I wish someone had warned me that jigsaws could be such an emotional rollercoaster. It all began harmlessly enough when my daughter set up a camping table in our living room, tipped out a puzzle and frowned at the mountain of pieces. She asked me for help, and when I took a seat next to her we hurtled off on the big dipper. First, there was the sickening feeling of not being able to recognise a single piece.
Then there was the thrill of the first two parts snapping in place. Next: frustration as we struggled to find edges. Finally, elation as we realised we were just a step away from finishing. Ah, but then dismay: the last piece was nowhere to be found.
I felt a bit like that when we changed from a newspaper to a magazine a year ago this week. When we first decided to make the move we hoped to do three things in quick succession. First, we wanted to overhaul our website, CatholicHerald.co.uk. Then we planned to relaunch as a magazine (after 127 years as a broadsheet). Finally, we would release an app so that anyone with a smartphone or tablet could read the whole magazine on the day it was published.
But as the deadline neared we realised our triple goal was too ambitious. So we decided to concentrate on redesigning the website and launching the magazine. The app would have to wait until we could make it as smooth and elegant an experience as possible for readers.
Since we relaunched our site last November, it has gone from strength to strength.
In March we had more than a million page views for the first time. After we turned into a magazine, we were able to reach a new audience while, to our delight, bringing our longstanding readers with us.
We know that the Catholic Herald magazine has a following across the English-speaking world, but until now we haven’t been able to supply a printed edition. So from Sydney to San Francisco we hope to begin to provide the full contents of the magazine to readers who know us only from our website.
We’ve been working hard on the app for the past six months. Our aim: to offer a simple new way to enjoy all our brilliant writers. Now we are ready to slot in the final missing piece. From this weekend, anyone with a mobile phone or tablet can enjoy every single article in the magazine at the click of a button (or two).
Anyone who downloads our app – on an iPhone, iPad, Kindle or any other Android device – will receive every news story, every feature and every comment piece – in short, everything in the magazine – every Thursday. There will be extras, too, starting with our popular weekly podcast, which you can listen to at the tap of a finger in the app.
You can read this week’s fantastic issue for free on the app this weekend. Not only that: you can read the following three issues free of charge too (our December 11, December 18 and Christmas double issues). That’s a whole month of articles absolutely free to anyone with a smartphone or tablet almost anywhere in the world.
If you don’t have a mobile phone or tablet, don’t worry. As long as you have access to a laptop or desktop computer, you can still view the free editions using a web reader (visit CatholicHerald.co.uk/magazine for further details).
If you enjoy the app as much as we hope you will for the first free month, you will be able to take advantage of our special introductory offer of a quarterly subscription (12 issues) for £5.99, or an annual subscription for just £15.99 (yes, you read that right).
Single issues will also be available for £1.49 – a 25 per cent saving on our cover price.
But we don’t want our existing magazine subscribers to miss out. That’s why we’re offering the app for free to all our annual print subscribers. After the complimentary access period throughout December, annual print subscribers will go on to get the app free throughout 2016. Thanks to the app, even if you are away on holiday you will be able to read the magazine on your phone or tablet. (We’ll give subscribers the full details in the next few weeks.)
So what are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose by giving it a go. Download our app to enjoy the best written, boldest and most informative Catholic magazine in the world – completely free for a whole month.
And just in case you were wondering, the jigsaw I attempted with my daughter left us with one last emotion: joy, when we discovered the final missing piece beneath the sofa.
Luke Coppen is editor of the Catholic Herald