Glamour Magazine has further grown its presence in the digital world with the recent release of its app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, which combines a web site reader and E-reader into one.
Via my iPhone, I picked up Glamour's September 2010 issue, touted as the biggest in 20 years. Big is right – over the 3G network, the issue took more than an hour to download. The good news is that you can start reading the magazine almost immediately; the bad is that I had trouble running the app in the background of my iPhone 4 and the app crashed twice when I hit the 90 percent-complete range. I don’t know if it was the app switching or the crash, but something caused every section of the magazine to be displayed twice; it didn’t cause a problem, but did add some clutter to the app.
Once you start reading, you’ll find that you won’t simply be able to flip through the issue like you might on a traditional E-reader. In the Glamour app, you’ll first need to select a department, however, if there are multiple stories you'll be able to swipe through the content in that particular section and tap the corresponding image to enter into the full story. I didn't have the opportunity to take the app for a spin on iPad, but from the available images, it looks as though this app is really optimized for use on that device's larger screen. The navigation took some getting used to, but I was pleased with how impressive the full-screen content looked on the Retina display. I also appreciated the thoughtfulness on the developer's part in including options for text size.
Of course, this assumes you're willing to pay the price of $3.99 per issue for a digital download. That’s the same as newsstand cover price and, really, highway robbery, especially for current subscribers. Glamour Magazine is doing digital right when it comes to the inclusion of exclusive app content such as videos and even a special fashion feature. You can access links to most products that open in app and make for easy purchasing. But even with these user-friendly additions, the price point is simply an indicator that the publishing industry doesn’t know how to properly straddle the line between print and digital. This fact shouldn’t reflect poorly on the app itself, but it will affect the number of digital downloads.
If you don’t want to shell out cash for the magazine content, it doesn’t mean there’s no reason to get the app. Aside from the issues, the Glamour Magazine app also features blogs from Glamour.com, divided into categories and found under the “New Posts” tab. Content loads quickly and includes photos, so I found it a more streamlined way to read Glamour.com’s entries (two former colleagues work in Glamour's online department, so I read regularly.)
Glamour girls will find Glamour Magazine to be a go-to app, especially if Condé Nast can find a better price for subscribers.