Gramophone Dig.ed. on android tablets

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turtje
turtje's picture
Gramophone Dig.ed. on android tablets

Hello

 

I just wanted to make a topic to share my thoughts about the Gramophone digital edition for android tablets.

I live in Belgium and an issue of Gramophone is rather expensive here when you buy the printed edition in a magazine store (9,20 euro or 7,90 £). In 2010-2011 I took a subscription on Gramophone to lower the cost p. issue a bit (but not that much) but it was frustrating to have to wait rather long before the issue arrived (most times the issue arrived more then 10 days after an issue was released in the magazine shops in Belgium (which is already a couple of days later then the release in the UK). So I cancelled my subscription and bought every issue in the shops like before.

But last week I finally bought a tablet (Google Nexus 7) and one of the first things I did was to take a subscription on Gramophone digital edition. You get new issues immediately and for the same (much lower) price as UK residents. For me it was a very good deal.

However, I have to say that I am slightly dissapointed (I'm actually really dissapointed) with the quality of the Android-edition. Scrolling through the magazine is very, very slow (every page needs some time to render properly). The Nexus 7 is a rather new and very fast tablet (1GB quad core) so the hardware is not the problem. Also, the whole magazine loads like a big picture (like a PDF-file) and you have to zoom in to be able to read the articles. Once you're at the bottom of a page, you to scroll your way back to the top. The problem with this is that once you are zoomed in, scrolling through the page is very very slow and uncomfortable because the scrolling happens in bits (not fluent at all, to say the least).

In fact, the Gramophone-app is not really an app, it is just a PDF-like reader, and not a very good one.

I don't want to be to negative. It's great that the complete archive is online and available for android users. For all the old magazines I think it is very understandable that these editions are loaded as pdf-like files. But for the new issues that are released every month, I think we may expect a lot more. This is 2013 after all. For example, you should be able to click on a article or review of a particular cd, and then this article or review should load as a in-app new screen or something where you can easily scroll down the whole article or review. Most papers in Belgium have that kind of system and it is very nice. Also, the whole app should be a lot faster in my opinion.

Also, I don't understand why the Ipad-app is of better quality (but not that much) than the Android-app. We pay the same price don't we?

Haymarket seems to distribute a lot of magazines and I really can't understand that they do not invest in a more modern and user-friendly reading experience (altough I'm not sure if this is the responsibilty of Haymarket or Gramophone itself).

I'm glad I didn't take a one year subscription. I took a three month subscription and I'll definitely cancel it. Once again I will go to the magazine shop and pay way too much for the printed and non-ecological edition.

I will keep an eye out for updates of the digital edition and once Gramophone dig.ed. is on par with competition I definitely will be back for another digital subscription.

Many greetings from Belgium (sorry for my bad english).

Arthur VD

PS: I still love Gramophone, it is just the app that I really don't like :-)

Luca Da Re
Luca Da Re's picture
RE: Gramophone Dig.ed. on android tablets

Hi Arthur VD,

Thank you for your feedback and giving the digital edition of the magazine a try. These things aren't to everyones tastes but I am obviously disapointed to hear that our digital magazine isn't what you were hoping for. I will try to answer what I think are your main reservations one at a time.

1. Slow page scrolling: Yes, this is slower than we would like, and is something that we are still looking at how to resolve. Sorry about that.

2. Flat zoom in image: There are a number of very innovative services out there for magazine readers which allow you to read each individual article in a dedicated reader. However, as we have added an entire 90 year archive it would have been impossible to go through 110,00 pages of content and divide them up in this way. Just getting the archive text rescanned was a bit of a challenge. I believe most Gramophone readers wouldn't want to lose this archive content in exchange for the bespoke reading experience.

3. iPad app is better: Are you using the Exactly app at the moment? If so I recognise that it isn't as optimised as the branded version available to Apple customers. From the March issue there will be a Kindle Fire app and I am hoping that improvements to the Android version won't be too far behind.

Again, thank you for the feedback. In  many ways the constructive criticism like this is the most useful kind of customer response we can get.

All the best,

Luca Da Re

Brand Manager, Gramophone

Luca Da Re
Luca Da Re's picture
RE: Gramophone Dig.ed. on android tablets

Hi Arthur,

Thank you for your reply. It would be technically possible to have two separate apps, but I am not sure that would be the best customer service - and it would create administrative headaches! When should a new issue be moved into the archive? Part of the attraction of the platform we are using is that if you buy directly through Gramophone (details here), you are able to access the archive on your computer, Apple or Android device. Many of our readers haven't bought a tablet yet so we wanted to ensure the archive was available to them as well.

I think the most important reason not do this is that two apps would have meant two charges which we certainly didn't think was fair. By putting the archive and the new issues in the same product our service is better value for money and more engaging than that of our competitors, while also encouraging our readers to try digital magazines because of the presence of the archive.

I do accept that there are better user experiences out there, but we are really pleased with how warmly the new service has been received by our readers and the wider publishing industry. Last weekend The Sunday Times listed the app as one of the top 500 apps in the world. We didn't lobby for this accolade but it certainly got Monday off to a good start.

Once again, thank you so much for your constructive feedback.

Kind Regards,

Luca Da Re

Brand Manager, Gramophone

Luca Da Re
Luca Da Re's picture
RE: Gramophone Dig.ed. on android tablets

Hi Chris,

Thanks for getting in touch again and good to hear you are enjoying the archive.

You should be able to zoom in further than the two page spread by again clicking on the page you want to read. If you do that you should be able to get the page at a much higher resolution which hopefully will solve your problem. If not let me know.

Many thanks,

Luca Da Re

Brand Manager, Gramophone

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