Digital magazines are now becoming popular, especially with the impending demise of print publications.

I have had some experience with publishing magazines on Apple’s newsstand platform and with over 12000 subscribers to my Newsstand magazine, Appville; I can safely say I have learned a thing or two.

Today, I decided to publish a version of the Appville magazine source code and give you some free page templates. In doing this, I hope it will help you in the journey of creating your own digital magazine.

I was inspired to release this template pack because I have been getting a lot of requests from people wanting to know how to go about publishing a Newsstand magazine. But you have to understand, it isn’t about the technology, the content of your magazine is what will decide whether it succeeds or not.

Marco Arment summed it up pretty well in his post here

“Publishing platforms will soon make it easier to get into Newsstand. But making magazine-quality content on a regular schedule, getting enough subscribers to pay when there’s tons of great online content for free, and keeping the subscribers interested after they’ve paid — those are hard, they’ll always be hard, and a lot of people are underestimating those challenges and thinking the biggest barrier is an app.” – Marco.

You can get access now

We have built an app that is already being used on the App store by a couple of magazines. You can now get access to it here.

What you Will Get

Let me introduce what you will be getting in the download

Magazine Issue Management

The first screen you will see is a list of issues that are available in your magazine. The app uses the issue management present in the iOS NewsstandKit.

The screen was designed using one of our templates here on App Design Vault. See the Freelancer template here.

I have included two other colour schemes in the app. Orange and Blue.

Magazine Page Templates

After downloading an issue, you can then start reading by tapping on the item. The magazine template previously used the Baker Framework but we have not replaced it with our own HTML display engine.

I have included 5 page templates. See them below

The Full Page Image Template

The Contents Page Tempate

The Article With an Image Template

The Plain Article Templates.

I have included 3 plain article templates here. The main difference between them is the colour and typography. I got some inspiration from the Big Book of Font Combinations to layout the typography.

I found a mixture of iOS-Native fonts to use and here they are.

  • Avenir (for the Headers)/Baskerville (for the articles)
  • Futura (for the Headers)/Optima (for the articles)
  • GillSans (for the Headers)/Baskerville (for the articles)

How to Use – And Download link

Go here to get a free version that you can run today and create your Newsstand app. The premium version allows you to add subscriptions and in-app purchases etc.

Get Access Here

43 comments

  1. Martin

    Hi Tope, loved the tutorial but can you update the baker framework on Github to 4.0? Please, that would be amazing…(4.0 fixes the orientation bug) Thanks in advance! 🙂

  2. Biagio

    Hi,
    How to mod the app to view pdf magazine or pdf exported to images( each file for each pages )?
    Thanks

    • Tope

      The magazine pages are actually a UIWebView and you can display PSD in the control. Can you try loading the pdf in the controls and see if it displays?

      But I would recommend you use HTML though as it is easier to update and more lightweight…

      • Biagio

        Hi,

        I wish to use HTML that point to PNG/JPG pages created from each PDF pages, so I think that I need to create an HTML file for each image. Is’t right? If yes, Are there some guidelines or best practices ?

        “Can you try loading the pdf in the controls and see if it displays?”
        How? I need to point to PDF on server?
        Thx

  3. Steve Taylor

    Hi Tope. I’ve been a premium member for 6 months, and have used one of your templates on one of my apps (beautiful). Thank you.
    Where do you get those fantastic photos of people using your apps, like the ones above where you insert your own screen shots. They are really nice.
    Thanks 🙂

  4. James

    Tope, Great work.
    Best newsstand app I have seen yet.
    Two issues I have are: 1. When a new issue is added the first page displayed on the new issue is the last page desplayed on the previous issue. Why is that and how can I fix it? Also, 2. Each page loads correctly, but as each page of the new issue loads, an image of the same pagenumber from the first issue viewed on the app appears untill it is covered by the proper image. Would love to fix this too.

    • Tope

      There are colour folders in the Resources directory. You will need to add/remove the files from your Xcode target depending on what colour you want to use

  5. Mike

    I also can’t seem to find where you declare which template is used. Any chance you could elaborate on that? Thanks

    • Tope

      There are colour folders in the Resources directory. You will need to add/remove the files from your Xcode target depending on what colour you want to use

    • dgutierrezp@royalresorts.com

      Hello Mike,
      Just go to Targets section > Build Phases add a new Build Phase “Copy Files”, choose Destination as Resources and add all files from colour you want to use, vuala!!
      Regards!

  6. Travis

    Hey Tope, great app. I just have some questions, I would like to know how to change the theme in the app. Also can i use pdf’s? If I can that would be great because i already have content for a magazine in a pdf form.
    Thanks

    • Tope

      This is built to use HTML pages. I don’t think you can use PDF’s.

      To change the theme…There are colour folders in the Resources directory. You will need to add/remove the files from your Xcode target depending on what colour you want to use

      • Travis

        Ok, I ran into another problem. When I created a new issue in the plist file it also created the image and button in the app when I tested it. The image I put there appears but when I click the button the app takes me back to code in the Xcode environment. Is there code I have to add to make more issues? If so where do I do that?

  7. Mike

    I am working through this tutorial and I can’t get the app to find my publishing server.

    I even downloaded the project and the only thing I changed was the url in “Publisher.m” and that didn’t work.

    Note: I uploaded your issues-type.plist file to my server just to make sure it was not my file. I can hit the file from an open browser but the app will not connect.

    Error: Cannot get issues from Publisher server.
    Any thoughts?

    • Travis

      Make sure you change the links in the plist file as well. Otherwise it won’t work.

  8. Salma

    THanks so much Tope! Your post has been so useful. I was wondering if there’s an easy way to make it possible to go back to the library from an open issue?

  9. ray

    Hi,
    there is noch subscription mechanism in the app. But a newsstand app has to over a subscription mechanism otherwise apple will reject the app. How did you handle this?

  10. Claudia MARDEGAN

    Hi ,
    I used this model and application but after sending to apple I get the following message:

    We found that your app has an associated free subscription, however, it does not include a mechanism for the user to sign up for the free subscription.

    It is required to revise the app to include the mechanism to allow user to sign up for the free subscription. For more information, please see Newsstand for Developers for information on Newsstand Kit.For discrete code-level questions, you may wish to consult with Apple Developer Technical Support.

    How did you handle this?

    Many thanks

  11. Bruno

    Hi Tope,
    I would like to use the app, but it does not want it to appear within the newsstand. How should I proceed?

  12. David Spector

    Hi Tope,

    Do you have/sell a version of this template that has iPhone CSS as well..?

  13. Pingback: How To Make Your Own iPad Newsstand Magazine AppDaniel Salazar

  14. Glecio

    Hi Tope,

    Great job.
    Do you suggest any HTML tool to easily create content for the app? I am asking because if the application is for a journal can be difficult to users to create diary issues. Sorry my bad english.

  15. Douglas Bonneville

    What lovely typography examples! And thanks for the mention of The Big Book of Font Combinations at bonfx.com! Stunning work — I just downloaded the app and will get some issues going. Nothing like great typography to make an app like this shine above it’s mediocre competitors! Kudos on the design again.

    Douglas

  16. stevecross

    Another really nice piece of work!!

    Has anyone had any difficulty with the zip creation? If I use the issue-data.zip file included in the download and put it on my server all is well. If, however, I take that zip file and decompress it then re-compress it using the Mountain Lion Finder’s compress option, the app crashes when I try to read the issue. I had started creating new content, zipping it and experiencing the crash so, in trying to pinpoint the issue, I simplified all the way back down to simply re-compressing the original file. It seems that the issue is related to zip creation.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!

  17. stevecross

    One more thing if you udon’t mind…

    What does the “url”: “book://appdesignvault.com/mag” in book.json do? Actually I guess the question really should be “what are any of those elements used for ?” but that is the one for which the replacement value is not immediately apparent.

    Thanks!

  18. Nick Martin

    Hey all,

    I really like the idea that Tope is working on, and can’t wait to see more cool designs showing up!

    I am working on an all-in-one solution for creating, publishing and selling magazines on the iOS and we have just hit early beta. Basically you can manage everything from an online control panel (adding issues, creating new magazines, etc). I would love to have a few people test it out to see if it adds value. Please feel free to visit http://www.Magboy.co and signup for a free account. Would love to hear what you think 🙂

  19. Arilyn

    I really want to make my own app easily but I can’t find a good website. What website would you recommend? Please answer soon.