I was planning on reviewing the digital copy of the first issue of Porter magazine today. I thought I bought the first issue but I received a letter informing me that I would receive the April issue as my first issue. To be fair, I really can’t remember if this was specified on the website when I subscribed. The letter said that I could download my digital issue through Apple Newsstand or Google Play. I tried following the instructions provided in the letter and downloaded my copy of the first issue through iTunes. The band below the photograph read “Downloaded” but when I clicked on it nothing happened. I looked through the downloads on my computer, searched through Finder. Nothing.
I called the Porter customer service line and told them about my problem and the person on the other end of the phone told me that since my subscription technically started in April, the digital edition of that issue would be the first I had access to. I apologized for my mistake and hung up. “But, I was sure I had access to the first issue…” My mind kept saying. After searching through my e-mail account I found the e-mail from Porter magazine telling me I did in fact have access to the digital edition of the first issue. I called back and spoke to a very polite customer service representative named Anthony who told me he’d call me back with the information I needed.
I received a call back 5 minutes later with a set of instructions. During the course of our conversation I remember him asking me if I downloaded the Porter app on my iPad yet. I understood iPad as a stand-in for whatever device I was using so I replied yes but told him I would delete it and download it again. He waited while I did so. He gave me a set of instructions and I told him I would try signing in with my Subscriber Account Number and call him back if it didn’t work.
After about 20 minutes of clicking on things in vain I called Porter magazine back and told them that it was impossible for me to open the Porter app on my computer. The woman on the other end of the line told me that I could only open the app on iPad or iPhone. I was dumbstruck. You can only read magazines on your phone or iPad? Apparently it is common knowledge that the Newsstand apps are only available on iOS devices! Someone should seriously get on this!!! Who wants to look at fashion on a phone when they have a 23 inch MacBook monitor? Details are important in fashion and so is fashion imagery: I can’t reconcile forsaking iconic fashion photography to see the beading on a dress in a series zooms in and zooms out. I know I’m being dramatic here but the point is that I don’t want to choose. I want large imagery and the chance to zoom in from there.
Fine, I told myself. I’ll download it somewhere else and pay for it myself: I checked Kindle, I checked Kobo, I checked Nextissue, I checked Zinio but the magazine isn’t sold on any of these sites. Nowhere! In contrast Marie Claire magazine is available on Zinio, Nextissue, Kobo, Apple Newsstand and Google Play. I kind of feel like reviewing the magazine reading experience on an Android phone since this is one of the mediums that Google Play works on. If the magazine is only available on iOS and Android devices it stands to reason that Porter magazine wants its readers to read the issue this way.
I’m really disappointed by the fact that Porter managed to mail me a letter through the mail but my order, placed 5 days after the magazine launch, was deemed too late to receive the first issue. (What kind of mail service are these companies using that paper gets delivered but it takes more than a month to deliver a magazine? Also, isn’t Net-a-Porter known for its speedy deliveries? I’m not saying use the same, probably very expensive, shipping but find one that is reliable and can get the customer their magazines in under a month!) I’m really disappointed that the accessibility of the digital issue is so limited, (I’m really disappointed in Apple Newsstand too but that’s hardly Porter’s fault). Finally I’m disappointed that I won’t have a reader experience worthy of the magazine. (I’m assuming. Clearly, I haven’t read it yet.)
I can see that a tablet is becoming necessary for everyday life, but isn’t it in the best interest of publishers to have their publications available across a variety of devices in order to make the consumer’s life easier?
I’m downloading Porter magazine on my phone as we speak but I’m too annoyed to read it tonight.