McSweeney’s iPhone App Is Sticking It to Dan Brown


iTunes’ App Store is probably the only place on Earth right now where Dan Brown is not number one. Although The Lost Symbol sold enough copies for every man, woman, and child in Chicago in its first week alone, the Da Vinci Code author’s iPhone app is currently lagging at #18 in the Books section. The number one spot instead belongs to a new app by McSweeney’s. It promises new work by Spike Jonze, Chris Ware, and Jonathan Ames — which was enough to get us to stop fiddling with I Am T-Pain for a minute and check it out. Here’s what we thought.

The SF-based indie publisher is calling their new baby the Small Chair. The app promises a weekly blast of unseen, exclusive content from one of branches of the McSweeney’s publishing empire — video from Wholphin, an interview from the Believer, or a story from McSweeney’s Quarterly. The app also features daily pithiness in the form of updates from the venerable Internet Tendency.

We found the interface pretty snappy and fluid. Things seem off to a strong start, content-wise, with a new story by Wells Tower that’s set to appear in the next Quarterly. The reading experience is similar to the readings apps from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and others — which is to say quite good. It’s priced at $5.99 for the first six-months of content, which could turn out to be a steal, since subscriptions to their print publications are hardly cheap.

Want a completely opposite opinion? Read Gawker’s take: Everything Annoying in the Universe in One iPhone App.