The publisher and developer behind the tablet magazine Hoodgrown, has released a second app today for Band of the White Rose (BWR), a citizen publishing project — more a manifesto than a commercial magazine venture.
The app is a scaled down affair, with only a portrait mode available for now, though BWR’s editor, John Walsh, says the next edition will have a landscape mode. There is no pinch-to-zoom, or type adjustments built into the tablet magazine, so getting typography right is important, Despite its relatively modest size of around 80MB, it is still a very slow download.
The navigation is easy, with several features added to assist readers such as a slide in table of contents (seen below), and a pulldown slider that gives the reader thumbnail views of each page. The entire magazine consists of 97 pages — a fun number, isn’t it, as this is a reminder that one doesn’t have to count by fours when you are talking about a tablet magazine.
There is only one ad, a house ad for merchandise. If ads are sold, it will probably be the responsibility of Tablazines to manage that function.
The app itself is free, as it the first issue’s content. Walsh told me the next issue, though, will cost $1.99. It appears as though this app has a built-in library function, so users will not have to download a new app to access future issues.
The plan right now is to publish six times a year, and Walsh said that producing the second issue is well under way. “This has turned into a full time job,” Walsh said, sounding quite surprised.
The relationship between publisher, editor, designer, developer and the like is not really applicable when you talk about these home grown publishing efforts. Tablazines is listed as the “seller” in iTunes — actually Christopher English, who “is” Tablazines — and so the editor, John Walsh, is really more the publisher and driving force behind the magazine. English’s role appears to be one of developer, and interface between editors, designers and the technical people at Alligator Digital Magazines, who helped out with Hoodgrown Magazine.
Walsh said that his wife and English work together and started to discuss his efforts on Hoodgrown. “He was going on with Hoodgrown, and talking about it, and talked to her about it, said ‘hey, you know, maybe you’d have an interest in doing the same kind of thing’,” Walsh told me.
This becomes possible once someone has gone through the process of becoming an Apple developer, a pretty easy first step, and then has experience with launching that first app. Walsh said the whole process with Apple took about a month: delayed a few weeks because of an icon issue, but only two weeks once things were straightened out.
Kathy Walsh is in charge of design and production for BWR. “Kathy is a print designer,” English wrote me, “so where as my magazine was designed in HTML5, theirs is designed in Quark (and not the new tablet version).”
BWR also has a new dedicated website found as a subdomain of the Tablazine site.
Unlike Hoodgrown Magazine, which is designed very much like a traditional magazine (in the best sense of that term) Band of the White Rose is, as I’ve said above, more of a political statement. It’s not the role of TNM to talk much about content, though I will admit that I have sometimes made rather snide remarks about some of the consumer magazines that have produced apps. So let’s just say that after reading the first issue you will either want to become an avid reader of Band of the White Rose, or will be deleting it rather quickly. It would be rare indeed to see BWR on the same iPad as The Daily.