Hey Osprey Publishing, there are other tablets other than iPads

As many of you will know, I get annoyed with magazines that I subscribe to and that insist on locking me into one technical eco-system or other. Osprey publishing has joined that group.

They have recently been promoting their World War II Military History Magazine. This magazine looks good, slick and in the quality we come to expect from Osprey. They have even offered a free PDF download so one can have a look at the magazine. The magazine itself contains one complete e-book from the Osprey range and near as I can work out, subscribing gives you complete access to all the back issues.

To be fair to Osprey, they publish their eBooks in PDF and ePub format.

Which now begs the question … why, of why, is the magazine only avaiable through the iTunes store. It is advertised as

available for iPad and iPhone, and subscriptions can be purchased for just £2.99 per month or £7.99 per quarter. Each issue is a real gem, so why not give it a try and unlock a world of fabulous material on the Second World War.

OK, earlier in their advertisement they note that each

issue includes a full Osprey series eBook, and is packed full of fascinating extra material from our archives and authors

Hey Osprey – there are other tablets out there other than iPads. In fact, iPads account for 39% of the total international tablet market. Android tablets account for 61% currently! So what possesses a company to cut off 2/3rds of its potential market?

Why don’t you make all issues of the magazine downloadable PDFs so folks can move it from one platform to another, in the same way I can move my Osprey eBooks? You can still offer it through iTunes (and as a PDF, through Play Store as well as the Windows 8 Marketplace. Why cut off  67% of your potential market?

3 thoughts on “Hey Osprey Publishing, there are other tablets other than iPads

  1. Russell Phillips 2 October 2014 / 2:09 pm

    I don’t like being locked into a single ecosystem either. I currently have an Android phone and tablet, but that may change in future, and I’d hate to lose access to content simply because I decided to switch.

    Oddly, they use Exact Editions, and there is an Exact Editions app in the Google Play store (though the reviews aren’t very good). The Exact Editions website says “The Exact Editions system processes PDF files supplied by the publisher” so presumably Osprey have a PDF. In the light of all that, not offering PDF versions and Android support just seems odd.


    • Thomo the Lost 3 October 2014 / 9:52 am

      There is an issue that some publishers still have not come to terms with and that is the principle of consumption. In the past, when paper was all there was, there were only three means of consumption of the product as a consumer. One was to buy the magazine, read it then put it on the shelf where you could review it again and again should the desire arise. Second was to read it at or borrow it from a library or a friend. After consumption, return it to it’s original location and return there in the future should you want to re-consume part of it. The third method was to steal it … but the publishers didn’t care if you did that because they were paid anyway and it was the book-seller newsagent who carried the loss. The common factor here was that there was only a single media for distribution. Even if I wanted it in audio-book form, there was only ever two media (cassette tape and CD and they were universal for the different players).

      Now, there are multiple media products available and I as a consumer (the same as any other consumer) want to consume my purchases my way. That means, I pay for an issue so I want my back issues available to me when I move from one platform to another. The publishers have the ability to put their product in transportable format – PDF, ePub, mobi – all are multi-platform formats but they choose to be clever in iOS or restrictive with the likes of Exact Editions – perhaps looking at magazines as the same as software and that the reader licenses it only on the current platform – and if that is the case, the price per magazine should be 1/10th the current.

      Again, bouquets to Karwansaray Publishers (and to Wargames Vault amongst others) that do not restrict my ability to enjoy my purchase. Brickbats to the others.


  2. Russell Phillips 3 October 2014 / 3:48 pm

    I completely agree, but I would add that many publishers haven’t yet adapted to the increased level of competition. Before the web, it was difficult to get information on certain subjects, and if the only option was a particular book, then I had three options: Buy the book, try and get it through the library, or do without. Nowadays, though, there are often alternative sources – blogs, forums, Wikipedia, etc. Even second-hand books are easier to find thanks to online shopping.


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