If I understand the plan correctly, a bunch of American magazine publishers are talking about banding together to create a virtual "shop" where their magazines can be bought in multiple formats:
The company will prepare magazines that can work across multiple digital platforms, whether the iPhone, the BlackBerry or countless other digital devices. The company will not develop an e-book, but create something that people familiar with the plans compare to iTunes—a store where you can buy new and distinct iterations of The New Yorker or Time. Print magazines will also be for sale.
(I love the throwaway nature of that last sentence.)
On the other hand, I'm not sure that the publishers have quite got hold of the right end of the stick:
“It’s pretty complicated stuff,” said a source. “The really, really hard part is that you’ve got so many different kinds of devices running on different operating systems. And how do you handle that? The consortium provides one point of contact for the consumer. When you come to the main store, you can get the content any way you want.”
(Again, love that "source".)
Some of this seems to be reinventing the wheel (aka the iTunes store/Amazon marketplace/smartphone apps stores) and some seems to be ignoring the psychology of purchasing. It could be another Brill-iant idea.
Or the talking could just stop once they've seen what happened to Menzies digital download centres.
THIS JUST IN
John Federico of TechStartups.com reported this last week: The Maggwire Model: iTunes for Magazines