|ACP Magazines has released an application for the November issue of The Australian Women's Weekly, coinciding with a revamp of its flagship monthly.
From Wednesday, the same day the paper edition hits newsstands, iPad owners will be able to download a full digital edition of the magazine from Apple's online app store for $5.99, compared with its print cover price of $6.90.
The iPad edition will have all the content of the print version, which is Australia's biggest-selling magazine per issue with an average monthly circulation of 493,301 copies and a readership of almost 2.2 million.
"It's about taking a lead," said Weekly editor-in-chief Helen McCabe.
"The iPad is one of the fastest-selling pieces of technology since the DVD player was introduced and it's vitally important for ACP to be in the game and offer this to our But we have very modest projections at the moment. We don't expect it to be a huge uptake in the early stages," she said.
Apple has not released any sales figures since the iPad's local launch in May but, according to analyst group Telsyte, it had sold about 250,000 of the tablet devices here by the end of last month.
While dozens of major overseas magazines have launched iPad apps, local publishers have only cautiously tested demand on the new platform with digital editions of a few mostly niche and specialist titles.
ACP, which is owned by PBL Media, has released apps for computer title APC, food glossy Gourmet Traveller and fashion title Shop Til You Drop.
News Magazines sells apps for GQ Australia and Taste.
Fairfax Media claimed its Sport & Style app was the first Australian magazine app designed specifically for the iPad.
Seven Media's Pacific Magazines, the No 2 publisher after ACP, said it was still working on apps for its Women's Health, Men's Health and Better Homes & Gardens.
Sales figures for ACP's existing magazine apps had been "encouraging" considering the relatively small number of iPads sold, said digital director Carl Hammerschmidt.
"(The Weekly) is the first mass-market title on the platform and it will be very interesting to see how it goes," he said.
ACP was also preparing for the other tablet devices to come on sale in the next six months, Mr Hammerschmidt said.
"It's going to be interesting to see the effect they have on take-up," he said.
"At the moment, we're designing for each one but we're working on systems which can re-version digital editions for all the devices.
"It is a challenge, but the production, workflow and enterprise solutions that allow you to do this are developing very quickly as well."
Features in the Weekly's November app include videos, slide-shows and "hot spots" on the contents page that allow readers to jump directly to an article.
Users can bookmark pages, share articles with friends via email and click on images to highlight specific product information.
All issues purchased can be stored on the app and back issues will be permanently available for sale.
"The capacity for us to do lots more with it is there," said Ms McCabe. "We've been modest in November for the launch but we have lots of plans.
"But at the moment we are doing the basic stuff and getting it right."
Source: The Australian
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