Bon Appetit launched its first iPad app yesterday, a Pasta Perfect cooking guide based on the May cover feature of the same name. It includes 100 recipes, prep tips, video with Del Posto chef Mark Lander and demonstration slideshows. It costs $3.99.
Bon Appetit does not yet have an iPad app for the magazine editions. After the magazine moved to New York and replaced the staff last spring, editor in chief Adam Rapoport’s mandate was to establish the new brand—visually and voice-wise—before dipping their toes in the digital pool.
“Pasta is an obvious way to get started,” he told The Observer. “Americans love pasta. Let’s give them an app.”
The monthly Bon Appetit issue app will follow in the first quarter of 2012, he said.
In the most recent January-June Audit Bureau of Circulation data provided by Conde Nast, Bon Appetit was the publisher’s biggest loser, with combined newsstand and subscription circulation down 5.6% from the same period last year. Of course, editor in chief Adam Rapoport didn’t put his imprint on the food title until May 2011, the last two issues of the period. May and June averaged cleared last year’s 88,500 newsstand average.
Although, as WWD’s newbie check-in pointed out: “It’s easier to sell a magazine when you have a big new editor and redesign to promote,” and since the magazine is coming out of the rough patch that necessitated the reboot, “it should be that much easier to generate a meaningful increase.”
The June issue had magazine-mover Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover, though Mr. Rapoport says he only plans on employing the celebrity strategy about once a year. In the meantime, he’s working it out with his readership.
“I inherited 1.4 million readers, which is great for an editor in chief,” he said. “But that’s 1.4 million readers not expecting any major changes, and it means challenging 1.4 million readers to fall in love with me,” he said.
The magazine’s vocal readership has given him a better sense of what they want than his tacit audience of GQ, where he was a fashion editor before taking the top gig at Bon Appetit.
“Food is one of those subjects people feel really personally about, and love to talk and argue about,” he said. He added that their hand-written letters, e-mails and Facebook comments are “something we take really, really seriously, and act on immediately.”
Mr. Rapoport gave the magazine a younger, trendier and more masculine image, but now there’s an even brasher bad-boy food title in town: Celebrity chef David Chang’s new McSweeney’s quarterly, Lucky Peach. It is already a critical darling.
“I think it’s interesting, as a kid who grew up in the Washington, DC hardcore scene with ‘zines, there’s that same sort of DIY spirit,” Mr. Rapoport said of Lucky Peach, adding that there’s plenty of room for it in the food mag space.
He had special praise for Peter Meehan, who co-wrote Mr. Chang’s book and edits Lucky Peach.
“It sounds like you’re at the bar with Chang and he’s telling you the story Momofuku over several beers. He captures that intensity and off-the-cuff-ness and at-the-bar-ness,” he said.
He can’t say the same for the literary stylings of Conde Nast’s in-house buzz machine, the anonymous Conde Elevator twitter.
“I personally looked at it once and it already feels kind of made-up,” Mr. Rapoport said.”It seems so 8 years ago.”
“Of course now they’re gonna say bad stuff about me on it but whatever.”