A painting of me

The Small Chair

   24 September 2009, early morning

Yesterday I decided to grab the McSweeney’s iPhone application. The quarterly they put out is held in very high regard, and the content they put online is hilarious, more often than not. (For example: Iran or Star Wars.) The application is $6, and is subscription based. Buying the application signs you up for 6 months of content from what they are calling the Small Chair. This content is pulled from sources that aren’t available online, and is updated weekly. You can subscribe for another 180 days of content for an additional $5. This is done using the newly added in-app purchase features introduced with iPhone OS 3.0. They also pull free content from their Internet Tendencies website, though I suppose this isn’t what you’re paying for.

This seems like a pretty smart idea to me. It’s an easily digestible version of a magazine, which seems well suited for an on-the-go device like the iPhone. The application lets you bookmark spots in the story/article you are reading, and has a fairly nice interface. I’ll be curious to see if anyone else copies the approach McSweeney’s is taking with this application. I could see Harper’s doing something like this since they already have so much content online, but behind a subscription wall.

The first ‘issue’ of the Small Chair is a story by Wells Tower. It’s good so far.



  1. i have no idea why the nytimes, wsj, atlantic monthly, etc don’t have a similar app.

  2. Exactly. There are so many publications that put out some high quality writing, and they all should be thinking about doing something along these lines. This application doesn’t replace the McSweeney magazine, at all. It’s a tiny slice of the magazine, but for plenty of people that will be enough. (I also wonder if this application will result in sales for the actual quarterly or their other magazines.)

    One problem the NYT or the WSJ face is that they already have everything online for free. There is already an NYT application in the iPhone. They could extend that if they had some sort of premium content.

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