for wasting time, money, and effort creating their own iPad apps. It’s not that they shouldn’t create iPad apps at all, but that Scribd can do it for them better and cheaper using its new HTML5 framework.
As an example, on May 25th Scribd released a free special issue of Forbes profiling Warren Buffett, which has since been read over 26,000 times.
While the Forbes issue is not technically a magazine app, it certainly can act the way apps like Wired’s does, including allowing for interactive content and ads. Because it’s html5, the downloaded Scribd digital mag would have enough cached material so that users can still read even if they’re not connected to the internet.
Whereas Wired’s app takes up 500 megabytes of space, Scribd’s HTML5 apps can be much smaller and lighter. It can also be read on a lot more different devices—both tablets and desktop environments.
While I favor keeping as much content as possible on the web where anything with a browser can access it, Scribd’s HTML5 version seems like a potentially reasonable alternative.