The Oklahoman has released a subscription-based iPad app, becoming the latest publisher to circumvent Apple’s iTunes payment system in favor of a homegrown alternative. The Oklahoman app is a free download, but full access costs $9.99 per month for non-print subscribers or $4.99 if you are a print customer.
Those payments, and access to daily issues of the iPad edition, are handled though the paper’s own circulation database. By handling the transactions in-house, The Oklahoman is able to offer discounts to current print readers as well as retain full access to customer data.
Publishers are still awaiting details of Apple’s digital newsstand, which may (or may not) provide some of the same features to newspapers and magazines that opt to use the feature.
In the meantime, more publishers are moving ahead on their own. In September, The Columbus Dispatch released an iPad app that also offers hybrid print/tablet subscriptions directly from the newspaper. And earlier this month the New York Post announced that its new iPad app offers a tablet-only subscription option, again handled outside of the iTunes system.