Archive Apps

After reading about Creative Review’s new online-only subscription offer, which includes access to an archive of back-issues, it occurred to me that this sort of model could be a real game-changer on the iPad.

So far, there’s been a lot of chat about various magazines bringing out digital editions from this point forward, but not much about the massive potential for offering whole archives of older content. When a perfectly portable printed issue of a magazines exists, I don’t really see the appeal of replicating that on a screen for the same price (no matter how many flying toasters you stick on the page). However, give me the option to have every single issue with me, and you’ve got yourself an essential purchase.

The seeds for this model of publishing are already out there, most obviously The Complete National Geographic (which comes on its own hard drive!). In print, Taschen have been producing lovely (but expensive and bulky) reproductions of Arts & Architecture and Domus. All it needs is for someone to take that logical step into apps-ville. Imagine a Domus app for, let’s say, £40. Every single issue. 71 years’ worth. Searchable, bookmarkable, portable.

Or how about an app that contains the entire run of The Face? As well as allowing you to flick through all those old issues, it could come with a documentary about the magazine and an automatic playlist-generator that would pluck relevant tunes from your iTunes library to listen to while you’re reading. All that in your little satchel for a reasonable price-tag.

ArchiveApps: who wants one? Any suggestions for titles that would work particularly well? Any other potential features that you can think of? Am I completely wrong? Does something like this already exist? Replies on the back of a stamped-addressed tweet.