Scribd are saying what a lot of us are thinking: bespoke iPad apps (indeed, bespoke any apps) might just be a waster of money:
Although magazines like Wired are reporting strong results for their early iPad efforts, for most publishers, this is still an experiment to see if they can recreateÃ¢â‚¬â€or at least approximateÃ¢â‚¬â€the revenue model that used to work so well in printÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pre-digital days. With publishersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ budgets and resources fairly limited, online document marketplace Scribd hopes that instead of devoting the time and fees to working with major content design firms, magazines will simply let it create an HTML5 app for them in a matter of minutes. The only price: Scribd wants a share of the ad revenues.
Forbes is the first major mag publisher to use the Scribd platform to create a digital magazine replica. In a conversation with Jared Friedman, CTO and co-founder of Scribd, told paidContent that since the free, online-only Forbes Ã¢â‚¬Å“special issueÃ¢â‚¬Â on Warren Buffett was released on May 25th, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been read on ScribdÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s site over 25,000 times. A print version of Vintage Warren: The Best of Forbes on Buffett, a compendium of past articles on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Oracle of Omaha,Ã¢â‚¬Â will hit newsstands next month.
Interesting companion piece to this yesterday from Robert Andrews: the anti-web movement is gathering pace.
Of course, it’ll be a mixed economy of websites and apps, universality versus specific functionality. The trick will be coming up with systems and workflows that allow lots of different platforms to be supported from one bucket of content. As NPR and the Guardian already understand.