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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

McSweeney's iPhone App: The Secret to Love and Happiness.

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Anyone with an iPhone can attest that the App Store is filled with 652 billion different apps. They can also attest that approximately three of these apps are actually worth anyone's time and/or money.

Add one more to that short list: the new app from indie publishing juggernaut McSweeney's.


The McSweeney's app launched last week, and it goes for $5.99, which also gets you six month's worth of content; from there on out, six-month-long subscription extensions are $4.99. So far, it's been well worth that initial six bucks: The app not only gives you the daily updates from, formatted for easy reading on the iPhone, but it also includes Small Chair, a catch-all section that delivers "a multimedia weekly selection from all branches of the McSweeney's family," be it a story from the new McSweeney's quarterly or a film from the Wholphin DVD or an interview from the Believer magazine. Last week, the app launched with "Raw Water," a story by Wells Tower from McSweeney's 32; today, I woke up to find an excellent short film by Spike Jonze, Lance Bangs, and Catherine Keener, Maurice at the World's Fair, in which Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak tells a totally charming and hilarious story about his childhood that's brought to life by Jonze, et al.

This Small Chair stuff that gets beamed to your phone isn't accessible online—making the app's subscription cost feel pretty middling when you consider that the only other way to get these stories and films and whatever else is to cough up for full subscriptions to McSweeney's, Wholphin, and the Believer. What's more, even if you decide not to renew your Small Chair subscription once the six months are up, the McSweeney's app will still function as a quick, easily readable shortcut to the daily content on

So yeah. McSweeney's is great. Their app is great, too. You should probably buy it.


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