Although I am loath to give Richard Branson any more publicity than he already gets, I was intrigued to read that Virgin is launching a new consumer magazine called Maverick, to be available exclusively for iPad and iPhone, and eventually Android. The fact that it’s a mobile-only magazine has gotten a lot more attention than what will supposedly be inside it, obviously. A lot of magazines are trying to cash in on Apple’s ubiquitous press coverage (I’m looking at you, Time). All we know so far about Virgin’s magazine is that it will, according to AdAge,
aim to encapsulate the spirit of the Virgin brand by focusing on entrepreneurial endeavors and highlighting new creative, business, travel and technology ideas, targeting an upscale international audience.
But don’t roll those eyes yet! The article continues,
However, it’s not meant to be a promotional tool for Virgin’s stable of products, which include an airline, holidays, gyms, financial services, trains and a wine club as well as media, TV, broadband and phone services.
Oh, thank goodness.
This WSJ blog post suggests that this trend of exclusive iPad releases may be spreading. Authors like Steven King have already used e-book pre-orders to publicize releases of hardcover editions. But soon, novelist Ryu Murakami will take e-publishing a step further when he releases it on the iBooks platform for iPad. Murakami’s new title, The Singing Whale, will be a complete digital package, with video content and an original composed soundtrack, and will cost 1,500 yen ($17). Murakami says that he can recoup his original investment for the development of the software with 5,000 downloads.
I can’t quite picture what that reading experience will look like. Will it be more like a movie, with text? Or more like reading a book with the stereo on? Since I haven’t seen what these things look like, I’ll reserve judgment for both The Singing Whale and the singing billionaire for now.