Quick look: Reader’s Digest App for iPad

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I am one of those people who loves to read. Back in the day I loved the smell of books from the library, magazines from the newsstand, encyclopedia volumes in our home library. My mother would hoard past issues of various magazines and periodicals, refusing to throw them out for years and years (!).

Times are a-changing. Every self-respecting magazine publisher now has an app version of their formerly printed product and most have opted for a pay-per-issue type system, often with a sample issue to whet your apetite and to let you know what you’re getting from your cash. While I remember the olden days of physical reading material quite fondly, I’ve resolved to place myself firmly in the present and accept the new formats. Thus I decided to download Reader’s Digest and see if I could adapt my reading habits and love the iPad issue as much as I once loved the print version.

I duly downloaded the February 2011 sample issue and was first presented with an animated video themed with the magazine’s cover article. As the article is called “The New Science of dieting”, the 24-second video showing frying eggs and bacon piqued my interest (not to mention made me hungry) about the content. Btw the makers of app are so confident about this clip that they make it easy for you to re-play it again and again (which I did). Swiping leads you to a how-to-use-app screen for the uninitiated. Pretty standard.

The Contents screen follows, showing all the featured items in the edition. A handy scroll bar at the bottom of the screen lets you quickly access various pages. At the top right there’s another button that zooms out to give you an overview of all the pages. Top left also opens up a vertical menu with another content view. There’s nothing revolutionary about the app and the UI, but it’s neatly done. However, you cannot enlarge the text (at least in the sample issue). A minor thing but something we’ve gotten used to be able to do with touchscreens. The captions are also not clickable – thus my natural instinct to tap on a pic or heading to take me there was a little let down.

Still quite a neat app with clips and animation here and there which make it basic but decent. Will I invest the € 2,99 per issue? Probably not, but I’ll test drive one edition to satisfy my curiosity. If I like it, I’ll be hoarding on the iPad :-)

Reader’s Digest App for iPad (iTunes link) is available on the App Store for free. Issues can be purchased in-app.


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