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Harper's magazine joins the digital age with a proper iOS app

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Harper's magazine

Harper's magazine has been at once pro-technology and yet decidedly analog. The publication underwent a massive project to make its 163 years of archives available online, yet has stuck to an overwhelmingly print-first strategy, with only a barebones website with a few available articles. But it's been dragged into the screen-first age this week, working with 29th Street Publishing to build an app for the iPhone and iPad, with Android support coming soon as well. Issues are available free to paid subscribers, or for $5.99 each in the app. Harper's previously had an iOS app, but it was just a PDF of the print magazine — the new app feels much more native, and is much easier to read and share.

For 29th Street Publishing, Harper's is the first big-name magazine to employ its services, and it'll be the first 29th Street publication to count in actual circulation figures. It's a welcome digital-friendly move for Harper's readers — and a surprising one from the company that called Google "toddler gibberish" — providing a way for the consistently excellent magazine to grow among a print-free market. And it's a clear sign that while the iPad may not be the entire future of the magazine industry, it's an ever-more important part of it.