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Monthly first Australian magazine to confirm plans to launch iPad edition. Should we be impressed?

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The media release was destined to arrive sooner or later. Who would be the first Australian print magazine to announce definitive plans to launch an iPad edition?

The answer came today. Current affairs title The Monthly made the slightly self-conscious announcement that it “is believed to be the first Australian magazine to confirm an iPad edition ready for the tablet’s 28 May Australian launch, or soon after.”

I’ve yet to get my hands on the much desired (and derided) device but, as far as I can tell, any PDF should qualify as an iPad edition if the publisher wishes to make such a claim.

For example, if you have a print magazine in PDF format you could logically produce an edition compatible with the iPad and, therefore, be the first to launch an iPad edition.

However, it seems only reasonable to assume that the people behind The Monthly and its technology partner Bonobo Labs have something a bit more sexy than a pimped-out eBook hidden up their sleeves.

While we have requested a video teaser, hoping that it might live up to some of our previous reviews, such as Time Inc’s collaboration with The Wonderfactory for Sports Illustrated or VIV Magazine’s motion cover for eReaders, the best we can provide for the time being is the following promotional image…

…and some words from the media release:

“The application for iPad and iPhone, built by Bonobo Labs specifically for the Monthly, will be a full text edition designed to take advantage of the iPad’s reader-friendly screen.

Mainly publishing thousand-plus-word essays, the Monthly’s iPad edition will create a compelling reading experience featuring page-turning, font adjustment, bookmarking, jump-to navigation and a table of contents.

Each issue will be available for in-app purchase with pricing yet to be announced. Archival issues will also be purchasable via the app, which has steered clear of the notoriously slow-loading print-replica approach. It also does not require a constant Internet connection for reading.

The iPhone and iPad versions will have different interfaces but both will share the same code-base and display the same content.”

Hang on. It will feature “page-turning”, “font adjustment” and “a table of contents”!

Hmmm. Hardly revolutionary stuff.

But we must give credit where credit’s due. And we, at Anthill, tip our hat.

The Monthly’s iPad edition is unlikely to knock anyone’s socks off (or should we say gloves?) and it’s also unlikely to present a runaway commercial success (unless the advertisers buy into the hype). But we’re undeservingly proud that a fellow ‘independent’ is, at least, among the first to take the big leap.

This way of thinking bodes well for independent publishing in Australia. The Monthly has always been provocative, challenging and not a magazine likely to shy away from controversy.

We say, ‘Bring it on!’ and let the new publishing battlefield take shape.

Although The Monthly’s foray into iPad publishing does raise one unpleasant question; ‘Are The Monthly readers the most logical target market for an iPad edition?’

We’ll be watching with interest.

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