First a big thanks to everybody who downloaded our new magazine, “Light it” yesterday. Launching a magazine in this day and age is tricky business, but the initial response was even better than we had hoped, and we’re very grateful to our readers, writers, and the industry for their support and enthusiasm for this launch. It was really an exciting day for us.
Of course, with something new like this it has generated a lot of emotion (ahem) and questions surrounding the launch, so I thought I’d addresses a few of them here today in a quick Q&A. Here goes:
Q. I know the premiere issue is free, but how much are subsequent issues?
A. They’re just $2.99 per issue. Cheap.
Q. How can you sell it so cheap?
A. We followed the model of more established magazines in that we clearly have no business plan, or a dream of ever making a profit. However, if at any time we suddenly feel like it somehow could become profitable, don’t worry—we’ll raise the price.
Q. Why is everybody so mad that you released this new magazine?
A. Everybody’s not mad. Just the folks who don’t have iPads.
Q. Are you planning to release an Android version?
A. For now, we’re just releasing this iPad version.
Q. You are totally being an elitist by just addressing people who can afford an iPad, aren’t you?
A. A Nikon SB-900 flash runs around $497.50 at B&H Photo. You can buy an iPad for $2.50 more. I guess anyone who has two dollars and 50 cents more than what a SB-900 costs is now part of a privileged, elitist group. Where does that put people who own an Nikon or Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 at around $2,200? Clearly, they should be in jail.
Q. How much do you actually get each year for hawking Apple’s products?
A. In the interest of full disclosure, we are paid approximately $631,000 annually from our product promotions deal with Apple, including what we do in print, in our Podcasts, and at live events.
Q. Are you kidding me?!
A. Of course I’m kidding you. We don’t get a dime from Apple. Never, ever have. We couldn’t get Apple to send us as much as a free pencil if we tried (though I did get a free Apple t-shirt about 7 years ago from a guy who worked at an Apple store, which was pretty cool).
Q. So you mean, you chose to release for the iPad because that’s what the vast majority of people are using?
A. This is going to be shocking, but….yes. It was a business decision. A simple one at that.
Q. But what about all the Android tablets and all other tablets?
A. Read this article from CNN.com two days ago, and that should make it obvious.
Q. I understand the desire to to just release on the iPad, but you are seriously limiting your market.
A. I really appreciate the business advice, and even more so, you being so concerned about us limiting our profits.
Q. So will there ever be a version for Android?
A. Aquafadas (The French company that we worked with to create the iPad mag App) doesn’t currently have a solution for Android, but they’re hoping to have one in place by November of this year. If we feel the magazine is a big enough success to expand its distribution to Android (which I hope it is), it ‘ll take us a couple of months to test the new software, get the kinks out and so on, so the first possible launch of an Android edition would be after the first of the year.
Q. How about a version for the Mac App store, so I can watch it on my MacBook Pro
A. When we came up with the idea for this magazine, we didn’t say “We want to create a digital magazine.” We wanted to create a magazine for the iPad. It is precisely what inspired us. This was never intended to be a Web-based magazine, or one that could be read on a computer, or a PDF—we wanted to create something around the iPad. If there wasn’t an iPad, we never would have wanted to create the magazine in the first place.
Q. But aren’t we entitled to have this App on the operating system we chose?
A. The creation of the App was not funded by your tax dollars, so therefore….no.
A. No buts. This isn’t the only resource in the world for lighting techniques. Try this (link)
Q. Why are there two downloads for just one App?
A. The first one is basically the magazine rack—-where future will be available, and that’s the smaller download. The big download (the second one) is actually the magazine itself. The good news is; you only have to download the magazine rack once, so in the future it’ll just be issues that download.
Q. Why is the download so large?
A. Most magazines we’ve seen on the App Store run around the 250-300MB or larger range. Embedding HD video like we did does affects the file size, but at the same time thanks to that you don’t have to be connected to the Internet to watch the video. That being said; never fear—-we’re definitely working on ways to keep the file size smaller and more manageable.
Q. Are you planning on adding any new features? (bookmarking, highlighting, downloading in background, and so on?
A. You betcha. We are the first U.S. customer for the French developer of the mag App and they’re very responsive and forward thinking, so we’re going to be adding lots of great things going forward, but we’re being careful to keep it simple and intuitive and not making it gimmicky or complex.
Q. When is the 2nd issue coming out?
A. The 2nd issue is already complete, and we’re going to release it a little sooner than the normal 8-issues per year because we just can’t wait (so look for it in September, or very early Oct). The 2nd issue is that much better, that much slicker, with more pages, and just some flat-out amazing tutorials, tips and lighting techniques.
Q. What about a version for iPhones or Android phones?
A. I wouldn’t hold your breath for that one.
Q. Why not?
A. Because eventually you’ll pass out.
Q. Well, can I still carry on and whine about the whole Android thing like I never read any of this?
A. Absolutely. Could I stop you anyway?
Well, that’s it for my Q&A today. Of course, we have a more detailed FAQ on the Light It landing page, so I hope you’ll check that out, too.
Thanks again to every one who helped make this launch such a success, and in particular I want to thank our in-house Creative Director and all around wonder-guy, Felix Nelson, who led this product from an idea to a full-blown magazine in just a few short months and did a brilliant job from initial layout to launch. He and his team did a remarkable job (a special shout-out and major gratitude to our own Dave Korman who was instrumental in making this all happen, and who helped in the development and testing of the process).
Thanks everybody for making it a very exciting time to be a magazine publisher again! :)