Even New Yorker Readers Like Reading on Their iPads

I was surprised by a recent article in the Times. In “For New Yorker on iPad, Words are the Thing,” Jeremy Peters reported on the growing number of New Yorker readers who read the magazine on their iPads. Recently, the New Yorker said that it had 100,000 iPad readers. Given the literary nature of the magazine, this surprises me. I would have expected New Yorker readers to be hold outs against the onslaught of e-readers.

Screenshot of the New Yorker app on my iPad

I was also surprised – and quite pleased – by the fact that New Yorker subscribers prefer reading on the iPad. They don’t want lots of multimedia links and other distractions:

The New Yorker, a magazine that has always been heavy on text, took a different tack from its peers. Instead of loading its iPad app with interactive features, the magazine focused on presenting its articles in a clean, readable format.

“That was really important to us: to create an app all about reading,” said Pamela Maffei McCarthy, the magazine’s deputy editor. “There are some bells and whistles, but we’re very careful about that. We think about whether or not they add any value. And if they don’t, out the window they go.”

It is surprising that Condé Nast’s biggest success has been The New Yorker and not, say, a magazine that has a more technologically stimulating app and a younger, more Web-oriented readership like Wired.

I’m not yet ready to plop down $59.99 for a year’s subscription to the the iPadified New Yorker. I have, however, downloaded the free app and purchased a collection of articles on “The Digital Revolution.” For only $2.99, I am the happy owner of an excellent series of beautifully designed, easy-to-read articles.  The New Yorker has indeed made reading on the iPad a positive experience. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way to highlight, save, or email portions of the text. This appears to be a reader without those helpful tools.


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