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  • Harper's New App
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Legions of people clinging to books and magazines in print form still exist, but it is clear the world is moving towards digital.

To keep up, authors are ensuring digital copies of their book are made, while magazines rush to create an app for tablets and phones and a web presence. Some have even gone entirely digital, claiming this form of magazine is so popular, it just isn't cost effective to print physical magazines anymore.

One magazine that was slow to embrace technology: Harper's. Although the website features all articles ever printed since the magazine's initial publication in the 1850s, there is no option for e-reader or tablet subscriptions.

A subscriber must open the issue in a web browser in order to enjoy reading on-the-go using their device. But now, the magazine has launched an iOS app with a little help from 29th Street Publishing, a company that was founded a year ago to help independent publishers switch over to the digital age by designing apps to bring in revenue, and says an Android app is soon to follow.


If you are a current subscriber, you'll have full access to Harper's, with added bonuses. There used to be a Harper's app, but a reader was given a simple PDF file of the magazine. Now, it is more structured, easier to read, and even easier to share with friends while resembling the print version of the magazine.

Harper's adapted the app to display the magazine in a layout that works well for tablet and phone users. Translation: there's only one column to focus on, and no need to click through the pages of the magazines. Instead, you scroll all the way through.


The old Harper's app: PDF files you needed to click your way through. They came out with this iPad app in 2010, and it was simply a recreation of their website, which was merely PDF files of the articles in print each month.

The new Harper's app ties in beautifully with the website and print editions as it's the same font and design, but is tablet- and phone-friendly at the same time. They did a wonderful job keeping the electronic version similar to the print version. It's sort of surprising they decided to revamp their app at all -- the magazine's publisher, John MacArthur, has not spoken kindly of those who he feels are killing publishing entirely by embracing the switch to electronic versions exclusively.


You are treated to a free preview issue, and after that, you pay $5.99 for each edition via Apple Newstand, with two back issues currently available. If you are a subscriber for $22 per year, you don't need to worry about this fee. This is a similar approach to the Harper's website, which offers a couple of articles for free. Anyone who chooses to become a subscriber can access any of the content dating all the way back to the magazine's first edition in 1850 on the website.