Marco Arment, who is the creator of Instapaper, one of my favorite and most used apps and services just released a new "app" which is really a magazine available on iOS devices.
Marco had a couple of great posts almost a year ago on publishing, magazines and ads. That article is Double Dipping. I've been quietly wondering if anything would ever come of it.
This feels like his response.
Coincidentally, I finally signed up for the Esquire iPad app yesterday. The difference is drastic.
I really love the writing in Esquire, but I can't, for the life of me, figure out why they can't ship something better than this. It's not like they don't have a large enough team. The publisher is certainly large enough to pay a developer to build it, if they don't want to hire someone. 9 months in and they still don't have retina quality text...and it is completely ad-ridden despite the fact that the yearly subscription cost more than a print subscription.
Marco's The Magazine on the other hand is a pleasure to use. The interface is easy to use, the content is fantastic, and it is obvious that readability is the absolute number one priority. Of course, Marco is just the guy to make this happen.
Perhaps even more important than the stuff I just mentioned is the fact that he is doing this with no ads. It is completely subscription funded and writers are getting paid.
The Magazine supports writers in the most basic, conventional way that, in the modern web context, actually seems least conventional and riskiest: by paying them to write. Since I’m keeping production costs low, I’m able to pay writers reasonably today, and very competitively with high-end print magazines in the future if The Magazine gets enough subscribers.
It’s a risk, but I’m confident. Here goes.
Good Luck Marco. I'm hopeful and signed up! If you own an iOS device and like good writing, go check it out.