Along with the rise of eBooks and eReaders like The Kindle and The Nook, so has the new concept of reading magazines and publications on tablet based PCs. This new medium of publication delivery really has the potential to complete change the game in terms of how publications and print materials are consumed. This completely shifts the role of publications from content providers and distributors, to being more focused more on software and content moderators. Now how does the magazine and newspaper publisher move into the role of a software oriented focus? Consumers will grow to expect more with their new digital copies of magazines and newspapers. Consumers will now expect interactivity, better design, and extensions into social media and other sites. This puts the magazine publisher into the new role of software developer in terms of providing the end user with a more content rich experience expected on these new tablet PCs. This also presents a drastic new revenue model for most publications. Publishers can now take the money they save from the actual printing process and focus more on content and less on delivery. It is even possible that we will begin to see dynamic publications, where its almost more like a website than an actual publication. Users will be presented with a magazine that differs hour to hour, as new content is added by editors and authors.

Although this in many ways eliminates the middleman that is the retailer or newsstand, a new middleman stands in the way; Apple. As apple commands the biggest share of the tablet market currently, it also takes a 30% cut of all applications sold in its App Store. Content is also very bias towards Apple’s demands, especially in the case of Playboy, who was not allowed to publish their content via an app but rather created an iPad friendly website instead as the App Store disallows nudity of any kind. How will publications withstand this 30% Apple tax? Will more publications move in the direction of iPad friendly sites instead of applications? How will Apple react to this? Will Apple be able to block publishers from developing websites to get around the 30% App Store charge? My bet is that Apple will create certain functionality that will enhance the readers experience only available to applications, but what these new features are remains to be seen.